Divine power operates differently than magic. The source of divine power is God, whereas magic is rooted in less powerful spiritual entities. Magic involves "the use of means that have supernatural power over natural forces."
By way of comparison, an "illusion" is nothing more than "something that deceives or misleads intellectually." An illusion involves no supernatural power. It is mere trickery.
Genuine magic is not an illusion or trickery. It is a display of supernatural power provided by fallen angels. The human agent becomes the medium through whom the supernatural power is made manifest.
For example, the Bible gives us a historical account of some magic that took place about 3500 years ago: "Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts. Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs." (Exodus 7:11,12)
This event was not an illusion. Real staffs became real snakes. And Aaron's staff literally "swallowed up their staffs." It was not a trick. It was not sleight of hand. It was real.
Thankfully, divine power does much more than devour magical manifestations. It also has a life-changing impact within believers. Divine power produces spiritual peace and a mental calmness that only God can grant a person. Meanwhile, dabbling with magic is like starting a race car engine inside your soul. It certainly energizes you, but the energy is not coming from God and is not connected in any way to the Lord's supernatural peace.
Divine power feeds man's soul. Magic fuels man's earthly passions. Divine power causes you to want Jesus Christ to receive the credit and the glory. Magic manipulates man's heart to desire more and more personal fame and fortune. Once you cross the line of playful illusion and trickery into the spiritual realm of real magic, you quickly become addicted to sorcery.
Trickery and illusion is fake magic in the classical sense of the word, while genuine magic involves real power from real spirits that actually alters natural forces. Real magic occurred in Egypt 3500 years ago, and it has occurred in thousands of places for thousands of years.
Among those performers today who engage in real magic, some seem to be more aware than others of the supernatural power-source they channel. But regardless of a magician's spiritual sensitivities, dark angels are always looking to use human beings who are willing to jump through particular hoops while chasing after magical power. And those who excel in the craft of genuine magic tend to become rich and famous, albeit at a very high cost personally.
Divine power and magic are equally real. A major difference is that divine power helps people live for what is holy and eternal, whereas sorcery leads people to settle for a cheap counterfeit to what is eternal. Scripture declares, "God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness." (2 Peter 1:3)
Divine power enables a person to see Jesus as the promised Messiah, and it also allows a person to trust Christ as Savior and follow Him as Lord. Magic is not designed to lead people to Jesus. Instead, sorcery is all about gaining personal fame and fortune by performing amazing feats in order to thrill and entertain others.
Jesus did not come to earth to entertain man. He came here to save man from his sin. Divine power reveals the purpose of Christ's mission, and the importance of your soul being saved through faith in Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Sorcery is unable to save a single soul. It is merely a display of supernatural power over natural forces. Nothing more, nothing less.
Divine power produces humility within those who submit to God's will, while sorcery stirs up pride in those who engage in it. "Look at me. Look what I can do. It's quite incredible. I have the power to alter reality. Pretty impressive, huh?"
Real magic produces real arrogance. The New Testament describes how "a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic." (Acts 8:9-11)
Simon became an instrument of real magic as some evil spirits took advantage of Simon's selfish ambition and his eagerness to become a famous sorcerer. The fruit of Simon's blind ambition was overwhelming pride, and it produced spiritual bondage. "A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." (2 Peter 2:19)
On the other end of the spectrum, divine power leads believers to say things like: "Look at Jesus. Look at what He has done. Jesus is incredible." Divine power never leads a believer to boast about himself. For example, the apostle Paul wrote: "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Galatians 6:14)
When you receive Christ as Savior, your body becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit. And the fruit of the Spirit in your life is so refreshing: "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22,23) This good fruit flows from God's divine presence and power within a believer.
If you have been dabbling in magic, you may feel very oppressed by the thought of reaching out to Jesus. That doesn't mean it is impossible. It just means that until you "get in the flow" of divine power, your mind will probably resist the idea for a number of reasons.
At any rate, I encourage you to open your heart and mind to receiving divine power today. You might even want to check out these two articles I wrote 7 years ago: "The Illusion that Seduces and Bewitches Magicians," and "Christian Illusionists Have a Spirit Within Them."
The terms you use to define your magical quest are not nearly as important as how you go about your craft. The bottom line is that you cannot always tell a book by its cover. Some self-proclaimed "magicians" perform only tricks and illusions which naturally are devoid of any supernatural power. Meanwhile, some self-proclaimed "illusionists" have learned how to access the supernatural power of sorcery, while casually claiming that nothing in their performance is actually supernatural. Would you expect anything less than some good-humored subterfuge from those who proudly wear the title of "Magician" or "Illusionist"? It's simply the nature of the beast.
Remember: Divine power and sorcery take place in the realm of the supernatural. You were created as a spiritual being with a body, and this makes you prone to seeking out spiritual power of one kind or another. Once you begin a relationship with the Lord of the universe, you find yourself in a much different flow than what the world offers. Rather than desiring people to "look at me," you begin longing to have people "look at Jesus." This is not a natural desire, but rather supernatural. This new and holy desire is the result of the One who now lives inside you. Divine power is present wherever God is present.
