|“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a |
roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
|—1 Peter 5:8|
At Halloween’s Trick-or-Treat time, we tend to overlook any danger that might arise from dressing children in ghoulish costumes. To many, using such costumes represents innocent fun and simple make-believe. In fact, any notion that such characters are real and can pose a threat to anyone, doesn’t really occur to people, even some sincere Christians.
Yet, Bible writers apparently had a different view of things. Witchcraft is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Acts 8:9-24 tells the story of a sorcerer who had a large following for a long time until the Greater Power of Jesus came to these people.And, of course, we have the record of Jesus praying in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer” these words in Matthew 6:13:
“Deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13).
Trifling with evil through Ouiji boards, séances, physic readings, or even the reading of Astrology carries dangerous consequences. Make no mistake. Our enemy is too powerful for us when we try to meet him by ourselves. We can only defeat him through the power of the living Christ in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
In John 8:44, Scripture calls this enemy a liar and a murderer.
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”The Apostle Paul calls this enemy a masquerader in 2 Corinthians 11:14:
“Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”
Even without indulging in the practices of the magical arts mentioned above, as Christians we wage a difficult battle with this enemy. Even though it seems we fight on every side against the evil of our culture and those who hate the gospel, Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12:
“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.”
Yes. We need to know our enemy and have a healthy fear of his power, But, we can conquer the evil he throws at us through the strategic weapons of our spiritual warfare listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. We also can take comfort from reading 1 John 4:4:
“…the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Be aware of the subtle tricks of the Evil One. He loves to see God’s children in masks mocking him, while at the same time he masquerades himself as one who is an angel of light and good.
How appropriate that hard on the heels of Halloween, we can sing with gusto on Reformation Sunday the words written by Martin Luther in 1529:
A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name,
from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.