[I presented this post last year (2011). Instead of writing a new one, I decided to repost what I wrote last year, with a change at the end. Enjoy!]
For years, I have attempted to communicate the essence and importance of God’s grace. His grace is powerful and is able to completely transform lives.
In many circumstances, one of the “opposites” of grace is legalism. Life must be lived according to rules, rather than heart transformation. This is what leads to apparent change on the outside, but very little change on the inside of a person’s life.
My children are young and are learning more and more about what we believe as a family. I told one of my kids that Halloween represents many things that we do not believe in. Because of this, I ended up with a child in tears!
Think about this: my child was in tears, not because they understand Halloween, or because they “love” Halloween, or because they agree with what Halloween represents. They were in tears because they like to dress up!
Don’t all kids like to dress up?
Either way, after the tears subsided, I had the opportunity to share with my kids what we believe regarding Halloween. Here is my attempt to explain it to the rest of us.
I ask you one thing: before casting judgment, read the WHOLE POST. I pray that you enjoy!
Halloween is bad.
It currently represents many things that go contrary to what we believe. It carries an extremely negative spiritual element and I believe causes people to NOT understand the full ramifications of what goes on in the spirit world.
It desensitizes people and makes them believe that witches/ghosts/demons/etc are just games to be played, rather than present realities that carry real power.
Ephesians 6:12 states,
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
With all of that said, I believe that something else is also true.
You and I are bad.
We are filled with all sorts of evil desires fueled by selfishness and pride. As humans we look at ourselves as our own gods, believing that we are the ones who control our futures and our destinies.
David says in Psalm 14:3,
“But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one! ”
That is not good.
BUT, God chose to come to earth in human flesh, in order to give His life as a payment for ours, and to give us the opportunity to be redeemed by Him.
And, He has redeemed me. All of me. My evil heart, my bad desires, my concern only for myself, my sin, and so much more. He redeemed me.
And if God redeemed me, His very own creation, is it then impossible for Him to redeem one day of the year? A day that He created?
Or, are we to believe that October 31 is forever lost, and God has no power to change it? Are we to believe that Satan has won? Are we to believe that, as Christians, we must run, hide, and stay away from this darkness, until its over?
Are we to believe that just because we ignore it for one day, it doesn’t exist the other 364 days of the year?
I think not!
If Jesus, the Perfect, Holy, and Loving God, came as the Light into this dark world to redeem us, then are we, His chosen ones, not also called to go into dark areas and spread the light of Christ?
So, let’s celebrate! Many would think that celebrating an “alternative” event on Halloween night (festival, rally, etc.) is essentially repackaging an evil tradition in a different costume.
While that is possibly true for some people, I would disagree. Is it not possible that many churches choose to be a light in the midst of darkness, promoting healthy and Jesus centered fun, allowing a dark world around us to see that there is a different option?
And this is why I am thankful for The Church On The Way/La Iglesia En El Camino. For years I participated in the planning of God glorifying events that would allow others to see that the love of God was real.
The problem with legalism in Christianity is that it doesn’t replace the enticing things of the world with a better option. It simply says “no” to the world without saying “yes” to anything else. If God truly is the best, then we should be able to offer something that is far beyond anything the world can create (and I’m not talking about a church prayer event to pray against the evils of Halloween).
We transform culture not simply by praying about it, but by engaging it and showing that there’s a better way. On this October 31st, we have the opportunity to do it.
Now, as pastor of CityLife Church / Iglesia Ciudad de Vida (Spanish), we have decided to hold an event called “Light the Night”. If you live in the North Hollywood area of Los Angeles or know anyone who does, we would love to host you at our LifeCenter with your kids as you enjoy a couple hours of fun! I have placed links to flyers (English & Spanish) at the bottom of this post.
I encourage you, whether you’re a pastor of a church or the parent of your family, to not ignore or run from Halloween. Rather, use it as an opportunity to show the greatness of our God in stark contrast to the depravity of the world.
Now, I didn’t say all of this to my kids…their attention span isn’t long enough! This post might have been been too long for some of you! But, I did explain to my kids that even though what the world celebrates is bad, we can celebrate Someone even greater and have a great time doing it.
So, their costumes are ready and we’re going to have a great time. What will my family be doing on October 31st? I think we’ll be celebrating some family birthdays!
I encourage you…if you have questions, comments, or want to write ideas about what you plan on doing, post it as a comment on this blog (your email will remain private). I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading. Let’s believe in the power of God to transform!
(Below are the links to the flyers for our children’s event tomorrow night)