Beware of spiritual placebos!

Most people are well aware of the placebo effect as it pertains to medicine. The notion that simply thinking that a treatment will cure your symptoms is sometimes enough to make that treatment take effect.

But the placebo effect is by no means limited to medicine. Here are a few every day placebos.

The Elevator “Close Door” Button – It is a well-established fact that these buttons don’t actually speed up the process, and yet most of us still press it when we are in a hurry.

“HD” TV – I’m not suggesting that the HD technology is a hoax but it can be misleading. Unless you have the proper cables and an HD channel, the picture won’t be any better. And yet, even without the right cable or channel we are convinced the picture is better simply because of the “HD” on the TV.

Walk Signal Button – Many cities and towns have buttons at crosswalks that allow a pedestrian to speed up the arrival of a walk signal. And in many places, they do exactly what they promise to do. But not everywhere.

The City of New York admitted several years ago that most of the “push button, wait for walk signal” buttons were no longer active, having long ago been replaced by automated systems that keep all the lights on a set timer.

Office Thermostats – I hate to break it to you, but big companies aren’t just going to let a chilly employee crank the heat up whenever he or she pleases. But if they simply locked the thermostat or put the controls out of reach, the employees would constantly complain. The solution: A thermostat that doesn’t actually do anything but placate the chilly masses.

As annoying as these placebos can be, there is one that is a serious danger. The notion that sitting in church and listening to a sermon or Sunday School lesson is all it takes to become more like Jesus.

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” ~ James 1:22-25

Meditating on God’s word. Dwelling on it repeatedly, for long periods of time. Reflecting on it throughout the day. Letting it soak down deep to the very core of our being. That’s real soul medicine, the kind that enlightens and transforms. Once it takes root in us it can’t help but produce a new and different kind of doing in how we live life.

Hearing is not enough! We are called to do life as Jesus did!


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Filed under Christianity, Discipleship, Jesus, Morphing

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