Christian Superstitions That We Must Ditch

Walking under ladders, seeing a black cat, breaking a mirror, lucky number 13, horoscopes and four leaved clovers – these are common cultural superstitions. They are seen to bring either good or bad luck to us. What then do superstitions have to do with Christianity? Surely we chucked them out along with other pagan beliefs? While we may not hold to any of the above superstitions, there are some common “Christian” superstitions that abound in the church. Let’s have a look at just a few…

“The more I give, the more God will bless me.” You’re bound to have heard this preached from pulpits in one form or another, “Unlock God’s blessing upon your life by giving more money to the church.” God’s blessing is seen to be dependent on my actions, the more I give, the more God will bless me; and if I don’t give enough, he’ll curse me. This is otherwise known as the prosperity gospel. It’s really no gospel at all, but pure legalism. It’s often justified by misusing texts from the Old Testament (e.g. Malachi 3:8-9) that were applicable for the nation of Israel, but have now been fulfilled in Christ.

While Christians should give generously of their finances to the church, our giving is not dependent on God blessing us or not. Instead we give cheerfully simply as a response to God’s grace in our lives (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). The good news is that God’s blessing over our lives is not dependent on our level of giving, but instead on his free gift of grace to us through Jesus Christ.

“I bind you Satan!” How many prayer meetings have you been to where some zealous prayer warrior will start with, “I bind you Satan and every demon in this room…” I’m sure these folks are well-meaning, but we really don’t have any warrant in Scripture to do such things. Speaking to demons in Scripture is called divination and the Bible expressly forbids this (Leviticus 19:26). We bash Roman Catholics for praying to Mary and the saints (and rightly so), yet we don’t blink an eye when people in our churches pray to Satan!

This superstition is based on a misinterpretation of Matthew 16:19, in which Jesus speaks of binding and loosing. Nowhere in that text are Satan or demons mentioned. Instead the text is about church discipline. Those in the church who persist in sin are to be bound (removed from the fellowship), while those who repent are to be loosed (restored to the fellowship).

Jesus shows us how we should pray – to our Father in heaven, and him alone. We have no need to bind Satan and his demons and rebuke them from our meetings, we don’t need to even fear them. The good news is that Jesus has already defeated the enemy on the cross, so we’re on the winning team! 1 John 4:4 says, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them (the powers of darkness), for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

“You have a generational curse.” Maybe you’ve been told that if your great-grandfather was a Freemason, you need to have a curse broken over your life. Or that because your dad committed adultery, you need the spirit of lust to be driven out of you. This kind of thing is as about as superstitious and kooky as you can get.

Those who argue for the existence of generational sin point to Exodus 20:5-6, where it says that God will not clear the guilty, but visits “the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” This is not describing generational sin, i.e. God cursing an innocent child for the sin of his father. Instead it is describing the effects of sins that are perpetuated through generations. God visits the iniquity of the children who themselves hate him. The children are as guilty for their own sins as their fathers were, and God justly punishes them for it.

Scripture repeatedly states that God is just and he only punishes those who are guilty of their own sin. Look at Deuteronomy 24:16 for example, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.” Simply put, we are not accountable for the sins of our forefathers. Further, we don’t have to live our lives in fear, wondering if we may be cursed because of our forebears. Galatians 3:13 says that Jesus already became a curse on our behalf on the cross. Thank God that in Christ we have been set free!

“Out, you lying spirit!” Has anyone ever “discerned” a spirit of fear, or spirit of poverty over you and then proceeded to drive it out of you? Yeah, been there done that. But is it really possible that Christians can have demons in them? It’s clear from Scripture that demons do indeed exist and can possess people. We read about Jesus and the apostles driving out demons (e.g. Matthew 8:28-34). But were these people believers when they were demon possessed? In every instance we see that this is not the case (e.g. Mark 5:1-13). Some believed in Jesus after he had released them from the power of the demons (e.g. Mark 5:19-20). But none were believers who were possessed.

If we confess Jesus as Lord, we have become a new creation and his Spirit dwells in us. We belong now to God and as his adopted sons and call him “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15-16). How can something that belongs to God also be inhabited by demons? It’s impossible and frankly unbiblical.

Some people use demons as an excuse for their habitual sin patterns, claiming that they’re unable to break free from sinful cycles because of demonic strongholds. Stop being superstitious about your sin! We continue to sin because there remains a sin nature within us. But by God’s grace, he’s forgiven our sins in Christ and is renewing us day by day with his Holy Spirit. What we need is not deliverance from demons. We need instead to be reminded of Christ’s glorious gospel every day.

Keep the gospel at the centre. The tendency to run off into superstitions only happens when we lose sight of the gospel. We foster superstitious tendencies in us when our faith becomes about performing the right magic formula in order to get favour from God. What we need instead is to know that God has done everything necessary through Jesus Christ for us to be reconciled to him. Rest in his finished work and enjoy his favour that is already over us if we believe in him.

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