But it works

I was telling them about the result of my investigation of a prayer technique for when you are feeling bad. I had misgivings. This touched a nerve in a couple of them: their response was effectively ‘It worked for me, so I won’t hear anything against it.’

This logic didn’t seem right. And it didn’t feel right by the Bible.

A bit of research (Galatians 6:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21) confirmed both things.

Judging a process based on the result is faulty thinking. It’s called ‘outcome bias’. A good result this time doesn’t automatically mean a good result the next time.

What about the Bible?

First up, the result may have been God. Even if the method was wrong. God’s mercy at work (for instance, Eldad and Medad in Numbers 11:24-30), and perhaps the desperate woman in Mark 5:25-34).

But maybe it wasn’t God. It could have been Satan (for instance Matthew 24:242 Thessalonians 2:9). Or it may have just been the power of suggestion. Either way we’ve not become more like Christ.

Second, the only way to guarantee a God-honouring result is to play by His rules.

Let’s get…Back to The Gospel.

 

Know thy enemy: John 17:13-16

I had a wake-up call recently. And, as is not uncommon with me, it came from Scripture.

I knew that we were meant to be in the world but not of the world (Hebrews 11:9-10). But when reading John 17, I had to ask myself whether I was sufficiently ‘not of the world’ to need the protection that Jesus prayed for his disciples when He knew that they were shortly to be without Him?

Did he pray for their protection from suffering? Persecution? Grief? Loss? Natural disasters? Sickness? Poverty? No, none of the above. Instead, he asked His Father to protect the disciples from ‘the evil one’. Satan.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

He knew that, without Him being around anymore to take the heat, the heat-maker was going to go for them. The ‘evil one’, Satan. Judas had shown that he was a real threat[1].

And removing them from the world was not an option – they were to continue the Father’s work of warfare with the world. And the world would hate them. Just as removal is not an option for us.

How often do we pray for that protection? Are we about the Lord’s work (1 Corinthians 15:58) enough to need that prayer? A sobering thought.

Let’s get…Back to The Gospel.

 

 

  1. John 6:70; 8:44; 13:2, 27