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Think About It

In Ephesians 4:27, Paul warns us, “Do not give the devil a foothold.” What are some ways believers might give the devil a foothold in their lives?

What examples of occult behavior do you see prevalent in your school or community? How can you respond to this personally to bring the light of the world to the darkness around you?


A Visit with a Witch

By Elliott Ryan
Guest Writer – One of 1999's most successful horror movies was The Blair Witch Project. As a Christian, I tend to avoid films that are steeped in occult themes. But I did have to admit that the marketing of this film was ingenious.

The film tells the story of three film school students who take their cameras into the woods to film a documentary on the legend of a witch who had allegedly terrorized people in those parts for years. The three students disappeared in the woods while filming their witch hunt. The search party sent in after them never found them but they did find their cameras and their film footage of their search for the witch. The film is made up of their recovered footage.

So that was the set up. But the producers of the movie allowed rumors to circulate on the Internet that the legend of the Blair Witch was real. A "documentary" even aired on television about the legend. They interviewed people claiming to be relatives of the witch's victims, which added further credence to the myth. The movie was cast with unknown actors who weren't given an actual script. Instead they were just given the plot points of the story and notes on how they should generally react to these plot points. All of this added to the seeming realism of the movie.

Of course, it all ended up just being a clever marketing scheme to build interest in a low budget horror film starring unknown actors. There never really was a Blair Witch.

I was amazed by the willingness of people to buy into the myth. I spoke with several fellow students at my school in those days who truly thought the movie was a real documentary. Of course, I know as a believer that there really is a spiritual world and that real witchcraft is a part of that world. But I am used to seeing the world around us scoff at the supernatural. So seeing otherwise intelligent college students debate the reality of this film was interesting.

It seems in the years since then that interest in the occult has only grown. Popular television shows and movies have featured people communicating with spirits of the dead such as "Medium" and "Ghost Whisperer." There has been an increase in books dealing with the occult. And I am not just talking about the children's books that have been hotly debated on this very Web site. I am talking about books on how to actually use occult magic and cast spells. It seems more people than ever are dabbling in the occult as a way to fill the spiritual void that only a relationship with Christ can fill.

There is no such thing as the Blair Witch. But scripture makes it clear that witchcraft is real. As a child, I thought witches, like unicorns and cartoon characters, were make-believe. As long as I didn't end up in the Land of Oz, I wasn't real concerned about coming into contact with witchcraft. It turns out I was wrong.

Witches may not ride on broomsticks through the air, but Scripture says that there really is such a thing as witchcraft and that it is dangerous. In fact, we read an account in the Old Testament of how Saul, King of Israel, visited a witch.

In 1 Samuel 28, we read that Saul wanted a word from God to tell him what he should do. The Philistines were about to attack Israel. Samuel the prophet had died so Saul couldn't consult him for advice as he used to do. So he tried to get an answer from God Himself. But God wasn't talking. Saul had lost God's blessing due to sin. So he was now on his own.

With the help of some of his men, he located a witch in hopes of communicating with his dead adviser Samuel. It was difficult to find one. King Saul had run all the witches out of Israel in accordance with Scripture. This proves of course that Saul knew witchcraft was wrong. But he was so desperate to know how he should proceed that he was willing to sin to get his answer.

Once a witch was found in Endor, she was reluctant to help. Saul had put on a disguise so no one would know he was consulting a witch. So when strangers showed up at the witch's door asking her to contact the spirit of a dead prophet, she was afraid that it was a trap. She knew if she were caught practicing witchcraft, the king would have her put to death. Little did she know it was the king who was asking for her help. Saul convinced her that she would be safe. So she agreed to help.

Many people who claim to practice the occult arts today are frauds. People claiming to tell the future or communicate with the dead are usually just con artists trying to make some easy money off of people who are really seeking answers. That is despicable. But what is worse is that, according to this and several other Biblical passages, there are people who actually have powers given to them by Satan to do things like this. This witch had the ability, through an evil spirit, to talk to dead spirits. Or to evil spirits that claimed to be the spirits of the dead.

Practicing the occult opens a door for Satan and his demons. People dabble in the occult because we all have a spiritual vacuum inside of us. God created us that way so we would search for Him. But many reject Him and attempt to fulfill themselves spiritually. But while people who practice witchcraft or other occult behavior may think they are gaining power by their activities, in reality they are giving up all power in their lives to dark spiritual forces.

Horror movies and Halloween stories are made up of things like this. But we must realize that there is a real spiritual realm and that realm impacts our lives. We must fill our hearts and minds with God and His Word so Satan will not have an opening to enter our lives.

Saul's sins over the years had given the devil a foothold in his life. Once the King of Israel with God's blessing, he had now turned on God to the extent that when he cried out to God, the silence from heaven was deafening. This didn't lead him to repentance though. This led him to witchcraft and further rebellion. The witch did speak with Samuel's spirit. Samuel told her and Saul that the Philistines would be defeated. Even worse, Saul and his sons would be killed. Samuel said, "Because you did not obey the LORD..., the LORD has done this to you today. The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines" (1 Samuel 28:18-19).

Our role as Christians is first to make sure that we don’t give the devil a foothold in the same way Saul did in Old Testament Israel. Secondly, we are to take the good news of Christ to the world. With so many people around us attempting to fill their spiritual void with things that will only bring pain, not sharing Christ would be, well… un-Christlike.

Related Links:
Have you tried to fill the spiritual void in your heart with things other thing Christ? Find out why Christ is the Only One who can give you peace.

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