Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Perils of Supernatural Appeal

Our walk began innocently enough but soon took a dark turn. “In this building the night before she was to marry a much older man, a 17-year-old woman hung herself.”

Our tour guide then embellished some phenomena cited by later inhabitants: a slamming door, a shimmering light, and eerie sounds in an otherwise empty dwelling. Her captivating stories enchanted eager tour participants and compensated them for their money.

Throughout the tour, Debbie and I heard similar stories with words such as spirit, energy, paranormal, and psychic. This wasn’t what we’d signed up for. We learned some intriguing history of the city, but our first “ghost tour” left us disillusioned.

My disappointment had nothing to do with the warm and knowledgeable attendant, the comfortable evening, or the respectful group. Instead, I was disenchanted with the monetization of our God-given appetite for spiritual connection. Furthermore, the experience reminded me that spirituality without God infiltrates every fabric of society.

I coach youth on an Internet chat service where I’ve witnessed firsthand how counterfeit religion has deceived the unsuspecting. People are thirsty for truth but don’t know where to find it. Several teenagers with whom I chatted were entangled in Wicca. Despite their cries for help, they resisted learning about the only truth that could set them free: a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

“All of us used to be just as they are, our lives expressing the evil within us, doing every wicked thing that our passions or our evil thoughts might lead us into. We started out bad, being born with evil natures, and were under God’s anger just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy; he loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, he gave us back our lives again when he raised Christ from the dead—only by his undeserved favor have we ever been saved” (Ephesians 2:3-5 TLB).

It pays to have a “healthy disrespect” for the occult. Dabbling in it only invites trouble. Its intrigue and its practices are Satan’s cauldron in which he brews chaos and confusion while erecting barriers to the Light. The Bible is clear on such matters.

Isaiah 7-8 contrasts divine revelation with seeking to know the future through other means. Ahaz, king of Judah, feared nearby foes and considered aligning with Assyria to protect his kingdom. God sent Isaiah to tell him his fears were unfounded and he should stand firm in the faith. Isaiah’s second communiqué was the prophecy of the coming Messiah (Isaiah 7:14). If God were to deliver the Messiah through the nation of Judah, then surely He would protect them.

When God silently tested His people, the uncertainty tempted them to seek guidance from the occult. Knowing this, Isaiah offered this admonition in Isaiah 8:19-20 (TLB):

“So why are you trying to find out the future by consulting witches and mediums? Don’t listen to their whisperings and mutterings. Can the living find out the future from the dead? Why not ask your God? ‘Check these witches’ words against the Word of God!’ he says. ‘If their messages are different than mine, it is because I have not sent them; for they have no light or truth in them.’”

It’s wise to stay alert because deception abounds even in what seems harmless. We have an enemy who seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8), to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Let’s thwart his schemes by taking up spiritual armor and surrendering no ground, for our battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).

Copyright © 2019 Tim Bishop, used with permission.

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