Last week I put our big green shamrock on the front door in preparation for Saint Patrick’s Day. (Yes, I do decorate and send cards for Saint Patrick’s Day). And as I was hanging this three-leafed symbol of Ireland and the Trinity, it reminded me of one of my pet peeves. I really don’t like four leafed clovers. You see – they are bogus and claim a power contrary to Christian faith. Some people even think that the four leafed clover and its promise of good luck are synonymous with Saint Patrick’s Day – but this is not the case. There is a huge difference between the “luck” that one promises and the genuine faith the other represents.
Luck is arbitrary. It is a cosmic game of chance where some people are given a break while others aren’t. With luck, objects are thought to possess some magical power to grant (or take away) fortune or favor. Those who chase luck place their trust in an impersonal, Godless superstition. Interestingly enough, St. Patrick sought to save the Irish people from the darkness of magic and superstition…so he would have never been one to talk of “luck.”
As believers, we understand that we are to place our faith in God – not in some four leafed clover, a rabbit’s foot or any other idol. Our faith isn’t placed in a material object – but in a Person –God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust our lives to God and His Sovereignty – not to chance and superstition.
And the wonderful thing about faith is this – even when we lack faith, Christ comes alongside and teaches it to us. Remember the man in Mark 9 who sought out Jesus to help heal his son. The man first says, “But IF you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (vs. 22) The man wasn’t convinced totally that Christ had the power to heal. Jesus’ response is a rebuke – “IF you can?” (meaning – “What do you mean, ‘IF’ I can do something – don’t you know WHO you are talking to here?”) And then Jesus tells the man – “Everything is possible for one who believes.” He was telling the man that faith was the key to opening the heart of God to work in his life. But look at what the man says next – I find myself in the middle of this verse so many times in my life – “I do believe; Help me overcome my unbelief!”
Over and over in Scripture we are promised that if we place our faith and trust in Christ, He will overcome our insurmountable circumstances. But beware – faith isn’t some power we possess – it isn’t some authority we wield to force God to bend to our wishes. Faith is our submitting to God’s will. It is bending our will to come in line with His. It is placing our heart’s desires before His Sovereignty and submitting to His authority.
Again, faith is a far cry from luck. Faith is knowing (not guessing or hoping) that God is Sovereign. Faith is trusting Him with our heart – even when our flesh doesn’t. And our faith is REAL – it isn’t some counterfeit hocus-pocus thing called “luck.”