Lucifer was created with the holy ability and godly desire to worship God, but this angel deliberately chose to run away from righteousness and truth. He became consumed with having others worship him, (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19) and one-third of the angels were seduced by Satan and went along with his misguided agenda. (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:4)
What about you? Do you want people to stand in awe of you, or to worship God? Do you want to be the center of attention, or do you want Jesus to be celebrated because of His majestic glory and His victory over sin, death and the devil?
Aaron's staff swallowed up the staffs of the magicians. Likewise, Jesus gained the victory over Satan. (Colossians 2:15) Whose side are you on today, and whose side will you be on when you stand before your Creator at the end of time? (2 Cor. 5:10)
Here are some lyrics from a song by Switchfoot: "This is your life, are you who you want to be?" If you are not who you want to be today, then simply reach out to the One who created you with a body, soul and spirit. (1 Thess. 5:23) God knows what makes you tick, and only the Lord can provide true and everlasting peace for your soul.
Millions of people around the world today already experience divine power within their soul. Will you be the next person on the planet to learn the difference between divine power and sorcery? Will you be the next one to receive Jesus as your Savior from sin? Magic is incapable of delivering this supernatural gift to you. Divine power is needed if you are going to "cross over" from death to life.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)
Whether you have been experiencing divine power, magical power, or no power, God loves you and He sent His only Son to die for your sins. (John 3:16) You will never receive divine power until you repent of your sin and embrace Jesus as your Lord and Savior. (John 1:12)
You were created by God in order to worship God. You were not created to worship yourself or to have others worship you, anymore than Lucifer was created to have angels or man worship him. He is an influential angel who went off the rails, but that doesn't mean you need to follow in his fatal footsteps.
Magic is incapable of delivering your soul from sin, death and the devil. Only Jesus has that kind of power, and the sooner you come to experience the Lord's power firsthand, the better.
One indicator that you have been spiritually reborn (John 3:6,7) and become a follower of Christ is that you begin to point people to Jesus rather than to yourself and your "amazing abilities." There is a radical difference between divine power and magic. One is God-centered, and the other is man-centered. One brings life, while the other brings death and an addiction to keeping your motor revved up with new and spectacular magical manifestations.
With both options being open to you today, consider these words from an Old Testament prophet: "Choose this day whom you will serve." (Joshua 24:15) Satan had free will, and so do you. Lucifer made his decision, and it's too late for him to go back and do anything about it. (Revelation 20:10) There is still time, however, for you to choose the Lord and His divine power over the various counterfeits on the market today.
Slow down your engine. Take time to consider your options. And be willing to open the Bible and ask your Creator to speak to you through His inspired Word. Everyone wants power, but not everyone is wise enough to consider the source of their power and then make the right call for the sake of their soul.
If you are not yet a believer, you will need to come to terms with whatever illusion currently has you jacked up and fueled with passion. This illusion is like a vapor that will soon pass away. If you are determined to sell your soul to the highest bidder, then at least consider the high cost that Christ paid for your soul on the cross. (1 Peter 1:18,19) Your eternal satisfaction depends upon what you do with Jesus and with the miracle of the new birth that He offers you today. (Revelation 22:17)
"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14) Your physical disappearance one day will not be a magic act. The truth is that God created you with an immortal soul. When your body vanishes from the earth, your soul will absolutely continue to exist in one of two extreme eternal destinations. (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 7:13,14)
We live at a time when many voices are clamoring for your attention. Don't believe the hype. And don't fall for the glitz and the glamor. The magical excitement of this world is not all it's cracked up to be, even if it has the most likes on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
You can follow the crowd, or you can become a follower of the greatest miracle worker to ever walk on this planet. Imagine what might happen if you started to get revved up over the miracles performed by the Messiah. God's power is light years ahead of sorcery, and a trillion times more powerful.
Let's just put it this way: Try to name a single magician who has risen from the dead and has millions of followers today. There is no one who even comes close to the power and majesty of Jesus. Once you wrap your mind around that reality, you will be getting close to understanding the monumental difference between divine power and magic. Created beings do well to follow the guidance of their Creator.
Scripture foretells the future with perfect accuracy. Ultimately, "the arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear." (Isaiah 2:17)
Are you still under the spell that prevents you from placing your faith and full confidence in the greatest miracle worker of all time? Unfortunately, the purveyors and practitioners of real magic come under an even greater delusion than the audiences they seek to entertain. Such is the nature of sorcery. Those who pursue it get duped by highly intelligent fallen angels who hate you and desire to see you reject Jesus and His free gift of eternal life in Paradise.
After all, you didn't actually think the devil was going to show up at your door in a red suit with a pitchfork, did you?
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.