Have you ever had a conversation with an agnostic? How about an atheist? Maybe you have talked to a “former” Christian who has turned into a full-time doubter.
One of the things you may encounter with these people is the fact that they don’t know what the God-man connection is.
They may even say that Christians believe in superstition.
Dr. Willard says as much in Chapter 6. He states “Many people have difficulty accepting the more spectacular episodes of God’s Word at work.” But Dr. Willard also says “The Christian’s faith is not superstition.”
People who believe in superstition vary from people who joke about it to people who really believe in the magic of acts, rituals and spoken incantations. Many folks joke about the black cat crossing the road or the desire not to walk under a ladder, but some people have sincere thoughts about superstition, magic and voodoo.
How do we counter their claims that the Christian who speaks and acts with the power of God is no different from purveyor of spells?
First of all, the work of God does not reside in words or rituals. Christians don’t control reality with their words; they may affect reality with their words but they don’t control reality. Who is in control? The Christian knows that God is. He always has been in control and will always be in control. We as believers are under His authority. If we speak or act and do some good in His name, that is God working through us.
I was with a Christian just the other day, a person who just did something that took great poise and courage. I stated that I could not do what she did. She merely said, “It wasn’t me.” I knew immediately what she was saying. It was God working through her.
Secondly, if we as Christians have understanding, faith, love and hope it has been brought about by our mental connection with God. We have a Holy Spirit and an ability to grow in our lives as Christians. People who do grow have tapped into the power of God, the power of His divine mind. To put it bluntly, our power cord can be plugged into God if we want to plug in [forgive my crude image, but if it works…]. Dr. Willard expresses this idea: “This mind is what mediates between the word spoken by God’s servant on his behalf and the physical structure of the waves [that Jesus calmed], the rocks [that Moses struck] or of the body or mind to be healed.” [italics mine]
Christians who do God’s work don’t just dream up their acts on their own. They are God-directed to do what they do. Some would describe this as the conscience but as Christian grow in their belief, God can show them what to do, when to do it and how to do it. God can mentally direct a person’s life if a person is willing [we have talked about this in an earlier post].
What agnostics, atheists or doubters have problems with is the cause-effect connection. The action has been brought about but what has caused it? Maybe the action is a full-blown miracle [a person who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer beats cancer]. Maybe the action is a word that is spoken to a person and the word causes them to declare God as their savior. In either case, the agnostic, atheist or doubter can’t see how these things are brought about. They can’t understand that prayer, words spoken to a loving and caring God, can bring about changes in our world. They don’t believe that God causes things to happen, sometimes on His own and sometimes through his followers.
This is how life in God’s Kingdom works. We are supplicants and God grants miracles, personal directions, inspirations and things get done.
I repeat, things get done.
In His name.