“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. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:8-17
Recently my small group had a discussion about how Christians are to respond to Halloween. Traditionally a pagan holiday, and mostly centered around evil and darkness, Halloween is a pretty controversial topic in the Church. Our discussion that night made for some great, thought-provoking conversation, but wherever each of us landed on the Halloween-celebration spectrum, we all agreed on one thing — the importance lies in the motive of our hearts; are we Gospel-driven or self-focused? It all boils down to this.
If you are a believer and you have never evaluated your views on Halloween, I challenge you to pause and ask the Lord what He thinks of your celebrations. However, I encourage you to not just stop at Halloween. The Lord says continually throughout Scripture to, “Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5-7), and to “examine yourselves (2 Corinthians 13:3-5). As Christians, we must daily ask ourselves what parts of our lives look like Christ, and what parts don’t look like Him at all. Am I striving to bring God glory with my daily life?
As Ephesians 5 says, we are children of light. How are we shining light to the world on a daily basis? How can we be a beacon of light in this dark, broken world? What parts of my own life are in the dark, and what needs to be brought to light? Am I rushing just to get through my day or am I “making the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:16)?
Truly, our Halloween celebrations are just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to the importance of evaluating ourselves before the Lord. What matters is our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). Do we position ourselves to be in a spirit of worship and obedience in everything that comes our way? Are we willing to be obedient to the Lord no matter what He says because we know His way is best? Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know me heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
As Halloween quickly approaches, it gives us a great opportunity to look closely at ourselves, and to take a step back to see why we do what we do. But don’t let this searching stop there, allow the Holy Spirit to invade your life with His light, and as He searches the depths of your heart, He will make you more and more in the likeness of your Savior. “They who looked to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5
(If you are interested in some of the articles that helped add wisdom to our small-group discussion on Christians and Halloween, check out these great resources: God, Frankensteins and More, and Trick or Treat? )