Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Bad Example=Bad Followers

Shaky Hands

The most famous illusionist in England, David Devant, took his name from a French painting about David and Goliath. He became England’s premiere magician from up until 1920 in which he retired. Some of the best illusions still performed today were created by David Devant. He performed the levitation of the woman made famous in America by Howard Thurston, (which Thurston’s mentor, Harry Keller, stole the secret from Devant’s mentor.)

Devant was a house-hold name that brought great images of a fantastic evening of wonder. He took illusions to the next level by creating the most incredible vanish of all time known as “The Mascot Moth.” Aside from large illusions, Devant was an accomplished sleight of hand performer. Using small objects he would wow hundreds in an English theater.

He had a staple in his act that involved bringing a small boy up on to the stage. Devant gave the boy a handkerchief and told him to imitate his motions. Devant would begin to do incredible things with his, while the boy stood there watching with his handkerchief. It would be torn, burned, shredded, and then miraculously restored. The audience laughed and loved it.

The last night he performed this act changed his life forever. Devant brought the boy on stage and like always asked him to imitate his motions. The audience looked on a bit uneasy as the boy stood there flailing his hands with the handkerchief. Devant looked at the boy bewildered, until he saw his own hands. They were shaking uncontrollably. He ended the performance, and retired that same year.

Imitate me. Do what I do.

Those are instructions that are very straight forward. Devant found out though, that they can bring unforeseen results.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

Those are some powerful words. If you are telling someone, “hey follow me if you want to know how to follow Christ,” you better have yourself together. Paul obviously did. I know that in my life personally, I have let people see my hands shaking, and they have followed suit.

I think about the impact that we have on the people around us who know that we are Christians. Whether we like it or not, Paul’s statement hangs around our necks. When people see that we are followers of Christ, they naturally learn from our actions. Whether that’s good or bad. Devant had no clue that his hands were shaking uncontrollably. He had no clue that his example was terribly flawed. He didn’t examine himself to see this flaw.

That’s where the issue comes in. We have to examine ourselves daily, to make sure that we line up with what a true follower of Christ looks like. You may think that this is old hat advice, but guess what, the moment we start to feel comfortable is the very moment our hands start shaking.

Keeping Your Hands Still

Daniel 1:8 gives a picture of daily devotion to purity that we should follow in our own lives. He chose not to defile himself with what the king had to offer. We should choose not to defile ourselves with what the world has to offer.

So the people around you that know that you are a follower of Jesus, do they see Jesus? or do they see you with your hands shaking?


-What things do you do that could be considered “shaky hands”?

-What can you do personally to stop them from shaking?

-How can you repair a relationship with someone who has started shaking too?

—-Again for more on Devant, check out Jim Steinmeyer’s book

Hiding The Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

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