Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Can the stars guide me?    (1/31/2010 )

Fascination with horoscopes and astrology seems to be as old as the stars! It’s been around for thousands of years and crops up just about everywhere. Which is not to say that it’s true or that it works—but if you asked people whether the stars speak to them, millions would say yes!

Astrology is based on the belief that there are forces at work in the universe, especially linked with the stars and planets, which influence our lives and shape our destiny. So if your star sign conflicts with someone else’s, don’t expect anything but fireworks in your relationship!

And that’s one of the immediate problems with taking horoscopes seriously: if you’re warned to watch out for a heated argument today, you’ll spend the day subtly looking out for that argument. Or if you think someone has a certain character because of when they were born, you may stereotype them and miss seeing their other qualities. Being told what to expect can lead you to expect what might not otherwise have happened, or been true. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, shaping your life instead of allowing you to do so.

Of course, we’d all love to know more about what the future holds. Or would we? If our horoscope flatters us with praise for our kind of character - “You make friends easily,” or “With patience you can defuse a problem today”, that’s nice to hear, it feeds the ego. But it’s not actually telling us very much. These platitudes could apply to anyone, and could also stop us thinking and deciding for ourselves. And what if you’re married and the message is, “You will meet a tall dark stranger, with romance in the air!” Are the stars telling you to keep your eyes open, to welcome the temptation, because you’d be better off with someone new? How realistic (and dangerous) is that?

Astrology crops up in the Bible, too. Many people were intrigued—everyone else was doing it, so why shouldn’t they? The answers are significant. At worst, people are warned, you could be opening your life to dangerous influences which ultimately could harm you very deeply. And at best, you may be deluding yourself if you think these are harmless superstitions.

Much more significantly, it just doesn’t make sense. What are the stars and planets, after all? Simply part of God’s creation—except they are no more than blind forces, without personality or understanding. So why bother with bits of gas and rock and their supposed messages, when you can listen to the One who made them? If you’re looking for guidance, go straight to the top!

Christians take their security and assurance about the future from their trust in God, not horoscopes. Their faith is not in blind forces, which might be good or evil, but in the living, personal God, who has shown us all we need to know for the present and the future through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Pray: Jesus, you promise all that is good and desirable. Help me, then, to follow you: to turn from distracting sideshows and false paths, to listen to your voice and to trust you—you who gave me life. Help me to face this new year and all the future, in your company and with your help.

Think about: If there is any truth in astrology, does it help you trust God more—or is it a self-centred distraction? If it’s not true, why do we give it any houseroom?

Challenge: If you have entrusted your faith to horoscopes in the past, is this something you need to say ‘sorry’ to God for?

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