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  • Writer's pictureRenata Joseph

No More Casting Christian Spells

A theme I keep returning to is that there's no recipe, no step-by-step formula to living this Christ-life. To presume to reduce the life of faith to a formula is to attempt sorcery. Say the right words, make the right motions and you'll get the desired outcome. Many Christians get up in arms about Harry Potter and other popular depictions of magic, but then cast their own spells from their prayer closets.

Jesus didn't die for us so we could systematize, categorize and contain Him in a recipe book. The Bible is filled with story after story of people, just like us, who have encountered God in a unique way. Each New Testament encounter with Jesus was lovely, honest and life-changing. He met each person's needs in an individual and unforeseen way. How then can we prescribe a single set of steps for living with, and for, Him?

While the Bible is good for teaching precepts and themes, all the written Scriptures in the world couldn't give exact procedures for the personal and societal dilemmas of future generations. In Jesus' day the Israelites had had their laws for hundreds of years and were no closer to perfection than Adam and Eve.

When Jesus returned to the Father, He didn't ship us a manual to follow, He sent His Holy Spirit. To follow Jesus isn't to replicate His literal footsteps, it's to allow His Spirit to continue His story through us. Our lives can, and should, reflect the Spirit that propelled Him to heal the sick, embrace the rejected, raise the dead.

In John 16:7, Jesus said, "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."

We can memorize Scripture and pray fervently, but those actions are empty without the Holy Spirit's involvement. He takes those feeble offerings and responds with wisdom, comfort, counsel and peace. Living the life of faith has so much less to do with checklists and obligations than it does leaning into uncertainty and submitting to His way; asking the Holy Spirit to guide you and seeing where He takes you.

Let's resist the urge to reduce Scripture into a formula to dictate to someone else. They don't need our recipe or our "10 steps to sainthood." They do need the Living God interacting with them and taking them on a journey of healing, power and grace.

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