Halloween is right around the corner, and it’s a time when many Christians find themselves divided. Many want to know if and how to participate in fall festivities without dishonoring their faith in Christ. As you can imagine, participating in Halloween-themed events presents a problem for many in the Body of Christ – even if those events are held by the church.
Many things contribute to beliefs about Halloween. What you were taught growing up, your denomination and how you interpret scripture all play a part in your beliefs about this pagan holiday. I wrote about Halloween a couple of years ago, but you can find excellent articles here and here.
Needless to say, Halloween sparks many heated debates and arguments amongst Christians. I, like Paul, think there are weightier matters in the faith and think that every believer should be “convinced in his or her own mind” about whether or not to let their little ones dress up (Romans 14:5). After all, if familiar spirits a.k.a. demonic spirits had so much power, why did Paul ignore one’s presence for so long in the slave girl in Acts chapter 16? Paul didn’t see the demonic spirit as a threat because he walked in the authority and power of the Holy Spirit. He only casted the spirit out because it was an “annoyance” (Acts 16:18). Also, when the disciples came back rejoicing saying “Even the demons are subject to us in your name,” Jesus didn’t make a huge fuss about it. He didn’t focus on or stress their new “deliverance ministries.” He told them to rejoice because their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:17-20). I believe it’s because Jesus knew God gave him all power and authority in heaven and on earth, and demons didn’t pose any real threat to him. Just research the many times the demons cried out and trembled in the presence of Jesus. Those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit – meaning us – have the same power and authority. Jesus gave us the formula in Matthew chapter 4. All you have to do is speak the Word of God, and the devil will flee.
│ The devil cannot occupy space that does not belong to him!
Now, if I wasn’t a believer and baptized with the Holy Spirit, I would be very afraid of demons. You remember what happened to the seven sons of Sceva in Acts chapter 19? They tried to replicate Paul’s ministry, but were beaten to a pulp by a man with an evil spirit because they weren’t disciples of Jesus Christ. They tried to “fake the funk” and suffered the consequences. However, if you’ve been born again and you walk in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, you have nothing to fear. As sons and daughters of the Most High God, we’ve been brought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). We belong to Christ. The devil cannot occupy space that does not belong to him! If you are still afraid, then your love hasn’t been perfected in Jesus Christ because perfected love casts out all fear, and NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Here are the scriptures to back that up (John 10:28-30; Romans 8:38-39; 1 John 4). Romans 8:38-39 even references “angels” and “powers,” which also means demonic spirits. None of these can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
I’m not saying that you should go out and buy an Ouija board or dabble in the occult. I’m trying to calm your fears. “Do not be afraid” is a sermon Jesus preached regularly to the believers, and it still rings true. Also, God did not give us a spirit of fear or a timid spirit, but one of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
As a result of all of the fear mongering going around in the Body of Christ, I’m going share with you five things scarier than Halloween.
1. The Divorce Rate and Increase in Single Parent Families
The United States Census Bureau reported that 55 percent of black children lived in single parent households. 55 PERCENT! That is more than half. The American Psychological Association reports that 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. These reports also show that children in single parent households are also more likely to live below the poverty line. You can find all of these statistics on the respective websites. These statistics include Christians.
I understand why some Christians are so focused on Halloween. It’s easier to focus on one day than to focus on the discipline that it requires to submit to and love your spouse for 365 days. We’d rather focus on ghosts and goblins than focus on what’s preventing us from keeping our marriages together. It’s easy for us to blame a spell or the devil for our behavior because we don’t have to take responsibility for our actions. The overwhelming response from the “Iyanla Fix My Life,” and this is not an endorsement, that focused on the man who conceived 34 children with 17 different women demonstrates the brokenness that many of us carry and pass on to our children. Instead of fasting and praying to prevent someone from casting a spell on you, how about we try to fast and pray so that we can build healthy marriages and families so we can break the curse of dysfunction that is so rampant in this generation.
2. Unemployment and Poverty
Did you know that a large portion of scripture in both the Old and New Testaments addresses poverty, injustice and the poor? If you don’t believe me, check it out in your Logos software or check a scholarly concordance. You will be overwhelmed. That’s because God cares deeply for the disenfranchised and “least of these.”
The Huffington Post recently reported that 45 million Americans live below the poverty line – and that’s just in this country. The unemployment rate is 5.9 percent. Black people are disproportionately affected. These reports don’t even take into consideration those without adequate housing and healthcare and the “underemployed.” Our neighbors are suffering, and many of us are blind to the fact.
3. Cost of Education and Student Loan Debt
You rarely hear churches address the “spirit of debt.” It is tragic too because that spirit is choking many of us, especially those of us who are strapped with student loan debt. We need to have a tarrying service to deliver many of us from living outside of our means and from acquiring unnecessary debt. The statistics state that there is $1 trillion in student loan debt in America. Education is not getting any cheaper. I’m thankful for ministries such as Dr. DeForest Soaries, Jr.’s “D-Free” ministry. He’s paving the way to help many Christians break free from that witch Sallie Mae a.k.a. Navient and the rest of her sisters.
4. Obesity and Heart Disease
I can’t help but laugh when I hear people in a panic over Ebola. Yes, it’s a frightening and deadly virus, but if you eat the standard American diet and engage in little to no exercise, you’re probably going to die from heart disease or another obesity-related disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading cause of death for men AND women. Heart disease and stroke account for more than 1/3 of deaths in the United States. These numbers should alarm you! I don’t even want to mention the statistics for African Americans. Those numbers are even scarier. Thankfully, many churches are taking notice. Churches are starting fitness ministries and conducting free blood pressure and diabetes screenings after services.
5. Police Brutality
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you’ve seen the many accounts of police officers using excessive force and violating the rights of citizens. Hello Ferguson! This is a very pressing issue in the country, and the church is taking notice. Many clergy persons including Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant, Rev. Jim Wallis and more were arrested in Ferguson for standing in support of the people. I don’t know about you, but thinking about my son’s future interactions with the police scare me WAY more than witches, ghosts or goblins. I’m more concerned about the evil spirit of discrimination and racism that I believe prompts many of these police killings. We need to exorcise that spirit immediately!