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Halloween, the Election, and the Sway of the Wicked One - Shepherd of Hope

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. – 1 John 5:19

 

Halloween and politics are not so different. Both are deceptive. Both use masks. Both are scary. How should we respond? We need to follow the light of God’s revelation. 1 John 5:19 states, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” That is an apt verse for Halloween as well as for politics. It’s important for us to know the truth when the veil of deception descends. Halloween and politics can intoxicate us. They can confuse our thinking and destabilize us spiritually. They can cause us to forget who we are. They can make us act like a stumbling drunk swaying into oncoming traffic. That is dangerous.

There are two groups of people. One group is aware, one unaware of who they are. Christians know they are of God. John was inspired to write about our fellowship with God. He wrote of the fullness of joy that comes from that relationship (1 John 1:3-4). If we walk in the light of God’s word we learn how to be cleansed from our sin by the blood of Jesus (1:7; compare Psalm 119:105).

John wrote that godly obedience is a fruit of fellowship with God (2:3-4). The supreme commandment to obey is to love (2:5, 7-11). To love is to live like Jesus (2:6). To love like Jesus means we aren’t attached or in love with the things of this world. We love God supremely (2:15-17). We are aware of and thankful for the incredible love God has bestowed on us (3:1). Living in this loving relationship with God in Christ enables us to have victory over life dominating sins (3:6-9). Love in the believer is evidence of spiritual life and knowing God (4:7-12, 16-21). Such love should permeate every facet of our Christian life.

With God comes discernment (2:20-21, 26-27; 4:1). We are enabled to discern those things which oppose Christ (2:18-19). Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” (3:8b). If Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil it’s inappropriate for children of God to be associated with them in any way (3:10-21). The devil attempts to instill hate. Jesus instills love. Children of God discern the two.

The Holy Spirit brings truth and light. Our discernment and the love of God come from the work of the Spirit in us (3:24; cf. also Rom. 5:5). It is the inward assuring presence of the Holy Spirit that helps us to know that we have an abiding relationship with God (4:13). He gives us identity. He is Holy. We are to be holy (e.g. 1 Pet. 1:15-16). We are a work of the Holy Spirit.

God’s discernment, love and Christlikeness are appropriated in us by faith. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (5:4). Trusting God enables us to lovingly obey God in a way that is not heavy or burdensome (5:3). When you love God, to obey Him is a joyful blessed experience. That’s because we understand how great God’s love is for us. We can’t wait to show Him how much we love and appreciate Him. “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (5:11; see 5:12). “It is finished!” (John 19:30). “Lord, what do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:6).

Such love makes God approachable. A Father who loves us so much hears us. We pray. If He hears us we can be confident this loving heavenly Father will answer us (5:14-15). This confidence opens the door to a wealth of blessing and strength to get us through life. Prayer more than politics is our power tool for life.

Such love moves us to look beyond ourselves to others lost like we once were (3:1; 5:13). That becomes our new priority. We pray for those caught in sin to repent and be saved. Sinners are separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 66:18; Hab. 1:13). They are “under the sway of the wicked one.” They are so blinded that they love their sin. They have no desire to leave their wicked ways. They promote their sinful lifestyles and belittle all objectors (e.g. Rom. 1:18-32). No one can come to the Father unless He draw them (John 6:44). The Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:8-11). That is grace. Pray for them. Love them into the Kingdom.

How can we expect those under the sway of the wicked one to behave? Based on 1 John they deny their sinfulness (1:8, 10). They are hateful (2:11; 3:17; 4:20). They love the world and the things of the world (2:13; 4:5). They oppose Christ proposing alternatives to Him as Savior and God in the flesh (2:18; 4:2-3). They are liars and deny Jesus and the Father (2:22-23). They live lifestyles of sin (3:10-13). They claim to be a part of the church but are not truly children of God (2:19). They are false prophets (4:1). We see a lot of this in political campaigns. As we look on the vicious mob of satanically swayed ones maybe we hear, “And such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11). There is hope in Jesus. Keep that in mind.

Ask an unbeliever if they are under the influence of the devil and more likely than not they will deny it. They may even deny there is a devil. The Bible states Satan, “the god of this world,” has blinded the minds of people (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan is a liar and deceiver by nature (John 8:44). He is wicked and seeks to destroy people not only physically but eternally by stealing their souls. He uses deception to do this. Our nation and its leaders are moving further away from God. Hence, it is not surprising to see so much deception in the political arena. Guess who’s behind that?

The word “wicked” is translated from the Greek term poneros. This word means, vicious, evil, hurtful, calamitous, malicious, morally corrupt, and lewd. Poneros is connected to the word ponos which means “labor.” The idea of pŏnērŏs is laboring to do evil. We could say the wicked campaign for evil. We also get the English word pornography from this word. All the filth and falsehood permeating and pouring out into the world today can be traced to the work of the wicked one. He is campaigning for evil.

People are not only dabbling in sin, but living in it, enjoying it, promoting it, intoxicated with it. It’s all part of the sway of the devil. Like a tasty morsel temptingly placed in the center of a trap. Sinful practices promise pleasure. But any pleasure sin promises is temporary and leads to death (Heb. 11:25).

Halloween is a dangerous time of deception. Ghouls, goblins, ghosts, skeletons, black cats, witches, tricks and treats are some of the “fun” indulgences we are tempted to partake in. But remember, they all have dark origins. None are a product of God’s light. That should be enough to sway us away. But still some will give in to temptation. And when someone succumbs to indulge it subtly lowers the sensitivity to discerning darkness and light. It blurs truth from error. It whispers assuringly, See, there’s nothing wrong with this.  Over time what is viewed as slight deviations from the word of God start to add up. One day, SCLAP! The trap slams shut. You’re caught in the sway of the wicked one. That which is presented as harmless isn’t as harmless as it seems. That is the nature of deception. And that is the sway of the wicked one.

This is an election year. There’s a lot of added deception going around. The “prince of the power of the air” is having a field day (Eph. 2:2). We need to be good citizens and vote. As we prepare to vote we should ask ourselves some questions. Are we choosing candidates based on a scriptural world view? “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).  Look at the party platforms. Look at the voting records.  Who promotes a biblical concept of work (2 Thess. 3:10-12). Who promotes a biblical concept of charity? (James 1:27; 5:14). Who promotes a biblical view of debt? (Prov. 22:7). Who supports the right to life of the unborn? (Ps. 139:13; Jer. 1:5). Who supports biblical monogamous heterosexual marriage? (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-25). Who supports Israel? (Gen. 12:3). Who is closest to biblical values? Vote! But before you do ask yourself, am I voting prophetically or profit-ically? How we vote will determine our bankruptcy or blessing. Think about it. Pray about it. Vote!

There’s pleasure in sin for a season. The first nibble of the cheese in the mousetrap tastes good. Rat poison is 99.99% nourishing to the rat. It’s the .01% of the poison that’s a killer. Don’t be deceived; not even a little. Know who you are. You are of God! Live for Jesus. Live out His truth. Have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, instead expose them. Represent God and His word as much as you can, and don’t be swayed by the wicked one!

 

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