Are you being conformed to the darkness?
October 18, 2005
Partial obedience is actually full disobedience.
We learned this valuable lesson in 1 Kings 15 from the life of King Saul when he only partially carried out the Lord’s instruction. Samuel gave him a scathing rebuke and told him that the God-given blessing of the kingdom would be stripped away from his house. How many times do we lose some of God’s choice blessings, when we are only partially obedient to God’s Word? We don’t need a prophet to tell us, because we now have the full counsel of God’s Word in the 66 books of the Bible.
In just a few days, we will be coming upon the second most commercially successful holiday in the United States, Halloween. There are estimates that say Americans will spend up to $6 billion in observance of this day. In a day when liberals cry out against religion, they pay homage to Satan, his minions and death. These are the very things that our Lord Jesus shed His blood to defeat for us. Why would Christians even get close to observations of Halloween?
There is a tendency to compare our actions and attitudes with others rather than to make judgments using God’s Word as our standard. So, the rationale becomes, “If everyone else is doing it, how can it be wrong?”
Many Christians will permit, and even encourage, their children to pay respect to Satan on Oct. 31. It seems as if many think Halloween is some kind of an outgrowth of Christian tradition. The name Hallowe’en means “The evening before All Hallows,” or All Saints’ Day. The Roman Catholic Church instituted this day in 834 AD by Pope Gregory IV to ‘Christianize” a pagan festival. Most all symbols and practices of Halloween are connected to Satan worship and the occultic practices of the Druids.
A Druid god of the dead (Samhain) was honored on this particular night in Britain, France, Germany and the Celtic countries. Consider two of the most common practices surrounding Hallowe’en.
Trick or Treat: Druids believed that souls of the dead returned to their former homes to be entertained by the living. Bonfires were built on hilltops so they could find their way. Suitable food and shelter were provided for these spirits or, it was believed, they would cast spells, cause havoc, steal infants, and create terror as they haunted the living. The spirits demanded gratification by giving them worship and an offering. This is where “Trick-or-Treat” comes from. One of the basic tenets of witchcraft is to control the will of another by use of fear.
Jack-O-Lanterns: Jack-O-Lanterns (also known as “will-o-the-wisp, fairie fire, corpse lanterns,” among other things) are designed, according to ancient folklore, to attract victims to their death in swamps. The leering pumpkin face is symbolic of this mocking spirit.
Isn’t it going to traumatizeour children if they aren’t allowed to participate when “everyone else is doing it?” No, it will not. We have three married children who are living for and serving Jesus who never observed Halloween’s rituals or decorations. Children who are taught to love Jesus will understand that they should not be a part of a ceremony that glorifies the enemies of Jesus (Prov. 22:6). The Word of God is emphatic that Christians are to have nothing to do with occult practices and should avoid even the appearance of evil (Deut. 18:10-12; 2 Cor. 6:14-15, Rom. 16:19, 1 Thess. 5:22). One of the centers of the occult in the first century was Ephesus. The believers of that day realized that they must totally separate themselves from any tenet or appearance of the occult. The Ephesians did not sell, but burned a fortune of magic/occultic books (Acts 19:18-20). The result is that the message of Jesus Christ flourished.
Spiritual warfare, demons, Satan and evil are all as real as the air you breathe. Why should Christians participate (albeit naively) in the celebration of something condemned and forbidden by Scripture? This is an example of how we are conformed by the world without even realizing it. We have swallowed society’s opinion that witches and ghosts are just “make-believe,” some-thing to laugh at and have fun with. Contemporary illustrations of this trend are the cartoon characters “Wendy the Witch” and “Casper, the Friendly Ghost” and amusements such as “The Haunted Mansion” at Disney World. Cartoon characterizations simply desensitize people to the horrors of the demonic. Personally, I have seen and been part of enough demonic confrontation and spiritual warfare that I want nothing to do with it.
Would Jesus want His name associated with Halloween? Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16, 20). Some of the fruits of Halloween are greed for children and vandalism for teenagers. Col. 3:17 says, “Whatsoever you do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” I Cor. 10:31 says, “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”Is it God who is glorified on Halloween, or is it Satan? I Thess. 5:21-22 says, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearances of evil.”Isa. 5:20 says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”
Anytime you invite the enemies of Jesus into your life or home, albeit “innocently”, you are giving spiritual ground to the enemy. Eph. 6:10-18 tells us to put on the whole armor of God and to stand our ground.
The decisions about Halloween are ones that must be made by parents. Christian parents should make careful decisions based on a biblically informed Christian conscience. My concern is that any observance of Halloween will desensitize children to the reality and danger of spiritual warfare and the occult.
Have you ever thought of how many of God’s blessings you have missed or have been removed due to partial obedience to God’s Word? Partial obedience cost King Saul’s family dearly. “As for me and my house … .”