It seems that soon after back to school happens, back to ghoul appears on the scene.
Say what? Well, flip on your TV and most nights you'll be able to tune in to shows that deal with the "other side" of things. Whether you're pushing up daisies, looking at the supernatural, or following the "Reaper" … there's no lack of choices when it comes to things ghostly, ghastly, and grisly.
(Quick note on "Reaper" … the basic plot is that the main character Sam is in eternal servitude to the devil because his parents promised the soul of their firstborn to Satan in exchange for the Dad's life. Maybe the next time you feel frustrated or angry at the way you were raised, be thankful they didn't sell your soul to Beelzebub. Sort of puts the whole "grounding" thing in perspective, right?)
Then there's the big event at the end of October where candy makers and costume companies are making bank hand-over-fist, while trick-or-treaters and Halloween gatherings are found on every street in America (well, probably not in Amish country, but I'm getting the cart before the horse).
So what's with all the attraction to the "dark side?" It seems more and more that our culture is mesmerized by the seamy side of the spiritual world. Good entertainment? For many, yes.
Dangerous? Potentially … because there's no getting around the fact that there is a spiritual world which overlays ours, and there are things that do much more than go "bump" in the night. In fact, there are battles raging within a few feet of you that would make the telekinetic entertainment shows look more like Teletubbies.
So what would make supernatural-themed shows and celebrations dangerous? Well, aside from the clearly obvious things like participating in séances or replacing a game of Uno for a Tarot card reading, there is another issue to consider for those who belong to Christ. This issue is simply one of perception. There are many believers who give way too much credit to the power of the dark side, and when they do, they usually find themselves under its influence.
And that is dangerous.
The key here is to keep in mind an often overlooked but absolutely critical passage of Scripture that give us the "lenses" to see the spiritual world in 20/20 focus and respond accordingly. See if you agree:
God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:13b-15)
What does this verse have to do with the spiritual world? In a word … everything! Paul is telling us that when Jesus died on the Cross, what looked like absolute defeat by Satan and his army over Christ was actually a total and complete victory over him! First of all, it "canceled the record of charges against us" – in other words, it erased the guilty charges for all our sin and rebellion against Him, so Satan can't bring guilt and shame your way anymore. Second – and this is the really amazing part – through the cross, Jesus "disarmed" Satan and his demons, and even "shamed" them publicly.
The picture behind "shamed them publicly" is that of the Roman army as they marched back through the city streets in a parade of triumph. Behind the General of the Army came the defeated kings, captains and people who were openly displayed for all to see as completely conquered.
So in this verse, Paul paints a picture of Jesus as the conquering General in the middle of a cosmic triumph, and in the victory parade are Satan and all his demons, who are beaten forever, for every one to see. Paul wants us to understand that even though Satan and his demons still exist, because of Jesus they are a crushed and routed enemy.
What does this mean for the supernatural scene and Halloween? Time to celebrate! That's right! Let all the scary TV themes and costumes involving the supernatural be a visual reminder that they are just that: fiction and fake masks – and that's a reason to par-teh!
The only power Satan has over you is what you voluntarily give him in the first place. He'll try to convince you that he can defeat you with guilt and deception … but that's the time you remember the victory parade that happened over 2000 years ago when the Captain of our salvation marched the enemy though the spiritual streets of the universe and put on public display a victory notice for all who trust in Him for eternal life.
The "trick" to all this is not facing Satan in your own strength, and calling on Jesus to bring victory in your life.
The "treat" is that when you do, you'll experience a life of walking in the light that no amount of darkness can ever overcome.
So this Halloween, forget about "boo!" … because of Christ, we can say "boo-ya!"
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.