By Brenda Black
I buried my head between tall, broad shoulder blades and wrapped my arms around my friend's waist. With one eye tightly closed and the other slitted just enough to capture a peek at my feet, I shuffled through the haunted house, trembling and weak. I was about 15 years old. I haven't entered another since.
I paid for a ten minute tour through garish costumes, dark rooms, spooky sounds and silicone cobwebs. For what? A racing heart, sweaty palms. Shivers and shakes and creepy crawly memories. Back then, a fake scare for a teenager may have been the cool thing come the end of October. Today, I know better that true evil lurks year round and fake blood and rubber masks are a tame imitation for real demonic presence. Instead of cowering in fear, now I come out fighting with both eyes wide open and the name of Jesus as my spear. That's how I say “Boo!” to the enemy.
Since his fall to earth, Satan has attempted to fool mankind into thinking that evil is either overwhelming and impossible to defeat or just kid's play like a seasonal haunted house and is really no threat at all. Both are lies! We can have the power of Christ to immobilize the devil. But we need to remember that we are messing with fire. To prove my point, I give you Acts 19. This ghost story reveals the difference between those who fight fire with faith and those who flee in fear when they stand against Satan in their own strength.
“God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. Handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, 'In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.'
“The evil spirit answered them, 'Jesus I know and Paul I know about, but who are you?' Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” (Acts 19:11-13, 15-16)
When false witnesses attempt to call out evil spirits in the name of Jesus, demons offer no respect. It takes more than empty magical phrases to combat a supernatural enemy. It takes faith and an I.D. I want to make demons tremble at the mention of my name, don't you. We may not have the particular anointing that enabled Paul to work such miracles, but if you know Christ as Savior, you have the same Holy Spirit power to conquer evil.
Don't deceive yourself though. The Father of Lies knows a liar. If you plan to whip the devil, you had better be wearing God's true armor and not just playing the part. You think about that for a minute. Is your heart racing? Are your palms sweaty? Satan has an army here on earth that operates covertly in the spiritual realms. Drug addicts catch glimpses of them in their chemically-induced hazes. Murderers hear their whispers of hate. Fornicators are wooed by their sensual lies. Don't kid yourself for one minute if you think the devil isn't at work in the real world. Nearly 80 times, Scripture talks about demons or demon possession. It's real! And Satan and his legions will destroy you if he doesn't recognize Jesus Christ in your life because he is the only One who has authority over this fallen angel. He cowers to no one but the Lord himself who defeated death at the cross. But, oh to the Holy One, he completely must submit.
“Then [Jesus] went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.
“In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 'Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!'
“'Be quiet!' Jesus said sternly. 'Come out of him!' Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
“All the people were amazed and said to each other, 'What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!' And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.” (Luke 4:31-37)
Fear God if you don't want to be afraid of the devil. With the Great I Am in your corner, every slimy, sinful, slithering ghoul must go when we we say “Boo! In the name of Jesus!”