Month: October 2017

Dabbling in Darkness: Harmless or Not?

By Leslie Ludy

Today we have Halloween coming up this week, and it inspired me to take a fresh look at where our culture is at in the area of darkness and death.

One thing that I have noticed, and you’ve probably noticed it too, is that in the past decade or so – especially in the past five or six years – the culture has really escalated in celebrating death and darkness and glorifying things that are evil; even trying to make things that are dark, evil, and demonic attractive, trendy, popular, and cute.

THE CULTURE’S PREOCCUPATION WITH DEATH

Leslie Ludy: It’s really easy for us, I think, as Christian women to overlook that and not take it very seriously. But there’s a Scripture in Proverbs that is so interesting to me. It’s talking about true wisdom and it says, “… those who hate me [meaning the wisdom of God] love death.” (See Proverbs 8:36.) Those who hate God’s wisdom love death! That’s what you see when you look around our world today. There is a love for things that are representative of death. You see sculls and skeletons everywhere. When I was in high school it used to be on the t-shirts of kids who were really into heavy metal bands, rode skateboards, and had long, shaggy hair. It was sort of a sub-culture of people who loved skeletons and skulls, and now it’s absolutely everywhere. It’s got sparkles on it and it’s on scarves and jewelry. I even remember a few years ago, I bought a pair of swim trunks for one of my boys. He was probably three or four years old at the time, so they were little kid/toddler swim trunks, and I grabbed them off the rack thinking that they had a beach scene on them, and when I got them home I took a closer look and this “beach scene” was actually in the shape of a skull! Here is clothing actually made for little kids that celebrates darkness and death, and you see these little babies wearing skull and skeleton t-shirts. You see girls wearing sequins, skulls, and skeletons on their purses and bags. There are even aisles that my kids and I have to completely avoid in the toy store because the toys in those aisles are so demonic. You just walk down the aisle and it’s like you’re assaulted with violence, blood, and gore – and that’s in a toy store! So that just shows you how far our culture has come in this area of celebrating darkness.

DRESSING UP DARKNESS: BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR WALKING IN LIGHT

Leslie Ludy: We did an article in the Set Apart Girl Magazine several issues ago called “The Dangers of Making Darkness Cute,” or making evil cute. And that’s really what you see. All the trendy, fun accessories and clothing in our culture even all the way down to little baby clothes trying to make evil and darkness cute. It’s easy to overlook this because we think, Well, it’s just everywhere. It’s just a trend right now. But really, this is not a light or casual thing in God’s sight. It’s something that we need to be taking very seriously as well, especially in a week like this where you see the culture rallying around a holiday like Halloween, which is a celebration of darkness.

Many women that I know are very stymied in moving forward in their spiritual life because they’re being constantly hounded by the enemy. Maybe they’re plagued by fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, confusion, family problems, financial problems, spiritual defeat – whatever it is, the enemy oftentimes has today’s Christian women under his thumb, and his goal seems to be to keep us totally preoccupied with our own emotional problems and really unable to live out the glorious, set apart life that God has called us to live. A lot of women today spend most of their time stumbling through the darkness instead of truly being the light of the world. So many of us are hounded by the enemy, and I’d like to explore some of the reasons why that might be happening.

Christ said in Luke 10:19, “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.” That if that is the reality that Christ purchased for us on the Cross, why are so many of us living helpless to Satan’s schemes and his control?

I love this quote by Tauler, he wrote, “A pure heart is one to which all that is not of God is strange and jarring.” That is such a convicting statement because so many of us are too careless towards darkness and evil. The things that are not of God that are all around us don’t seem strange and jarring to us. They’re just completely normal and some of us even go out of our way to purchase and accept those things and treat them as normal.

