Where You Focus


I’m going to show you a magic trick.

On the picture frame below, there are eight cards. I would like for you to pick one and memorize it (number, color and suit) before scrolling down.

Have you got it?

Okay, in the next picture frame, I’ve shuffled the cards up a bit, but the card you selected will be the only one turned face down.

Ready? Okay, look!

Was I right? Pretty impressive, huh?

Want to do it again?

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Okay, on the next picture frame, there are eight new cards. Select one and memorize it.

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Have you got this one memorized?

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Okay, scroll down to the next picture frame. I reshuffled the cards, but once again, the card you selected will be turned upside down.

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I did it again, didn’t I?

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Now a good magician’s not supposed to reveal his secrets, but I’m a very bad magician, and I don’t mind.  Scroll back up until you can see the second set of cards (the frame with all cards face-up).

Pick a different card from this group and then scroll down to the frame with the one card turned over.

That one seems to be face down, too. Hmmm… If you haven’t figured it out yet, scroll back up and choose a third card. Then look at the last frame, and you’ll see that it’s missing, too.

The secret to the trick is that the frame with the face-down card in each set contains completely different cards than the first slide.

The trick works, because you are so focused on the one card you are memorizing that you don’t pay attention to the others. I was able to replace all the cards without you noticing, because you assumed that your card must be the face-down one.

This trick, like many magic tricks, depends upon me getting you to focus on one thing so that you aren’t focused on anything else in the trick. It’s deception, pure and simple, and it’s the same trick Satan uses when it comes to the people around us.

He likes to get us focused on the flaws in our friends, our families, our boss, our peers at work, our fellow church members, different people groups… He wants us preoccupied with the annoying, frustrating, difficult things about those around us so that we won’t notice all the great things about them, so that we won’t notice how much we have in common.

If he can get us looking at just a few frustrating character traits, habits or customs, he can disrupt relationships, create prejudice and hatred, short-circuit evangelism and ministry and prevent the one thing Jesus said would prove to the world that we are His disciples – that we have love one for another.

Don’t fall for Satan’s cheap parlor trick. Keep your focus on what we have in common with those around us.


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Filed under agape love, christianity, evangelism, grace, Interpersonal, love, Relationships, Religion, Spirituality

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