That doesn’t stop a lot of us from believing them, though.
Does it make you twitch when a black cat crosses your path?
When you break a mirror?
Do you knock on wood?
A lot of people don’t believe in those kinds of superstitions. But what about Christian superstitions?
You might believe that if we pray a certain prayer—the Prayer of Jabez or the Lord’s Prayer, or for some, the Hail Mary—it becomes some sort of protective mantra in and of itself. You might think that the words have power. Or perhaps you even trust in the “salvation prayer” mantra to get you into heaven. You think that if we walk an aisle and pray with a preacher, that somehow automatically secures your eternal soul no matter what was going on in your heart.
You might wear a cross or a medal in hopes that it will protect you like a talisman.
Or maybe you are scared that God will be mad at you because you throw away a tattered Bible, as if somehow the leather and paper and ink hold magical powers.
You might believe that there is just one way to raise kids and struggle with fear because you are so afraid of failing at the formula, the magical method that will ensure that your kids turn out perfectly.
And if you have a child that rebels or makes poor choices or rejects God? It must have been that you didn’t follow the formula quite right, like a chemist who mis-measured and caused an explosion.
Legalistic rules are really just superstitions. At one point I thought going to a movie theater was sin in and of itself. And the first time I went I waited for lightning to strike. There was no rhyme or reason to why I feared this, other than that I’d believed a religious superstition I had been taught.
Under the guise of spiritual warfare, you may see demons around every corner. Car won’t start? Satan is attacking! Drought? The devil has it in for you personally. Got the sniffles? Must be a spiritual attack from the scary, scary pits of hell! (And if you say the right mantra, it will go away.)
That’s not to say that there isn’t real spiritual warfare, because there certainly is—but I know many Christians who live in fear of Satan and turn everything into warfare, when sometimes it’s just that we live in a broken world.
What about naming and claiming God’s blessings or planting financial seeds in a ministry so God will return a huge harvest to you? Or the belief that God will always heal you if you have enough faith? Here we go with the mantra theme again! This can cause so much spiritual and emotional distress when what you claim doesn’t come to pass. Guilt and fear take over as you might believe that the reason God is not granting you your request is because you don’t have enough faith.
Belief in superstitions—cultural or religious—are a way we try to make sense of the world. But the way we should make sense of the world is through Jesus and his Gospel—the good news of grace.
There is nothing we can do to make God love us any more, and nothing we can do to make him love us less. He leads each Christian by the Holy Spirit. He is not waiting to drop a hammer on you because you got the mantra or the formula wrong.
Stop living in bondage to superstitions! Find freedom in the only all-powerful person—God!
This post of part of 31 Days of Fearless Mothering
In my upcoming ebook, Fearless Mothering, I tell about how God helped me to overcome a lifestyle of debilitating fear. Look for it in November!