Pop-culture is flooding our minds and our senses with things that are truly not of God. There is glamorized sin and darkness all around us, but if it’s not strange and jarring to our soul, then that’s a good indication we’ve become too comfortable with the things that are not of God. We’ve accepted them and treated them as normal and some of us even spend a lot of our time and money on those things. We allow those things – those images, sounds, and sights of the world – to capture our mind, our emotions, and our attention, and then we wonder why our lives are filled with fear, anxiety, defeat, and depression.

The Bible says that “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” (Isa. 33:15-16). God provides incredible strength, blessing, and freedom for each of us, but in order for us to truly walk in this pattern, He requires us to live by a sacred decorum – to come out from the world, to be separate, to touch not the unclean thing, to ruthlessly remove all uncleanness and darkness – no matter how small from our lives. As women seeking to be set apart for Jesus Christ, seeking to be free from the enemy’s control, there is not to be even a hint of darkness in our daily existence. We aren’t to go out of our way to participate in those things.

It says in Deuteronomy, “There shall not be found among you anyone … who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or 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…” (Deut. 18:10-12a). Now most of us who grew up in church probably don’t consider ourselves vulnerable to things like witchcraft or Satan worship, but sometimes we overlook things of darkness that seem harmless but really they’re associated with the very same things – the kingdom of darkness instead of the Kingdom of Light.

The Bible makes it clear that there really cannot be any fellowship between light and darkness. In the book of Acts when the Gospel of Christ was preached, the people who believed, it says that they came and openly confessed their evil deeds and a number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly (Acts 19:19 NIV). That’s incredible! They realized that they could not walk in cooperation with the kingdom of darkness and embrace the Kingdom of Light at the same time. They realized they had to completely destroy the things of darkness that they were harboring in their lives. Those books and things, they totaled up the value and it was extremely valuable, so it was very sacrificial, but they still chose to burn them publicly as a statement that they are no longer associated with the kingdom of darkness.

Really, the same principle applies to us as set apart daughters of the King. If there is any object or activity in our life that’s associated with darkness, the only appropriate way to deal with it is to destroy it completely just as those Christians did in the book of Acts. Even though the culture tries to glaze and gloss over darkness and tries to tempt us to treat it very casually, I think there’s a good rule of thumb that says, “When in doubt, don’t mess with it.” If it even hints as being part of the kingdom of darkness, it really doesn’t belong in our lives. I encourage you, especially as we go through this week and we see the culture reveling in darkness, that you would take some time to ask God to reveal anything in your life – maybe past or present – that could be associated with darkness or satanic activity. Now let me get specific with some things that could be stumbling blocks in this area of your life that you may or may not have ever thought about before.

WHICH KINGDOM ARE YOU REFLECTING: DARKNESS OR LIGHT?

We mentioned earlier things like jewelry, clothing, or bags that somehow promote death and glorify evil. Maybe they have skulls, or skeletons, or other symbols of darkness on them. Just because you put a little bling on them, or they’re covered in sequins, or they have glitter or gloss on them, or they’re pink doesn’t change the fact that it’s still glorifying and celebrating death. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that … more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

Now though we will all experience a physical death unless Christ comes first, we have passed – spiritually – from death to life when we give our lives to Christ. Even when we die, our spirit will live forever with Him. He has conquered death on the Cross. His Word says, “Where, O grave, is thy victory? Where, O death, is thy sting?” (See Corinthians 15:55.) Clearly, death is not something to celebrate and parade about, it’s been conquered by the blood of Jesus. We are to celebrate life – our life in Christ – not death!

BEWARE: DECOR TRENDS

There are a lot of other things that symbolize pagan religions like Buddha statues and a lot of things that have to do with the Buddhist religion are very popular in household decor today. You see symbols of zen and New Age all over the place. Our culture has glossed these things over so that they seem to promote this idea of tranquility, peace, harmony with nature, but in reality, these things represent a demonic stronghold, a false religion that has deceived millions of people throughout the centuries. Why would we decorate our house with those things and celebrate those things in our daily lives?

