(Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Has it really been 8 years since many if not most of you sat in a theater and watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? Do you remember how you felt as you were thrust into a world of fascinating characters and top level effects? And over the years the world has obviously gone wild about Harry.
And now we are almost at journey's end. Little Harry, Ron and Hermione are all grown up now with hormones racing and raging faster than a Golden Snitch, and the world of Hogwarts has changed more than its shifting staircases.
How so? Well, you'll have to find out for yourself, but trust me, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will take you on an unprecedented literary and theatrical ride into one of the better 'good vs. evil' setups I've ever seen.
What is definitely new in this story is the fact that Muggles (non-magic folks) are seeing and experiencing the effects of Voldemort's eeeeeeeevil on a grand scale.
In other words, the vast majority of people in the Harry Potter world went about their daily lives completely clueless about the relatively invisible life and death battle raging all around them. That is, until the effects of the struggle became unquestionably clear right before their eyes.
But that's just in a fantasy book created by JK Rowling, right?
Right...if you're talking about the Harry Potter world. Yet I would submit to you that there is an extreme parallel with the real world, our world, that is described in one of oldest and definitely the bestselling book of all time. Read these passages carefully, as if they were written directly to you, because guess what? They are!
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:25-26 NLT).
Are you seeing the similarities here? First, there is an incomprehensibly wicked being roaming the unseen territories of planet earth who makes Voldemort look like a Boy Scout. Satan is the most powerful created being in the universe and we have been warned.
Not only that, Christians are a part of this unseen war, whether we like it or not. Satan has his own 'death eaters,' but they aren't people. They are spiritual beings called demons who were once angels in the service of God. The demons are battling for your very soul even as you read this.
Like Muggles, there are lots of people who plod through existence with nary a suspicion that spiritual battles rage around them every minute of every day. Oh but the evidences are there, wouldn't you agree?
The addicts, the depressed, the bitter, the abusers, the violent, the cruel, the selfish, and the prideful are all those who have fallen into 'the devil's trap.' They truly are held 'captive,' and it is our mission to 'gently instruct those who oppose the truth' - so that 'perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth.'
What truth? Not just that they are locked in a spiritual prison, but that they can be set free! There's a reason Jesus made the claim to be The Way, The Truth, and The Life, because only through trusting in Him for salvation can we find victory over the one the Bible calls "the commander of the powers in the unseen world" (Ephesians 2:2). When Jesus Christ sacrificed His life on the Cross and came back from the dead, God's victory over Satan was made complete - and the way was opened for us to join forces with Him and help defeat the evil plans and purposes of Satan while we remain on earth.
Satan's most devious scheme is blinding the minds of your friends who don't know Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:4). The last thing he wants is for them to know the truth about the gospel. When you tell your friends about Jesus and what He did on the cross, you are wielding the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16) and defeating the evil forces of the world. To me, that's more thrilling than any storyline or special effect could ever match, because this battle is as real as it gets.
So if you're a Christian Muggle - i.e. one who is unaware and unengaged in the battle for humanity's destiny - open your spiritual eyes and wield the weapons of God's word and prayer...we need you in the fight!