The secret of an escape artist

The secret of an escape artist

In helpful tips by Lynn H. Pryor, D. Min. / October 30, 2018

“How did they do that?” Even the most skeptical among us can occasionally be wowed by a magician’s illusion. We’re surprised by the unexpected. One of the most well-known and popular magicians of the last century was Harry Houdini. Houdini, who died October 31, 1926, started with the standard routine of magicians, but found his niche as an escape artist.



With great showmanship, he escaped from:

  • Handcuffs and straitjackets
  • Locked boxes underwater
  • Milk cans
  • Prison cells
  • Combinations of all these



How did he do it? Houdini would occasionally “let it slip” that he was incredibly double-jointed. But that was not his secret. In fact, it wasn’t even true. Houdini told this lie to keep other illusionists from discovering his secret and copying what he did. He didn’t want the competition.


So what was his secret? He worked hard. Harry Houdini was disciplined. He practiced and practiced. He trained his body, he mastered the locks, and he kept at it until he could pull off the trick. Houdini has motivated me to write another book. You can publish a book on the secret to success in you-name-it, and people will buy it. So I’m going to write a book  and call it simply The Secret to Success.


Chapter One: Work hard.
Chapter Two: Repeat chapter one.




Let me make a connection to the Christian life.  Bookstores are full of books on living the Christian life. I know. I love to read them. But I could boil it down to this:


Chapter One. Live under the lordship of Christ.
Chapter Two. Repeat chapter one.


There are no secrets to the Christian life. It’s all wrapped up in Jesus. The same is true for biblical fatherhood. As a godly dad, you understand Jesus' death removed the barrier of our sin, and His resurrection brought us a new life. He is the Lord of life who conquered death. We are to live joyfully surrendered under His lordship.


That’s not to say we don’t have to work hard. I know I do. Did you catch this list from a blog post on biblical fatherhood? This list isn't easy. It'll take work. As one working to be a godly father, it will take work to do these things: 

  • You'll have to work to fight temptation by putting to death the desires of my old sin nature and choosing to live in obedience to Christ instead
  • You'll have to learn to not live as an angry dad. But seek to submit your anger to Christ.
  • You'll have to work to forgive others by remembering the forgiveness of Christ that has been given to me.
  • You'll have to work to not be quick-tempered. Understanding that God has given you grace, you will need to work to extend it to your wife and kids. 
  • You'll have to work to hold firm to the Word. In a culture that does not care about Scripture, it will take work for you to teach your family the Word.

We are told to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”  (Phil 2:12). What we have received through Christ must be “worked out,” just like exercising strengthens the muscles you already have. Yes, I think we should work hard and be disciplined. Yet, thankfully, we never do this alone. We can “work out our salvation” as we live under the lordship of Christ, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (v. 13).


Work it out—by living in Christ. That’s a great formula for life. In fact, it’s the only formula.



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 This post originally appeared on Lynn's blog at


Lynn-Pryor-headshotThis post comes from Lynn H. Pryor, D. Min. Lynn spends most days developing adult Bible study resources for LifeWay Christian Resources. He serves a Nashville church as pastor and earned his doctorate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He enjoys woodworking, and his favorite projects are when his sons show up to help. He has been married to Mary for 36 years. Learn more about Lynn at and grab his Field Guide Removing Doubt


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