“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).
Just to offer some perspective, before I even get started, I am not much of a Halloween enthusiast. In fact, other than providing an excuse to overindulge in sweets, the holiday can come and go, for all I care. I add this little disclaimer, because among my brothers and sisters in Christ, I am fairly confident that there will be some who will figure me as seeking an excuse to partake, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. If I have a bias, believe me, it’s in the other direction.
If I ever lose my calendar, I will fear not, for I would know that it’s October, for no other reason than all the Halloween debates, among Christians, floating around out there in social media land. Admittedly, I have been wrestling with whether or not I should participate, or more specifically, the extent to which I should participate, for a few years now, and finally, this year, after all my wrangling and going back and forth, God hit me with another Colossians 3:17 moment: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” So as I am praying about one question, God presents me with another, which, by the way, took me way deeper. The question God posed stung and got right to the heart of the matter, as God always does. God led me back to a familiar place; God led me back to Colossians 3:17. The reality of what Paul wrote to the Church in Colossae impacts a whole lot more than whether or not I ought to celebrate in Halloween festivities… ouch! I believe God revealed that Halloween isn’t really the problem in itself; Halloween is actually symptomatic of a much bigger problem, at least for Christians.
God has already taken me to the Colossians 3:17 woodshed, in a manner of speaking before, and I use the analogy of being taken to the woodshed with the utmost gratitude. The enemy is a master deceiver, and the flesh is a more than willing accomplice, and as a result, deciding whether certain things are right or wrong can be difficult, but I have found this verse a key to resolving uncertainties. Borrowing these questions from my concordance: “Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Would this be to His glory? Could I expect His blessing to rest on it? Would I want to be doing it when He comes back again? Notice that this test should apply to the words we speak and to the deeds we do.” Yep, this goes way beyond Halloween. Paul sets the tone within the first two verses of chapter 3: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2). But do we really want to set our hearts on the things above? If we did, our lives, including my own… ouch again, would probably start looking a whole lot different… real fast, so much so, that something like whether or not to celebrate Halloween would probably appear petty by comparison.
Therefore, for the moment, my conscience can live with Matt Chandler’s response to the Halloween question in Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? 11 Ministry Leaders Answer the Question, which I will share here in part: “But to simply laugh with friends, dress up and eat candy is not wrong. However, don’t violate your conscience. If you are uncomfortable with taking part in Halloween, then feel free to abstain. God doesn’t want you to do something you cannot do in faith (Rom. 14:23), but don’t judge those who do participate out of a good conscience. Although you ‘can’ celebrate Halloween, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily ‘should’ or ‘have to.’ Allow the Lord to lead Christians in their own consciences regarding this holiday.” But as a concession to those of you who disagree, perhaps, the Lord will show me the error of my ways, as He has done so many times in the past. God is faithful like that!
Therefore, child of God, stop giving the devil so much power. His works are just as dangerous on October 30 and on November 1, as they are on October 31, especially to those lacking faith and knowledge. But to all Christians, no matter your spiritual maturity and knowledge, so long as evil people can conspire to fly airplanes into buildings, or walk into churches and shoot worshipers, or nail Saviors and apostles and other servants to crosses, none of us are entirely immune to the works of darkness, supernatural and natural alike. No self respecting demons’s going to wait until Halloween night to hop a ride home with you from your ghost adventure; Christian, you should know better! Seems to me that the debate about Halloween is yet another reminder to take our eyes off this world, off the temporal, and dispense with petty, symptomatic arguments of conscience, and instead, follow Paul’s advice to the Colossians.
By all means, please come talk to me about Halloween, or the perils of the works of darkness, the next time you slip out of a church service early to catch a ball game, assuming you didn’t skip church that day, or come see me the next time you buy an expensive sports car you don’t really need, all the while knowing that your neighbor is struggling to make ends meet. Please come talk to me then, and do bring all of your excuses and rationalized Bible verses with you; they should make for a most interesting conversation.
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