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“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
– John 3:19
“Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”
2 Cor. 6:17
A friend of mine was struggling with spiritual attack upon her life; waking up with horrible nightmares and battling fearful, irrational thoughts on a nearly constant basis. One afternoon as we met together for prayer, she casually mentioned that she’d just come from a movie. When she told me which one she’d seen, I was taken aback. It was a horror/ suspense film, and though it was one of the “milder” ones, it still was all about demonic darkness and death.
Suddenly it was obvious to me where her nightmares and fearful thoughts were coming from. By filling her mind with darkness, she was leaving herself wide open for the prince of darkness to wreak havoc upon her soul and subconscious. It’s a bit like sitting outside on a muggy Minnesota evening covered in sugar-water instead of bug spray. You might as well hang a sign on your forehead that says, “Mosquitoes welcome here!” And when we bathe our thoughts in evil instead of good, we might as well hang a sign over the door of our minds that says, “Darkness welcome here!”
I am no stranger to the battle with fear and anxiety. Earlier in my life, I dealt continually with irrational thoughts about my health and future, often waking up with panic attacks. When I shared my struggle with a trusted godly friend, she told me, “Whenever you imagine all the terrible things that could happen in your future, you are engaging in the sin of witchcraft by participating in ‘evil forebodings’ – in essence, predicting evil and darkness over your future.”
It seemed a bit extreme to compare my fearful thoughts with witchcraft. But as I studied God’s Word, I realized that the Bible has very clear guidelines for the kind of things we should think about and meditate upon. Paul says, “...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
Dwelling upon evil things that might happen, such as sickness, death, and tragedy, was the exact opposite of what God intended for my thought life. I had literally been meditating upon darkness instead of light. I began to clearly see how my inner habits were allowing the enemy to hound and harass me with fear.
I repented of “foretelling my future” with evil forebodings. I asked God to overtake my mind and govern my thought life, granting me the grace to “take every thought captive.” And I made a focused effort to fill my mind with light instead of darkness every moment of the day or night. This meant a purification process of the music I listened to, the movies I watched, the conversations I participated in, and the books I read. Anything that caused my mind to think about evil, darkness, tragedy, or death – no matter how “mild” it seemed – was to be ruthlessly removed from my life.
The result of this life change was truly astounding. Very soon, the panic attacks and nightmares were gone. The irrational fears had been replaced with abiding peace. And, like the Proverbs 31 woman, I was truly able to smile at the days to come rather than continually dread what might happen in my future (see Prov. 31:25).
I discovered the secret to fearless, peaceful, victorious living when I learned how to meditate upon light rather than darkness.
Many young women I know are stymied in moving forward with Christ because of the constant badgering of the enemy. Whether it be fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, confusion, insecurity, family problems, health problems, financial problems, or spiritual defeat, the enemy has gone out of his way to keep us completely preoccupied with our problems and unable to live the glorious and radiant set-apart life God has called us to live. We spend most of our time stumbling through the darkness instead of being the light of the world.
Christ said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).
So why are we living like helpless victims to Satan’s schemes?
The following quote by Tauler captures it well: “A pure heart is one to which all that is not of God is strange and jarring.”
I believe the majority of American Christians today are far too careless toward darkness and evil. Pop culture floods our minds and senses with things that are not of God. But for most of us, the glamorized sin that surrounds us is not strange and jarring. It’s normal and accepted. In fact, we go out of our way to enjoy and participate in it. We spend a huge amount of our time and money on it. We allow it to capture our minds, emotions, and attention; then we wonder why our lives are filled with fear, anxiety, defeat, and depression. Take, for instance, the wildly popular Twilight book and movie series. Countless Christian young women have claimed this series as a healthy, God-honoring form of entertainment. “It’s a romantic and pure love story!” proclaim the throngs of Christ-professing girls who flock to each new Twilight movie that hits theaters.” Loads of Christian movie reviewers praise the Twilight series as a wholesome love story. Many Christian leaders label it a harmless and even edifying thing to participate in. I was recently speaking at a church where the youth pastor’s wife announced that she was completely addicted to the Twilight books. A conservative home-schooling mom I know told me that she was allowing her twelve-year-old daughter to read the series. Because the main characters in the series seem to keep their relationship relatively pure (at least in the physical sense), too many Christians assume the story is God-honoring. But here is the question no one seems to be asking: Is there really such a thing as a pure, wholesome, and God-honoring vampire movie?
Pop culture has been obsessed with vampire movies for the past decade or so. Some are bloody and gory; some, like Twilight, are far more subtle. Movies like Twilight and Breaking Dawn attempt to make vampires seem hip and even heroic. But are vampire movies really harmless?
