Evil is real, destructive — and it is plaguing our society on a multitude of levels. We see it manifest in horrific news stories, ever-dysfunctional politics, terror attacks, atrocities abroad — and in raging hate and discord in our cities and towns.
We also see it in people’s personal journeys of confronting evil and spiritual warfare — the types of stories I tell in my new book, “Playing With Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts.”
But despite the overwhelming evidence of evil all around us, we too often stop short of taking the time to understand what it encompasses and where it comes from. Too many of us try to ignore its presence, opting instead for a hyper-materialism that divorces us from spiritual realities.
Rather than looking above, this dynamic can cause us to seek hope and solutions in all of the wrong places. Just consider the fact that the world seems to be slowly slipping into darkness — and while chaos keeps unfolding, the proposed solution again and again is “the self.”
It’s all predicated on this bizarre idea that we can somehow miraculously heal the very problems we’ve created. We’ve been sold a lie that we should simply do what makes us happy, what makes us feel good — that if we act on our whims and inclinations, we’ll be happy.
Evil is ever-present in our world today and it is feeding off of the modern trend "to replace God with self," says @BillyHallowell.— The First (@TheFirstonTV) December 3, 2020
"A lot of us, even Christians, live our lives as though there's no battle over good & evil, as though there's no enemy..." pic.twitter.com/9Dz7M8HBSi
But this culture of the self has created anything but happiness and normality. As time progresses and we sled further down this turbulent hill, confusion consumes too many of us and we’re no longer able to discern truth, forgetting or refusing to see that something deeper is going on.
Paul writes some truly eye-opening words in Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” It’s the verse at the center of “Playing With Fire.”
It’s a remarkable statement when you think about it — that a spiritual battle is unfolding and we cannot necessarily see it, despite its profound impact. We’re so consumed with labeling people and political parties as evil and with infighting.
But too many of us are forgetting that there’s a deeper, darker evil at play, and it’s impacting individuals, people and institutions; it’s an evil that feeds off the culture of the self, perpetuating lies that distorts how we see ourselves and others, what we think and believe and how we interact with the world around us.
When we look at scripture, we see Satan being described as an “enemy” who “prowls around like a roaring lion” — a figure who hatches schemes, tempts and is the “prince of this world.” yet many of us live our lives like there’s no overarching battle between good and evil, as though there’s no God, and no enemy.
But when we live our lives in such a hyper-material way, we risk misunderstanding what’s happening, the driving forces behind it all and the negative impact it can have on our lives and culture. More importantly, understanding evil — truly grasping how it can impact people and culture — actually points us back toward our need for good.
Understanding the nature of evil helps us avoid it, cling to truth and navigate life’s choppy choppy waters. To defeat evil, we must first understand it. For more on demons, exorcism and the nature of evil, grab a copy of, “Playing With Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts.”
Billy Hallowell is the director of communications and content for PureFlix.com, whose mission is to create God-honoring entertainment that strengthens the faith and values of individuals and families. He’s a former senior editor at Faithwire.com and the former faith and culture editor at TheBlaze. He has contributed to FoxNews.com, The Washington Post, Human Events, The Daily Caller, Mediaite, and The Huffington Post, among other outlets.
His latest book, Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts is available wherever books are sold.
Learn more by visiting: https://www.thomasnelson.com/9780785234517/playing-with-fire/.