Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone (Page 6) eBook online read

accept his correction and begin to make the change.

  None of us is perfect. We all need work. God knows that. When we invite him to start working on us, he will slowly massage and chip away and sand down the areas that are holding us back. Then he can add things we couldn’t have imagined before this transformation, things that are going to propel us to new heights.

  If you trust God, he will do amazing, incredible, unfathomable things in you. But, I warn you, most of the time God’s ways are not going to make sense to us. So to trust him is going to take us stepping out in faith—but don’t worry, he’s got a plan for good.

  Verse: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline: don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.” – Proverbs 3:5-12 (MSG)

  Prayer: Lord, help me to humble my mind and my heart. Show me an area where I need to change, and then help me change. I can’t do this without you, but through you I can do all things. Help me to grow, Lord, to shake off my old ways and embrace your ways. I want what you have to give me, Lord. I give you permission to work in my life and transform me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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  From The Parable of Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets

  Gilderoy’s Goading

  “Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five-time winner of Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award — but I don’t talk about that. I didn’t get rid of the Bandon Banshee by smiling at her!”

  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (p. 99)

  Having assigned the students to buy his books about “his” accomplishments, Professor Lockhart goes on to open his first class of the year with a quiz about himself.

  What I’ve observed is that the person who has to boast about themselves, their accomplishments, their kids, their parents, their connections, usually has very little to boast about. Their boasting is a means of filling a need or desire for importance or worth. They boast about what they wish their life were really like, what their relationships were really like, as if others believing their boasts will make them come true.

  I do think we need to lift other people up and boast for them, but not because of our relationship with them. If we are going to boast of another it should be only for lifting them up and honoring them, not our importance for knowing them.

  Jesus spoke about Gilderoy’s form of boasting in his famous Sermon on the Mount. He said:

  Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

  When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

  …And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 NLT)

  Harry, The Boy Who Lived, had accomplished far more than Lockhart before he was two years old. Yet Harry brags of nothing. He doesn’t even see himself as doing anything all that great. He always had help, and he recognizes that help. He recognizes the role of Dumbledore and Ron and Hermione and his parents in overthrowing Voldemort and Quirrell. And he doesn’t have one book that he’s written about himself—nor does Dumbledore who is more highly accomplished and esteemed than most wizards—yet everywhere they go others boast of what they’ve done for them and write books acclaiming them.

  Question: What kind of praise would you prefer? Gilderoy’s brand? Or Harry’s and Dumbledore’s? What kind of praise or boasts are you receiving? How can you change, today, to be a person who receives praise from others instead of yourself?

  Challenge: This is a hard, yet not impossible character trait to overcome. After all, Dumbledore does say (in Goblet of Fire), “We must all make the choice between what is right and what is easy," implying that right can be the opposite of easy.

  So onto the hard, right course of action. My suggestion for both myself and you (my much loved reader), is that we try to the best of our ability to eliminate the word “I” from our vocabulary except in such instances as to say, “I love you," or the like. Or to share our story in a way meant to help another. This may aid us in more areas than just our tendency to boast. (i.e. I want… I need… I don’t feel like… I deserve… I can’t…) Side note: let’s eliminate “can’t” while we’re at it.

  The best way to tackle an issue of the tongue is by finding an accountability partner. This can be a friend, spouse, parent, child, whomever you know who will lovingly hold you accountable in a loving way and who spends a good deal of time around you.

  For instance, I would choose my husband. I would ask him to hold me accountable every time I used “I” or “my” (or “can’t”) in a way that is not necessary, positive, or affirming. For example, “I have to go to the bathroom,” may be a necessary communication. “I am an amazing skateboarder,” not only is untrue, it is not necessary. Someone else can say that for me (and they’d be lying or just blind).

  Let’s be more like Harry and Dumbledore who boast more of others than themselves. Let’s stop thinking about what we’ve done and start thinking about what’s been done for us.

  Verse: “Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits. Don’t let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know me. I’m God, and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things. These are my trademarks.” -- Jeremiah 9:23-24 (MSG)

  Prayer: God, help me to eliminate selfish bragging from my speech. Remind me, whenever I succumb to the temptation to elevate myself, to instead elevate another. I pray you will show me a good accountability partner and help them to stay firm with me so that I may become more like Harry and Dumbledore and less like Gilderoy. Amen.

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  If you appreciate Nicole's efforts to reach out with Christ's message through the magical story of Harry Potter, please consider composing a brief review and posting to the online site of your choice. Should the thought of writing a book review feel daunting, you can go here for simple guidelines.

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  About the Author

  Nicole L Rivera is a graduate of Perelandra College, which is where she began writing The Parable of Harry Potter series. She has a passion for using stories, parables, to explore faith and values in order to help herself and others understand Biblical truth and values in deep and entertaining ways.

  When not re-reading the Harry Potter ser
ies for the umpteenth time Nicole enjoys ruining movies for her husband by analyzing every line and plot twist, playing with her rescue puppy Gizmo, and consuming inadvisably large amounts of chocolate.

  Connect with her on:

  Twitter: @Mrs_NikkiRivera

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  Pottermore: AsphodelDream26923


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  Also Available in the Series

  The Parable of Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets

  The Parable of Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban

  The Parable of Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire

  The Parable of Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix

  The Parable of Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

  The Parable of Harry Potter
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