BEWARE: HOROSCOPES, FORTUNE-TELLING, AND GAMES THAT CELEBRATE DARKNESS

There are also horoscopes, which again seem harmless and fun, but they’re basically a form of fortune-telling, and they allow the enemy to access your heart and your mind.

BEWARE: ENTERTAINMENT THAT GLORIFIES DEATH

Probably one of the biggest areas that many of us stumble over are books, movies, and TV shows that glorify demonic spiritual activity. They become stumbling blocks for us all the time.

Several years ago a lot of women were really into the Twilight books and movies, and if you study the history of vampirism you realize how absolutely satanic and horrific it is! Probably the biggest danger of some of the newer movies or books like Twilight in relationship to things like vampires is that they make the evil character into a desirable hero rather than an evil villain. A few years ago, when those books and movies were popular, you would even see magazine covers promoting this “vampire” as somebody who was desirable and attractive to women. The line between good and evil is being so blurred today by Hollywood, and we know things are twisted when something so dark and so demonic becomes the object of desire and becomes the hero of a movie.

You can’t exclude light-hearted or funny movies, music, and books from this area as well. Even if those shows seem light-hearted and they make light of things like witchcraft, fortune telling, and things like that – they might seem ridiculous and maybe you don’t take them seriously, but they still portray messages of darkness and ungodly spiritual power. If you’re going purposely to watch these things, or allowing these things into your life, or reading these books thinking, Oh, it’s not a big deal. It has a little bit of weird, spiritual stuff in it that I’m going to overlook that. You’re really opening yourself up to the enemy to have access to gain territory in your heart, mind, and soul.

CLEANING OUT THE DARK CORNERS OF OUR LIVES

I would encourage you if you’ve been participating in these things, if you have decor in your house, if you have jewelry, clothing, or other accessories that glorify death or false religions, I would encourage you to ask God to forgive you and to cleanse those things out of your life. If you’ve been reading and participating in ungodly books that glorify darkness or watching movies or shows that glorify darkness, I would encourage you to make those things right with God, cleanse those things out of your life, and take back any ground that you may have given to the enemy by your participation in those things.

One time I was counseling with a young woman who was constantly having nightmares, and she was plagued by fear. Casually, one day she mentioned that she had just come from a movie, and it was a horror movie that she had just watched, a really dark movie about an ax-murderer or something like that. I began talking to her about it, and she didn’t even realize that watching those kinds of movies could have any correlation with the fact that she’s having all of these dark dreams and nightmares. I encouraged her to not only cut those things out of her life but to repent and ask God to cleanse her from her participation in those movies. As she did, those nightmares and that depression and everything that she was struggling with went away because the enemy no longer had that access point into her life.

One of the ways to live a truly, God-honoring life is by allowing Him to completely transform us from the inside out and cleanse the darkness out of our lives. It’s not about becoming a nun or living as a hermit in the backwoods somewhere and cutting ourselves off from this world. It is very possible to be in this world but not of this world. We can walk into a store and turn our eyes away from the things that are dark. We can avoid the books, the movies, the clothing, the paraphernalia that is celebrating darkness. We can be lights in this dark world by submitting ourselves completely to His transforming work, taking every thought captive, and meditating on the things of Light rather than darkness, then we truly can become His lights that shine in the midst of a perverse generation as it says in Philippians (see Philippians 2:15).

When we yield ourselves to become the holy, undefiled dwelling place of the most High God, He makes His home within us. When we allow Him to remove everything that is carnal, dark, sinful, or selfish that stands in the way of us being His light, that’s when we are able to live a strong and fortified, victorious Christian life unharmed and unhampered by the enemy.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

This week I encourage you to fix your eyes upon Jesus, cleanse anything of darkness out of your life, and celebrate the life of Jesus Christ. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, for more on this topic, please visit us at setapartgirl.com and consider subscribing to our magazine which is a bi-monthly, ad-free resource that can strengthen your walk with Christ with every page that you read! I pray that you have a blessed and Christ-centered week!

http://setapartgirl.com/podcasts/dabbling-in-darkness