FIRST-PERSON: Halloween's bony finger of fear
HOBBS, N.M. (BP) -- As a mother of four young children I dread the month of October.
Life becomes incredibly inconvenient because I cannot even make routine shopping trips without being confronted with "holiday cheer." I'm not referring to the beautiful scenes of fall or the already visible Christmas decorations.
It's the bony finger of Halloween which seems to point at me as I round every aisle.
Our culture celebrates fear. We have made it cute. We even have entire stores devoted to a holiday that thrives on fear. This is by no means an exposé on the merits or demerits of participating in Halloween activities; rather, it is a seasonal opportunity to shed light on one of the devil's oldest tactics.
What we have minimized is actually one of the sharpest arrows in his quiver.
I have experienced the profound effect that fear can have on a life. By tracing my history as a young person and even into adulthood, God graciously has revealed the stranglehold that fear had on my heart. Insecurity, guilt and irrational fears prevented me from fully embracing the identity that I have been given in Christ. Satan used fear to bring me to points of mental anguish over issues from which the Gospel unburdens me.
Do you struggle with fear? Before answering too quickly, think about your life. Are you different in public than in private? Are there issues you would rather avoid discussing with your spouse? What are you willing to do in order to feel loved or accepted? What motivates these behaviors? An honest assessment of your heart may reveal that the enemy has pierced you with a subtle yet devastating arrow. It is one of his most potent forms of hostility toward humanity.
The good news is that we have a more powerful tool for defeating his advances. We have the Gospel.
Throughout Scripture we are invited to see God as our refuge. He is constantly reminding the Israelites to rely on His might to defeat their enemies. David cries out to Him in moments of weakness and fear. New Testament writers plead with the early church to be bold for the good news of Jesus Christ because of the power of God to protect them. God is called our rock, our fortress, our shelter, a protective husband over His bride, and a gentle shepherd who cares for His flock. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and a sound mind." God reveals in His Word that because of His infinite and unstoppable love for us, we have nothing in this world to fear.
Satan's power lies in the art of suggestion. He presents questions to the hearts of believers which prey on our unspoken and sometimes subconscious fears. Brothers and sisters, when the deceiver knocks at the door of your heart with a delivery laced in fear I encourage you to battle him with the truth.
The truth is that you are more broken than even you recognize, but in Christ you are more forgiven, accepted and renewed than you could imagine. You have the power of the Holy Spirit residing in you, which means there is no temptation from which you cannot turn, no guilt left from your mistakes and no need to follow the latest cultural trend in order to matter.
Our fears are all as unique as we are, but they all have one answer, Jesus Christ. His sacrifice on our behalf means that we now have access to God's power in a personal way if we will rely on His strength instead of our own.
So as you are shopping this season and are bombarded by ugly decorations, allow them to remind you of the love of Christ and His power to perfectly cast out all fears.