Through my life I have been surprised how many people I have met who dabble with the occult, unaware of the consequeces, visiting séances or spiritualist churches, using tarot card or reading horoscopes. The occult seems to be all around us.
I studied at a bible college which was located on the edge of the new forest, a place known for witchcraft. Whilst I was studying there were a couple of occasions when witches would come onto the site and do whatever it is that they do. This caused some of the students to become anxious and afraid. I remember some people claiming that they heard witches making animal noices during the night. I wondered if the more logical explanation was that it was actually animals making the noises? We were in the countryside after all.
I remember my Dad telling me that at one stage there were rumours going around that witches were recording curses onto old style cassette tapes then spreading the tape from inside the cassettes around. I’m sure this did happen sometimes, but when Evangelical Christians saw this tape along the side of the motorway, they automaticaly thought it was full of curses. Not that maybe the tape had got caught up and the driver just chucked it out the window.
On the other hand there are Christians who dangerously deny the existence of the devil. They are completely ignorant to satanic activity, and may even think reading horoscopes is a bit of harmless fun.
So, where do we find the balance between being ignorant of the devil and becoming obsessed with him?
The devils is active, have you ever noticed how often people become sick before mission trips? Or how down you are likely to become down after sharing the gospel? Or how regularly your family has rows before church on a sunday morning?
I don’t think we can blame all of this on the devil, but it does seem to happen far too often to just be a coincidence. We need to be aware of him, without becoming obsessed or afraid.
I really like the way it is described in the Freedom in Christ for Young People Course. They describe the devil as being like germs. If we are completely ignorant of germs, never washing our hands, we would be likely to get really sick. At the same time becoming obsessed with them is just as dangerous, we would never actually get anything done because we spent all our time obsessing over and worrying about them.
Sometimes we can get into the habit of seeing devils everywhere, and give them far more credit than they are due. I am sure this is one of satan’s schemes. Everywhere I have worked the employees have been convinced the place is haunted. (The only exception was when I worked in a church!)
As Christians we need to be aware of the devil, and of his schemes. Yes he is real, and yes he is out to get us, but we don’t need to worry. We are more powerful than he is! We have Christ living in us.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
When we commit ourselves to Christ, the devil is more scared of us than we are of him.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this subject.