Grace Versus Demonic Possession

imageGreater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.
 1 John 4:4

No matter what anybody says, Halloween, observed mostly in the US, is not my favorite day of the year. There appears to be too much dark and evil connotations connected with it that greets me face-to-face. And there seems to be too much emphasis on death – skeletons, goblins, and cemeteries – that greets children face-to-face.

As I write this, my first thoughts were on how the spirit of this day, Halloween, differs from what Jesus Christ displayed when He was on earth. He came as a Light to the World and now He is in us Christians.

Satan, on the other hand, comes across as a light-bringer, but his aim is to encourage and sustain darkness on this world.

In the gospels, we read of Jesus removing evil spirits and demons from one individual after another. These demonic spirits had taken complete possession of individuals, leaving them at the mercy of what the spirits wanted. That, to me, is an example of bondage.

But, Jesus Christ offers freedom – freedom from the bondage of sin, freedom from carrying the load of guilt and freedom from the grips of worry – just to name a few.

Jesus Christ also offers strength to overcome, resist and be victorious over temptations and trials – just to name a little more than a few.

The Key Factor Of Evil Spirit Beings
I continue thinking how having Jesus Christ within us is not the same as having demonic forces being within a person. God’s Spirit leads Christians and, let me repeat, strengthens them to do good. But the spirit of Satan practically overwhelms us to do the opposite if we do not resist him. How do God’s strength and demonic strength differ?

The key concept to answering that question is to consider who is in control of this age.

Satan is considered being the ruler of the power of the air:

Ephesians 2:1-2

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Question: Is not air a physical entity that we humans breathe? What does the verse above mean? It means that after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, Satan took control of this world. He and his demons were then able go to and fro everywhere; entering people’s minds influencing them to obey what is evil and dark.

Satan and his demons are powerful beings who control this world:

1 John 5:19

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Also, as Christians, we have to deal not only with this evil world, Satan, and his demons but one more thing –  our own selfish and evil pulls and desires.

Romans 7:23

…but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

We humans, in a way, are addicted to sin. It is in our makeup which we inherited from Adam and Eve. Therefore, we cannot help but sin. We can be told to keep all of the laws of God, for example, but still fall short sooner or later from being true and faithful to them.

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What would Jesus do on Halloween? Would He lock the doors of His home? Would the Light of the World turn off all the lights and not give out candy? How would the neighborhood view Him as a neighbor?

The Key Factor In Living With Grace
Thinking more about all this, I realize that the key condition with God’s grace is that God provides it with man still possessing what is called free will. What is free will? It is the ability of each individual to choose right from wrong. God’s grace in no way interferes with man’s ability of making choices.

Constantly working against our free will in choosing what is good in God’s sight are (again) the world’s pulls of selfishness, Satan’s pulls toward evil and our fleshly bodies which pulls us toward lust.

When we rely on God’s grace, however, to live righteously, God is right there providing strength for us. But we must first submit and desire to walk WITH Jesus Christ. We will never, under God’s grace, be dragged against our will to do what is, or is not, good. How we walk with Christ is a whole different topic.

But, demonic control of people is just another form of keeping individuals in spiritual darkness. God offers freedom from the darkness of not knowing His light. Satan’s way is to keep people away from it.

Satan and Free Will
Now it is your turn. Think about this question: Does Satan and his demons currently have free will? I believe Satan still has it (limited to what God allows). Satan is not in bondage to any other angelic being. He is in bondage to his own sin which he fell into when he became full of pride and “iniquity was found in him”(Ezekiel 28:13-15).

I will not enter into endless debates as to how a good God could allow sin to take hold of his angels (who became fallen angels) and then allow them to cause the human race to fall. The point I am making is that God has a purpose for man. He did not make us to be controlled as robots, but to grow in grace to always make righteous decisions.

You may be asking, “OK, so what? What does all this have to do with Halloween and its traditions?” Well, Halloween has nothing whatsoever to do with saving grace. There is no gospel light within it. There is no transforming of lives for the better in its celebrations. And yes, the world, under Satan, will always want everyone to live in spiritual darkness rather than in the way of light.

Trick or Treat
How this world lusts for the material things seems good (sweet as candy) but when it is not satisfied, all hell breaks loose with all kinds of evil: war, hatred, coveting, stealing, murdering, raping, addictions, etc., etc., etc.

Satan took possession of this world when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Halloween reminds me of that.

By the way, Adam and Eve were not the first to sin, but Lucifer, who later became Satan. When Satan sinned what happened? (future blog here). No one died right there and then. Spirit beings cannot die. But Satan later “tricked” (pun intended) Eve to sin by offering her the idea of partaking the “treat” of the forbidden fruit. The trick was death and darkness permeating the entire earth from then on.

Empowering verses Overpowering
God’s grace empowers people to do good. Satan’s temptations overpower people to do evil.

God’s way of grace works to forgive and restore people into true freedom. Satan’s way is to dominate, to accuse and to blame people toward burdensome shame.

God’s grace, along with the Holy Spirit, provides help (The Helper) and comfort (The Comforter). Satan’s way offers discomfort, pain and isolation.

God’s grace leads to life. Satan’s ways ends in death.

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We Christians are to be a light to the world –  even on Halloween. If Jesus Christ were living next door to me, I would see Him passing out candy to children on Halloween and enjoying it.

You know what? The more I think about it, the more I realize that Halloween is really no big deal. If you Christians want to use Halloween as a means to show the light of the gospel to this fallen, dark world, great!

Some of  you Christians, however, want nothing to do with Halloween. OK, but please consider that we should not become Pharisaical against other Christians who may use it to be out with their children or take advantage of teaching what the true God is all about.

Also, if some of you same Christians want nothing to do with this day as if it were a plague, fine. But, remember, God still has us in this spiritually dark world every day. Why? To preach the Good News of salvation – not to quarantine the gospel of Christ from it – not to put it under a basket (Matthew 5:15).

Wow, I rambled on a little long here, sorry. I will stop now.

OK, yes, the practices of Halloween did not originate with God, but the message of hope and freedom found in the Bible should be shared to those who live in the dark throes hopelessness on any given day. Let us meditate, pray and offer Jesus Christ to others on that thought.

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