While I was a missionary, one of the most common questions I got from teenagers was about horror movies. The specifics varied (depending on which horror movie they had just watched,) but the conversation would usually go something like this: “So, I saw this movie, where this guy was all possessed, and then he went into the woods, and there was a burning cross, and he caught on fire, and his head came off, and his eyes went all weird, and then he ate a baby, and grew horns, and then … [insert whatever Hollywood wants to scare you with here. You get the idea.] Could that actually happen?”
And, you know, when I really thought about it, some of it could. People do bad things. And when people invite evil spirits into their lives by the kind of lives they’re living, sometimes those spirits take the better of them. I would consider addiction to be a precursor to that kind of thing – especially if it’s an addiction to something that will really destroy your life, like pornography or meth or cocaine. And I do believe that evil spirits exist, and can do bad things if you let them. If you let them.
Because here’s the thing – and it’s what I told all those teenagers who came to me, terrified by the Halloween movie they’d watched the night before. The devil is real. Satan hates us, because he’s miserable and he’s bitter and God loves us and he hates that God loves us. But guess what – God loves us! And God is way, way more powerful than Satan will ever be. And Satan doesn’t have a body. He opted out of the whole mortal experience when he threw a tantrum and demanded God’s power. Which gives us one-up on him already: we have a body and a spirit; he only has a spirit.
Point number two: Satan knows us better than we know ourselves, because he remembers who we were before we were born – before we became mortal. That means he has an advantage, right? Wrong. Because God also remembers who we were, and He’s more than willing to help us remember and show us where we’re supposed to be going. So as long as we spend our time talking with God instead of Satan, we’ll still have a pretty good advantage.
Point number three: Jesus Christ went through everything we will have to. That includes our sins, sicknesses, weaknesses, temptations, everything. And He paid for our sins. So if we slip up, we can repent. Team God: 3. Team Satan: 0. Also, the power of God will always be stronger than the power of Satan. That’s why Satan wanted to take God’s power. God: 4, Satan: still 0.
Which leads me to this video from the life of Jesus. (Re-enactment. They didn’t have the technology back then, in case you wondered.) But here’s why I really like this adaptation. The whole clip is only just under 2 minutes long. A man is possessed. He’s a little scary. And the devils inside him start to rant and rave and carry on, when Jesus just says, “Hold thy peace, and come out of him.” And they have to. Because Jesus has way more authority than they ever will. Essentially, Jesus tells him to stop being such a drama queen, and leave the guy alone. And you know – they do. That’s why I’ve never really been scared of those over-the-top Hollywood scenes coming to life. The few times I’ve watched a movie with something like that in it, I’ve just stood there thinking, “Why don’t they just pray for help? Why don’t they go to God?” And Hollywood makes it look like that didn’t work – but it would, in real life. No matter what happens, God will always be stronger, and He will always help.
I recognize that some things require more than a simple prayer for help. We all have chronic problems or spiritual weaknesses or even flat-out addictions that require the help of a priesthood holder or some good friends or family members or even a professional therapist or recovery group. But the point is, if we’ve got Christ on our side, we will win in the end. It may take some time, and we may go through some hell on the way, but we’ll always come out on top if we’re on the same team as Jesus. And that’s where faith takes my fear away. ♥