Thursday, October 30, 2014

Is Being Scared What God Desires of Us?


This time of the year always makes my heart heavy. When our children were very young, we heard a very convicting sermon on Halloween. We had to discern whether we felt God would desire us to celebrate it. After much soul searching and self study, we decided this was not a holiday honoring to God, not in its origins, not in its current practice, not in its ongoing symbols and images of death, the occult, and fear,  and not in its place as the high holy day of Satanists or Wiccans. Many argue that Easter or Christmas are no different with their pagan origins, but this is ludicrous. Christmas and Easter may have pagan origins, but they are certainly markedly different now with a God-centered celebration and purpose. The same simply cannot be said of Halloween. Violent crime on Halloween increases by 50% over other days. Animal sacrifice is a part of the Satanic worship, and many shelters close black cat adoptions in October. The very concept of "trick or treat" is not a God-honoring behavior. Vandalism increases on this dark night.There are scads of articles that explore the rationale for why Christians should not celebrate Halloween so I won't explore the reasons further. If you are interested, they are all over the internet. My thoughts today follow a deeper issue. An issue of the heart.

There is a fascination in our culture for death, horror, violence, and fear. It is a source of entertainment for many. I do not believe that this is of God. Everyone must stand before God and give an account of what they choose to do in life. God will judge each of us. My desire is to bump my decisions and actions against God's word, not what is popular or standard in our society. I strive to do that with every decision and rule I make as a parent, and as a child of God living in a fallen world. While I will fail to be perfect, as all of us will, it certainly should be the goal in living for God.

With that in mind, I ask: Does God Himself use fear and scary situations, and if so, for what purpose? And if true, shouldn't it be fine for His children to find excitement and allure in fear, horror, and violence? What's wrong with a little adrenalin rush over some innocent entertainment that involves those things? Answering this question may give insight in how we should approach Halloween, horror, and purposeful attempts to frighten oneself and others.

Clearly fear is mentioned repeatedly in the Bible. It is interesting that we are commanded to fear in fact! However, we are told to fear one thing and one thing alone: God. In fact, the fear of the Lord is "the beginning of wisdom" in Psalm 111:10, "leads to life" in Proverbs 19:23,  is a "fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death" in Proverbs 14:27,  and is "the hatred of evil" in Proverbs 8:13.

And we are told what not to fear as well. We are not to fear those "who kill the body but cannot kill the soul" in Matthew 10:28. We are not to fear man. We are not to have a spirit of fear, "but of power and love and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7). 1John 4:18 tells us "fear has to do with punishment", and not with God's desires for us to trust Him and be delivered from our fears.

Nowhere in the Bible is there any admonition to seek fear, to seek images of death, or corruption, or evil. Some people counter this statement by pointing out  that there certainly are some very frightening things in the Bible itself. The book of Revelation should strike fear in any unbeliever's heart. If we do not choose God, the day of His return and the day of Judgment will be horrific. Horror is not absent from the Bible, but horror and fear in the Bible serves only one purpose -- to point people to God.

Is that the purpose of the Walking Dead, or other terrifying movies or TV shows, or the horror books you read, or the frightful images of Halloween? If not, and I have a strong suspicion that is not the purpose, then why are you pursuing it, celebrating it, reading it, watching it? Something worth pondering.

 In the Biblical list of what we are to dwell upon in thought or deed, nowhere is fear, violence, or frightful images mentioned:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8:

As God-followers, we are to be "set apart", a holy people dedicated to God, and separate from non-believers. When the world looks at us, they should see something different. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. Our behavior should be "holy".  1 Peter 1:14-16 tells us:
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 

Holy...in all our conduct. All. Something to consider as you contemplate that book, that movie, that game, that activity that you are about to engage in.

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2 Timothy 1:7 

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Isaiah 41:10 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

1 John 4:18 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Psalm 34:4 

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Proverbs 19:23 

The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

Psalm 56:3-4 

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Psalm 111:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Romans 8:38-39 

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 43:1-3 

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Deuteronomy 7:21

You shall not be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.

Proverbs 14:27 

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

Psalm 23:1-6 

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Joshua 1:9 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

1 Peter 2:17

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Luke 12:22-24 

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Proverbs 8:13 

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Psalm 125:1 

A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Romans 6:16 

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

2 Chronicles 17:10 

And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat.

2 Kings 6:15 

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

1 John 3:6 

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.



5 comments:

  1. and the candy, did you rant about the candy? No one should send the innocents out to battle refined and processed sugars....

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    1. nope, though a valid point. a Snickers bar nearly killed me this week.

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  2. except of course for peppermint patties.

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  3. Amen sister! Wish you could put this entire blog on FB for All to see. I for one hate halloween.

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    1. thanks Judy, but it is posted on FB, in several sites. I always do. twitter too. I really appreciate your support, and yes, I feel the same way you do. i hate what our society considers entertainment and I hate halloween.

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