I guess if there isn’t enough drama and adrenaline producing scenarios in your life, you could always go see the new supernatural thriller called The Rite…right? Not that it’s a newsflash that this movie is out and has the attention and curiosity of pretty much everyone I’ve spoken with, so the real question is -
Are you going to see it?
Word on the street is that it’s definitely “not for the faint of heart,” but since it garnered a PG-13 rating, I’m guessing the scare factor is born more out of images and intense dialogue rather than spinning heads and spewing soups.
At its heart, The Rite is a movie about faith - hence the tagline of “You can only defeat it when you believe.” Perhaps one of the most appealing draws of this film is the idea that it will help people as they uncover their doubts and raise their questions about the reality of the dark underbelly of this world.
But that’s not the right way to view The Rite. While I’m certain it will deliver a barrage of psychologically thrilling moments and opportunities to respond with “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHGH!” while the color drains from your face and the chills race up your spine, I personally wouldn’t base my beliefs about the demonic world on a film that is “inspired by true events.”
Why? Because you have teachings and accounts related to Satanic possession that are inspired by God Himself! The Catholic practice of exorcism may have started in the 1600’s, but the Biblical teaching on Satan and his demons has been on file since the 1st Century.
So let’s take a look at what God considered to be the critical pieces of information for us as we deal with the very real and very dangerous world of the enemy and his fallen angels.
#1- Satan at the core of his being is a deceiver.
One of the big mistakes people make when dealing with evil is to assume that it will always look, well, EEEEEVIL! To be sure, many demonic manifestations are dark and horrifying, but remember the flipside:
For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Don’t be fooled, there is definitely a beautiful side to evil, which is nothing more than the bait set to trap you and devour you before you even saw what was coming. “Just one drink….just one ‘hook up’…just one lie…” says the angel of light. Then you are ensnared in the dark prison of self-destruction.
#2 - Satan has a specific agenda for your life.
No…it’s not possession. He saves that plan for people who are foolish enough to open a spiritual door and invite demons inside. He captures plenty of prey who play with Ouija boards and tarot cards and/or delve into Eastern meditation.
But for the everyday ordinary folks, his plan is very straightforward:
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10a).
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).
The Deceiver and his army of fallen angels are hell-bent on stealing the joy God intended for you to have, killing any meaningful relationships and purpose in life, and ultimately finding great victory in seeing people destroy their lives on as many levels as possible.
I’d say he’s finding great success in this venture…wouldn’t you?
And most of all, he works overtime to keep people from responding to the most powerful message in the universe - the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospel is the dynamite that blows the doors off Satanic prisons and frees everyone from everything that enslaves them. Then they are free to live out the fulfilling life God has planned for all His beloved creation.
The gospel, actually, is the ultimate exorcist, because it is “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
The priests who enter into the ministry of exorcism care deeply about people who are locked in the clutches of Satan and his minions. They enter into petrifying circumstances in the name of Christ to free the captives.
But don’t be deceived by Satan with the idea that you aren’t called to play just as critical a role in helping set people free from his agenda. Pray for your friends and share the gospel at every opportunity…that is the ultimate *right* that you have as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
The Rite has a lot of teens asking questions about the nature of the spiritual world and how much influence and power they have over humans. This presents a great opportunity to discuss the Biblical truth about Satan and his demons, and how his agenda is to deceive and destroy. Pray for an opportunity to present the gospel in these discussions with your friends.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:10-11).
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18).