ollywood knows there is an undeniable appetite for supernatural content. And since it has long abandoned the God of Scripture, there is an explosion of media featuring vampires, dragons, ghosts, fairies, witches, and sorcerers.
Our children are being educated about, enchanted by, and encouraged to develop “friendships” with other-worldly spirit beings. If not God or His holy angels, who are these spirit beings?
Evil spiritual forces are real.
Before God created the world and mankind, He created angels. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation . . . and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7 NIV).
When the angel Lucifer grew prideful in his own splendor and refused to worship God, he and the other rebellious angels were cast out of heaven (see Ezek. 28:11-19; Isa. 14:12-15; Jude 6).
Today, Satan and his fallen angels war against God’s people. “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” (Eph. 6:12 NIV).
In the Gospels, we read many accounts of Jesus Christ freeing people from tormenting demons (see Mark 1:23-27; Luke 9:42; 11:14). Jesus commissioned His disciples, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8 NIV).
Evil spirits work to influence, seduce, entrap, depress, cripple, distract, frustrate, confuse, and deceive people so they will not serve God.
Believers are forbidden from participating in the occult.
In preparing His people to enter the Promised Land, God commanded them to abstain from divination, witchcraft, mediums, and spiritism (Deut. 18:9-11). “Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord” (v. 12 NIV).
Respected pastor and theologian John Pipe defined the occult as “everything from the most blatant Satan worship to the most commonly accepted use of horoscopes. As examples I would mention séances, necromancy, and all forms of communicating with the dead; PSI, ESP, and all forms of supra-natural psychic phenomena; real magic (as opposed to simple sleight-of-hand tricks), fortune-telling, the casting of spells, wearing of charms, the use of Ouija boards, astrology, et cetera.”
Satan looks for entryways into our lives and homes. Any of these occult practices is an open invitation to demonic influence and oppression.
Do we want homes that are pure and not an easy target for Satan’s attacks? We must avoid the occult in all its forms.
Easy, you think, I am a believer in Christ. I do not participate in any of these activities. But are you deriving entertainment from them?
Many Christians are welcoming spiritual influences into their minds and homes through media that portray sorcery as entertainment.
As believers in Christ, we know not to participate in casting spells or summoning the spirits of the dead. But many have been allured by the culture to consume a steady diet of dark supernatural content. There is a widespread fascination with witchcraft, fantasy, and the spirit world in television and movies.
When entering the children’s section of a large bookstore chain recently, I was greeted with shelves filled with ominous covers and plot lines revolving around witchcraft, spells, plagues, vampires, dragons, horror, zombies, and ghosts. These books were featured as “favorite” literature for children of all ages.
The apostle Paul wrote: “I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (1 Cor. 10:20-22 NIV).
Disney XD’s Yo-kai Watch is an animated show for children centering on consulting and summoning evil spirits. This description is from Yo-kai Watch’s page in Wikipedia:
The Yo-kai [which means “spirit”] Whisper gives Nate a special device known as the Yo-kai Watch. Using this, Nate is able to identify and see various different Yo-kai (spirits) that are haunting people and causing mischief. . . . Nate and Whisper start befriending all sorts of Yo-kai which Nate can summon to battle against more ill-intentioned Yo-kai that happen to live in his town, causing terrible trouble. He also goes on adventures around the town with his Yo-kai partners to help his human friends deal with their various problems often caused by other Yo-kai.
Meanwhile, the Yo-kai Watch video game “is a role-playing video game where the player searches for . . . and befriends Yo-kai by giving them a food that they like before, beginning, and/or during battle, and after defeating the Yo-kai it approaches the player character and gives them its Yo-kai Medal, allowing it to be summoned at will.”
To befriend an evil spirit clearly meets the definition of sorcery, and we must steer our children away from such actions.
Disney Channel’s popular Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess premiered on Disney Channel in 2012 and became the top cable TV telecast of all time for children from 2 to 5 years old. Sophia wears an amulet, which is “a small object worn as a charm against evil spirits; a charm often inscribed with a magic incantation or symbol to aid the wearer or protect against evil (as disease or witchcraft).” This is not the type of jewelry I want my little girls to wear! But now toddlers are being introduced to and allured by the basics of witchcraft through this charming animated character.
Elena of Avalor is a spinoff of Sophia. It follows the story of an “adventurous teenager who saves her kingdom from an evil sorceress and must now learn to rule as crown princess until she is old enough to be queen. Elena also looks to a spirit animal named Zuzo, and a trio of magical flying creatures called Jaquins (a race of winged jaguars) for guidance and support. Zuzo, a mysterious and wily spirit animal acts as a link between the human and spirit world” (Disney Channel).
The Harry Potter novels and movies are viewed by some as purely explorations in fantasy and imagination, a captivating ride into a mysterious world. But what if, as shown from Scripture, the fantasy or “imagined impossible reality” is an expression of the spiritual world in which we live?
Evil spirits are real, and man’s desire to control his surroundings through knowledge, manipulation, or power obtained from a higher supernatural source is sorcery. Think tarot cards, levitation, spells, crystal balls, astrology, psychic powers, and crystals.
To indulge our minds in the world of Potter’s wizardry is to be entertained by sorcery, which the Lord calls an abomination.
Shall we feast our minds on the forbidden spells, chants, and powers of the dark world? Is this what we want our children to explore and enjoy? In the name of literature, we can and must select stories glorifying light rather than darkness.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable─if anything is excellent or praiseworthy─think about such things” (NIV).
In many tales throughout history, such as The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, the antagonist is a witch. She represents our ultimate enemy, Satan, and embodies the forces of evil to be overcome. But in the new sorcery-based literature, the protagonists and heroes are engaging in witchcraft. Whether called “good” or “white” magic, there is no such thing according to Scripture. All witchcraft is a means to contact the spiritual world apart from God and therefore is of dark origin.
We should make a clean break from all supernatural content that is not of Christ.
“A number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily” (Acts 19:19-20 ESV).
Just as the early Christians took drastic measures, we need to clean house. Clean out your child’s bookshelves and viewing queue, as well as the family DVR, of dark supernatural content. We must be discerning and willing to purify our homes as we seek Christ.
The cure for our children’s spiritual hunger is to know and engage Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
The desire to connect with the supernatural is evidence of our creation by a relational God. We were made by Him, for Him, and to know Him. The challenge is far more than simply guarding our children from indulging their minds in sorcery-based entertainment. Our role as parents is to lead them to fill their hungry hearts (like our own) on the spiritual feast of Christ and His kingdom.
Share Christian worship music with them. Whether at home or while driving, model what it means to sing praises to God. Worship lifts and fills the heart.
Pray together as a family. In moments of family stress, times of celebration, and the everyday mealtimes and bedtimes, teach children that prayer is like breathing. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16 ESV).
As a family, create opportunities to extend hospitality to friends and neighbors. Allow your children to participate in inviting, planning, decorating, and serving your guests. Build Christ’s kingdom together through opening your home and feasting together with others.
Offer God’s truths in many formats. To capture the hearts and imaginations of your children, choose beautifully illustrated Bible storybooks that tell the stories of godly heroes. And give your children the gift of memorizing life-giving Scriptures as a family.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good” with your children (Ps. 34:8). Testify about your connection with Christ, lead them in personal prayers, and invite them into your own faith struggles and triumphs. Let the Holy Spirit fill your heart each day, and help your children develop this lifelong practice. Then there will be no room for the darkness of this world.
Jesus said, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24 NIV).