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There is a growing fascination with the occult and statistics show satanism and wicca to be among the fastest growing belief systems in the United States, with similar trends in other western countries.
Popular movies and books make it appear ‘cool’ to be able to cast spells or call on powers mere mortals do not possess. Add to this the growing fascination with tarot cards, Ouija boards, palm readers and psychic hotlines and we have a picture of a growing percentage of people experimenting with the spirit world.
Satan is dismissed as a creation of “religion” to scare people into submission and participating in the Wicca or Gothic culture is viewed as simply an expression of personal taste. However, if we believe the Bible, Satan is not only very real and powerful, but God clearly commands us not to get involved with him or the occult in any way.
Satan was originally created as “Lucifer,” which means “light bringer.” At some point he chose to rebel against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-15). When this sin took place, Lucifer, whose name was then changed to Satan (which means “adversary”), convinced a number of the angels to rebel with him against God. Together they fought God and lost. Satan and the rebelling angels, now known as demons, have been restrained here on earth since that time (Job 1:7; Revelation 12:3-4). Instead of being the “light bringer”, Satan came to be known as a ruler of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).
Even though they were defeated by God, the demons have not given up their goal of trying to destroy whatever God creates. They have worked feverishly since the creation of man to destroy mankind, as we can see by the example of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-6).
Neither Satan nor the other demons can forcibly take control of a human being against his or her will, as some people fear, but that does not mean these evil spirits are powerless. We can, whether we mean to or not, invite demonic influence into our minds.
When Israel came into the Promised Land, God warned them not to allow anyone to practice witchcraft, cast spells or try to talk with the dead (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). The reason for this prohibition is that by involving ourselves in these practices, we open up our minds to the direct influence of the demon world. There is an added danger if we also give up control of our minds through the abuse of alcohol and drugs.
In Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) we are told: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” In Matthew 4 we read Satan even tried to get Jesus Christ to fall for his perverted reasoning. After showing Him all the kingdoms of the earth and their wealth and power, Satan said, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).
Perhaps the most powerful way in which Satan influences human beings is through his power to broadcast attitudes. He is described as the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). This seems to be a reference to his ability to transmit attitudes and tempting thoughts. Temptation worked effectively against Adam and Eve, and it can work just as effectively against you and me!
The apostle James gives Christians very solid instruction to fight against Satan and his powerful evil influence: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8). We must come to know God through prayer and Bible study and learn to think like He does. We also need to remove ourselves from situations where there are activities involving Satan and his demons.
Even though we cannot see it, the spirit world is very real and it is becoming quite popular with many people, young and old alike. Music, movies, books and magazines make these practices seem all the more appealing. But you do not have to join them. If you have been involved, you can remove yourself from it and draw closer to Almighty God with His help.