Monthly Archives: October 2017

Who’s Afraid of Halloween?

As I sit here in my office it’s the afternoon of October 31, Halloween. Halloween has become quite a holiday. I read recently that “One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.” I’ve also noticed that Halloween decorations are becoming more numerous and elaborate. In fact, I’ve heard a radio news report declare that only Christmas surpasses Halloween in consumer dollars spent. Suffice to say that Halloween has become a major industry here in the US.

For Christians, Halloween presents a conundrum. The holiday’s focus is on ghosts, goblins, devils and fear. TV producers bring out all their macabre movies. Some of the kids going door to door dress up like zombies, vampires and the like. Pumpkins are carved with eerie faces. Store windows are littered with ghoulish decals. The theme seems to be “Let’s see how we can scare people.” Yet the Bible quotes God – over 300 times – saying “Fear not!” So often we Christians turn off the lights and hide ourselves away, not wanting to participate in the whole creepy thing!

On the other hand, the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” [I Corinthians 9:22] How can we affect the people around us if we hide away from them till the holiday is over?

Halloween has an interesting back story. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honor all saints. It became “All Saints Day” and soon began to incorporate some of the same traditions. The evening before November 1st was known as “All Hallows Eve,” and later Halloween. Over time activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns were added and then accepted as the norm.

So we have quite a mixture here of saints and ghosts, fellowship and fear. It’s comforting to think about this being harvest time with colorful leaves and a chill in the air. Yet Halloween carries scary movies, blood gorged vampires, houses tented in toilet paper, etc. etc. We want to take a stand against fear, yet we want to be light and salt to a world around us that need a relationship with their Savior. What will we do? How shall we conduct ourselves?

I guess this comes down to the place where most controversial matters must come – we’ll each have to follow our own heart. The Bible dictates that we pursue peace and let it be our umpire. What’s your heart telling you?

The Hidden Man of the Heart

I Peter 3:4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

Have you ever considered who you are inside? Speaking from a biblical perspective, the inside of us is extremely important. Jesus’ accusation for the religious bunch in His day was that they were like whitewashed sepulchers, full of dead men’s bones. They looked good outside, but they were dead inside.

Such is the case of the unsaved. A man could dress in a $1000 suit and a $200 tie after a spa treatment on his skin, and doused in a manly smelling cologne, yet be deader than a doornail on the inside!

But a man or woman who has received Jesus as Lord and Savior has been made new on the inside. [II Corinthians 5:17] They’ve been made righteous (right; as they should be). [II Corinthians 5:21] They are children of God, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus. [Romans 8:16, 17] That’s far different than being dead inside!

As born again children of God we’re now supposed to conduct our lives by who we are inside. God now lives there in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Consider this verse:

Proverbs 20:27 [AMP] The spirit of man [that factor in human personality which proceeds immediately from God] is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.

The illumination of God shines from the inside out, not vice versa. This really serves two purpose. First, it is there to lead us in the right direction for our lives. We know from reading Psalms that the Bible – the Word of God – is both a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Then secondly God’s light inside is a beacon to those around us. We grew up singing “This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.” When Jesus lived here on earth, He was he light. Now we are to be light and salt. [Ephesians 5:8]

The main principle of living from the inside is acknowledging who we are inside to ourselves. A person could be born again with all the intrinsic changes that brings, and yet live totally dependent on the “outside man.” The Bible refers to this man as “the flesh.” In our Thursday night discussion group we’ve been focusing on tapping into who we are inside. Living “outwardly” is tiring, painful and lacking in power. We want to make positive, long-lasting changes, but we try and often fail. The reason we fail is that we’re depending on the outer man who is weak and worn out. Strength comes from within!

So what should we do? There isn’t space here to go into detail, but suffice to say this: study the New Testament for scriptures that tell you who you are in Christ – who you are inside since being born again. Then think about them, meditate on them, and see yourself experiencing them. This is who you really are!