Mike Henderson
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Beware of Rabbit-Foot Theology!

iStockRabbitfootWe have all done it. Somewhere in the back of our minds we start thinking that if we do such and such God is then obligated to answer our prayer or come through for us.

In short, if we do our part, then God cannot let us down. Otherwise He will not look so good.

Over the years I have prayed and I have seen unanswered prayers and answered prayers. But some of the most remarkable answers to prayer have occurred when I also fasted.

In fact, I have written in my journal consecutive answers to consecutive fastings. Also, once I prayed and fasted for three days and had three incredible answers to prayer.

So guess what enters my mind if I am not careful?

If I desperately need an answer to prayer all I need to do is fast. In other words, fasting becomes my rabbit foot. Now I am slipping into magic and superstition rather than faith.

And let’s understand. God knows our hearts.

In 1 Samuel there is a story about Rabbit-Foot Theology. It’s found in chapter 4. Israel is at war with the Philistines. Israel was defeated in a battle and lost four thousand men.

Why the defeat? Great question, but they came up with the wrong answer. They went back and got the Ark of the Covenant. That became their rabbit’s foot. After all, if they lost now God would not look so good. And all the press reports that evening would focus on God’s defeat.

But God wants a genuine relationship with us, not a manipulative one.

To be quite honest whenever I fast now I am confronted with this reality. Am I fasting out of a genuine relationship with God or I am thinking that my fasting will force Him to grant my request?

What drives my devotion to God? Do I see Him as a ticket to the better life, whatever that might be?

If I get up at 5am to read my Bible is God obligated to bless me the rest of the day?

If I give up a Sunday morning on the golf course in order to go to church (just an illustration since I teach every Sunday morning), knowing that I can play later, am I expecting God to help me pick up a few extra birdies later on? After all, I sort of earned a little extra favor didn’t I?

Isn’t amazing how easy it is to fall for Rabbit-Foot Theology? None of us are immune to it.

Let’s focus on our heart, and not our rabbit’s foot.