I recently got a little history lesson on the origin of vampires. What I found out was nothing short of utterly repulsive.
The very first vampire story (Dracula) was originally inspired by the real-life demonic antics of a man named Vlad the Impaler – a Romanian ruler in the 1400s. Wikipedia says, “He caused so much pain and suffering that even the most bloodthirstiest persecutors of Christianity like Herodes, Nero, Diocletian and all other pagans combined hadn’t even thought of.”
The article goes on to describe Vlad’s preferred means of torture and execution (impalement) in shocking and deeply disturbing detail. Vlad’s Romanian surname Drăculea means “Son of the Dragon” and is derived from his father’s title, Vlad the Devil. The word Dracul means “the Devil” in modern Romanian and the suffix -lea can be translated as “son of.”
In other words, Vlad, the original vampire, in name and in deed, was “the son of the Devil.” Fiction writers and Hollywood have morphed and modified vampire stories to include all kinds of variations from the original Dracula. But the bottom line is that vampire stories glorify evil and darkness. They originated from something horribly perverse and demonic. And no matter how a movie like Twilight might try to gloss over the demonic side, it’s still there. No matter how seemingly “pure” the love story may be (which is actually just an illusion if you understand true purity), a vampire movie cannot be God- honoring.
Focus on the Family’s Plugged In described the Twilight series this way:
Occult references and violence build throughout the Twilight books, beginning with the idea of vampires and werewolves existing at all. There is also sacrificial suicide...and reference to such devilish creatures as incubi and succubi, as well as body-swapping, shape-shifting, telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, the ability to alter someone else's emotion or mental state using mind control, and even causing physical pain via mental aggressiveness.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says,
There shall not be found among you anyone who...practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD...
Most of us who have grown up in church don’t consider ourselves vulnerable to witchcraft or Satan-worship. But sometimes we overlook things that seem “harmless” but are, in reality, associated with the kingdom of darkness. The Bible makes it clear that there can be no fellowship between light and darkness (see 2 Cor. 6:14). In the book of Acts when the Gospel of Christ was preached, those who believed “came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly...” (Acts 19:18-19 NIV).
If there is any object or activity in our lives that is associated with darkness, the appropriate way to deal with it is to destroy it completely, as they did in Acts. Here’s the rule of thumb that works best for me: “When in doubt, don’t mess with it.”
I would encourage you to ask God to reveal to you anything in your life (past or present) that is associated with Satanic activity. In addition to seemingly “harmless” vampire movies like Twilight, here is a brief list of some other things that fall into that category: horoscopes, hypnosis, palm-reading, tarot cards, ouija boards, zodiac charms, fortune-telling, pagan paraphernalia (like Buddha statues), clothes or jewelry with skeletons, skulls, monsters, etc., and anything that promotes superstition, witchcraft, séances, and the like. Don’t exclude “funny” movies, music, and books from this list. Even if the movies are seemingly lighthearted (like the Will Ferrell remake of Bewitched) anything that tinkers with spiritual power (outside of the power of God) falls into this dangerous category. This would also include TV shows (Charmed, Buffy, Angel, The X-Files, etc.). The shows might be ridiculous and you might not take them seriously, but they still display messages of darkness and ungodly spiritual powers. Once these breaches are identified in your life, they must be removed and destroyed. Ask God to forgive you for allowing these things into your life, and to reclaim any territory that was given to the enemy as a result. God’s Word says: “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly. . . who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil: he will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure” (Is. 33:15-16).
God provides amazing strength, blessings, and freedom for each of us. But in order for us to walk in His light, He requires His sons and daughters to live by a sacred decorum; to come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. We are to ruthlessly remove all uncleanness, all darkness (no matter how small) from our lives. As set-apart young women, there is not even to be a hint of these things in our daily existence.
How do we live this kind of holy, upright, God-honoring life? Not by instigating rules and formulas for ourselves. Not by joining a nunnery or becoming a back-woods hermit. Rather, by yielding to the transforming, supernaturally enabling power of Christ in us. By allowing Him to completely remake us from the inside out. By submitting ourselves fully and completely to His transforming work. By taking every thought captive and meditating upon the things of light rather than the things of darkness. When we yield our bodies to become the holy, undefiled dwelling place of the Most High God, He comes and makes His home within us. When we allow Him to remove everything carnal, dark, sinful, and selfish that stands in the way, that’s when He enables us to live a strong, fortified, victorious life – unharmed and unhampered by the enemy.*
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