Dec. 6, 2011
A Christian high school in the Chicago area displayed a disturbing message for one of their teams on their marquee: “Good luck in the State Finals!” I knew they were wishing them well, but unwittingly, the message writer had bought into an unbiblical worldview.
There is no such thing as luck!
The concept of luck is an animistic belief, which is the core of folk religion worldwide: a belief in the unseen world that is populated by various kinds of spirits such as the spirits of the dead (ghosts) and nature spirits, as well as unseen supernatural forces: fate, the “evil eye,” magic, witchcraft, impersonal energy forces (“chi”) . . . and luck.
People think of good luck as a supernatural force that has to be attracted, or coaxed (“Come on, double sixes!”), or somehow manipulated to work for us. And bad luck is an unseen negative force that we need to protect ourselves from. So people put their trust in sacred or magical objects and actions in hope of manipulating this supposed force of luck.
When I was young, I wore a “miraculous medal” on my watch, a charm that I believed would keep me safe. I see rosaries hanging from rear view mirrors for the same purpose. Then there are magic/sacred items thought to bring luck: a rabbit’s foot, a horseshoe, a four-leaf clover. Lots of people scheduled weddings and other events on November 11 of this year (11-11-11) in the belief it would bring them luck. (One woman on the Dr. Phil show was planning to marry for the eleventh time on 11-11-11 because she thought it would bring her luck after ten bad marriages! Wisely, Dr. Phil told her she didn’t need luck, she needed pre-marriage counseling.)
The idea of luck as a force to be wielded, much like “The Force” in Star Wars, plays no part in a biblical view of life and reality. But lots of people believe in it anyway, because the majority of people, including Christians, do not think biblically. They are captive to the false ideas of the surrounding culture, one of which is animism.
Animism is a degradation of a true understanding of reality, which has been revealed by God in His word: that God has created things we can see, which are temporal, and things we can’t see, which are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). The unseen spiritual dimension contains both good and evil spirits—angels and demons—as well as the souls of people who have died and now exist either in heaven or in hell. They do not wander around looking for rest. The evil spirits—demons—do have limited power, mainly lies, schemes and deceptions. But God’s power is always greater.
If you’re looking for favor and blessing, don’t hope for luck. Look to the God of grace. He is the source of favor and blessing. And His power is the strongest in the universe, which is why trustful dependence on Him is the best way to tap into that power. Not trying to manipulate it—but asking for it in humility and trust.
Which is why I say, don’t wish me luck. It doesn’t exist.
Ask for God’s blessing instead.
This blog post originally appeared at blogs.bible.org/tapestry/sue_bohlin/dont_wish_me_luck