I have a quick background story. It is related to the topic, I promise! My dad was the head football coach for the high school I attended. I grew up – even before I got to high school – going to, not only all our games, but as many of our opponent’s games as possible.
We took copious notes; wrote down their plays and looked for patterns. If we could, we tried to figure out which signs from the sideline coach resulted in which plays on the field. We studied our rivals, so we’d know how to beat them.
How to Have a Healthy Hope and a Happy Heart as Halloween Hastens: Truth 2
The Halloween season gives us a glimpse into the playbook of our opponent.
The enemy of God has a strategy. He lies. He masquerades. He throws suspicion in one direction so he can hide in plain sight in the other. He does his best to convince us that he is make-believe, safe to play with, and poses no danger.
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”John 8:44
“How?” you might ask. “How do we see our rival running these plays at Halloween?” I think there are many answers, but here are some examples:
Evil hides behind his make-believe persona. Devil depictions with pointy ears and pitchforks make him more of a cartoon character than something real. On the flipside, he is not a mangled monster either. These disguises look nothing like his actual appearance, so his masquerade is effective. He is much more likely to appear angelic, if we actually encounter him. (Click here for more from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada)
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”2 Corinthians 11:14
He hides in plain sight
Because we contrive our own frightening experiences in Haunted Houses and Corn Mazes and such, we tend to think of evil as man-made this time of year. We seek those spine chilling moments and assume they’ve been manifested by human ingenuity. We don’t foster a healthy hesitancy toward wickedness. This allows Satan to prowl about in the open and simply blend in, hiding in plain sight.
The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming throughout the earth, going to and fro on it.’Job 1:7
He deceives people into thinking he’s harmless
Halloween décor can be grotesque and repulsive, but it is not always. There are cute little “ghosties” with friendly faces and smiling jack-o-lanterns and winsome witches in white. They make evil palatable and approachable, even for kids. In this way, people are lulled into carelessness and deceived into thinking of Satan as harmless. I, personally, think this is his favorite play, and he is running it unopposed.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”1 Peter 5:8
At Halloween, we get an opportunity to glance into the enemy’s playbook. We get to watch the patterns he repeats. We see how he tries to deceive and where he is successful. And just like my dad’s football team, we can defend against, and beat, an enemy whose strategy we understand.
When I realize that the Halloween season provides an opportunity to gain better insight into the opponent of my King, I anticipate it differently. I find that I can maintain a healthy hope and a happy heart because the enemy is showing his hand and I’m ready to take notes.
What plays do you see him running, this Halloween or at any other time you’ve seen through his deception? Do the strategies I’ve listed shed light on anything you’ve experienced? Do you believe it is all just innocent fun? I’m anxious to hear your thoughts!
“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.”Ephesians 6:12
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.Ephesians 5:8-11