My daughter came home from school the other day and asked me, “Why can’t I watch Harry Potter or read Percy Jackson and the Olympians?” Even though I’ve explained to her before–several times–why she can’t watch or read such things, she asked me again because many kids in her class were talking about it that day. She asked me again because she goes to a private Christian school and didn’t understand why many of the kids in her class are talking about something that I’ve explained to her that we, as committed believers in Jesus Christ, are not to participate in. I have explained to her that the basic tenets of Christianity instruct us to avoid and/or turn away from certain things which are clearly articulated in scripture, which would include anything related to pagan idolatry, witchcraft, or the occult.
The problem is, the devil is a great storyteller. His silver tongue can weave a tale that would absorb and enrapture even the godliest person. We know this is true because Eve was sinless when she encountered him on that fateful day when he told her the best story of all. She was not crippled by fleshly weaknesses towards temptation and sin like we are. She was perfect in spirit and perfect in flesh. She was whole within herself and whole with God. She was as God said she was, which was “very good.” (Gen 1:31).
Perhaps we have all wondered why Eve would choose to do something that God clearly and explicitly gave instructions not to do, not realizing that we, ourselves, do the very same thing on a regular basis. But we don’t like to think about our own rebellion, so let’s talk about Eve’s. Why would she choose Satan’s lie and rebel against God? Scripture shows us that it was because Satan captured her imagination, “..it was a delight to the eyes, and … was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate;” (Gen 3:6). Satan spun a tale that appealed to the potential towards rebellion and self-pleasure that lies within the heart of every human being because he is a master at his craft.
Scripture says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Samuel 15:23). Scripture does not say, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…..unless the witchcraft and idolatry have a really great storyline.” There is a reason why you can walk into any bookstore and find that up to 80% of what is offered to school-aged children to read is related to witchcraft, sorcery, the occult, animism, pagan mythology, zombies, vampires and a myriad of other topics that Christians are explicitly and clearly instructed to avoid and turn away from. And the reason is, that the devil has had thousands of years to observe and interact with us. He is a master at his craft of subtlety.
Make note of the definition of “subtle”, which is, “making use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something.” Let that sink in for a moment. Then understand this: most of the time, people aren’t even aware they are being deceived and manipulated by the enemy of their souls. The devil desires our rebellion against God any way he can achieve it. He doesn’t care whether we do it knowingly or in ignorance, purposefully or on accident, a little bit or a lot. He just wants us to operate in his image, rather than God’s. Rebellion over obedience. Human reason over heavenly faith. Some people may think, “Well, it’s just a story.” Yeah, but look what happened to Eve when she listened to the one she was told.
There is a reason God tells His children that will inherit eternal life to turn away from and avoid the works of darkness:
–“..what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God;” (2 Cor 6:15)
–“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.” (1 Cor 10:21)
–“For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.” (1 Thess 5:5)
The devil’s method of operation hasn’t changed much since the Garden. He appeals to our emotions and our reasoning and makes sin desirable, interesting and entertaining. He made Eve’s rebellion seem reasonable and inconsequential. He told her a great story. However, doing anything that goes against God’s instructions to us as to how to conduct ourselves and live our lives, is rebellion. And if the devil can’t get us to do it out-right, then he will simply entertain us with it.
As God’s holy people, who have been bought with the precious blood of Christ and set apart as a nation of God’s own possession that has been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light, let us live lives worthy of the calling we have received.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (2 Peter 2:9)
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called..” (Eph 4:1)
“‘How can there be peace,’ Jehu replied, ‘as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?'” (2 Kings 9:22)
“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so.” (Deut 8:10-14)
“No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.” (1 Cor 10:20)
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Phil 4:8)