Last Sunday evening I saw a number of children dressed in Halloween costumes calling at houses for “trick or treat”. Some of the children were very young and were accompanied by their parents. It was the first dark evening after the clocks had been put back and these little ones and their parents were identifying themselves with the power of evil. No doubt they saw it as just innocent fun, but it is a sign of the spiritual naivety of our society.
The power of evil is very real. The Bible tells us that the reason why Jesus Christ came into this world was “to destroy the devil’s work.” The devil opposed Jesus from the moment of his birth until he died on the Cross. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry he experienced a period of intense temptation by the devil over a period of 40 days. Jesus triumphed over the devil during this period and throughout his life. By his death on the Cross he won the decisive victory over sin, death, hell and the devil.
The evidence for the devil’s work is only too plain in our society today. Faced with the many temptations he presents to us we fail again and again. The lives of many people are spoilt, and even destroyed, by drink and drugs, greed, gambling, sexual immorality, violence and terrorism. At every point the moral law of God is denied and undermined and the tragic consequences in people’s lives of this new “freedom” is only too easy to see. We are told that there is no need to say no to any pleasure we want and the late night scenes in city centres bear eloquent testimony to the consequences. Nothing the devil offers is free. He seeks only to steal, kill and destroy.
By contrast, the power of Jesus Christ transforms lives. In the Gospels we read of a man called Legion who was possessed by many evil spirits. He had succumbed to the powers of evil and they were destroying his life. He lived in the tombs and cried out day and night, cutting himself with stones. No one could subdue him or help him.
One day Jesus came to where Legion was and commanded the evil spirits to come out of him. Legion’s life was transformed as Jesus set him free. Jesus still sets people free today by destroying the devil’s work in our lives.