Today is Halloween, and I imagine most teachers are not looking forward to the “sugar-high” most students will be experiencing on Monday! The only thing worse is when Halloween falls on a school day. I can remember years ago when we used to let everyone dress up. I have to admit it was fun, but I’m not sure much learning actually occurred. Thank goodness most communities have opted for fall festivals as an alternative. Everyone seems to enjoy this holiday, which is now considered the second most popular holiday behind Christmas.
I’ve always been a bit conflicted when it comes to Halloween. It originated as an ancient Celtic festival to ward off ghosts, and it is often associated with evil. For many, though, Halloween has morphed into a light-hearted day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, donning costumes, and eating treats. When you have children, you have to decide fairly quickly whether or not you will celebrate Halloween. We, like many parents, chose to focus on the fun aspects of the holiday rather than reject it altogether. We weren’t interested in the tricks, just the treats!
As I reflected on the phrase, Trick or Treat, my thoughts shifted away from Halloween. Instead of viewing Trick or Treat as an annual event in October, I started applying the idea to the spiritual realm, almost a good versus evil analogy. Satan, the father of lies, uses tricks to derail us while God, the promise keeper, desires to shower us with treats. Of course, we all know it isn’t as simple as a cute little analogy. I don’t mean to be a killjoy, but this is serious business and should not be taken lightly.
Let’s start with the worst of it – the tricks! The Bible says we are to be watchful. The devil is our adversary. He is the ultimate trickster, often disguising himself as light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Satan not only wants to deceive us, but he also desires to devour us! (I Peter 5:8). His tricks aren’t funny; they are deadly.
Have you ever fallen prey to one of Satan’s tricks? Do any of these sound familiar?
· Planting seeds of doubt by questioning God’s truth.
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” Genesis 3:1
· Contradicting God’s truth.
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. Genesis 3:4
· Altering God’s truth to sound good and seem reasonable.
“God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
· Appealing to natural desires and the need for self-satisfaction.
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.Genesis 3:6a
Satan is tricky. What happened to Eve can happen to all of us. Think about it. Has there ever been a time you knew God was asking you to do something or NOT do something and instead of obeying immediately, you questioned His voice and reasoned yourself out of obedience? If we are not careful, we can take Scripture out of context to justify our actions. It’s a slippery slope.
Never forget – Satan lies. He spoke the first lie ever told, and he hasn’t quit lying since. Don’t let him trick you! Anything, and I mean anything, that is contradictory to the Word of God is a lie! So many people today are living defeated lives because of Satan’s deception.
God, on the other hand, desires to shower us with treats. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The ultimate treat was the gift of eternal life through Jesus (John 3:16), and the treats keep coming when we choose to seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).
Using the term treat is appropriate for a Halloween message, but somehow the term just doesn’t seem significant enough. So, rather than think of the treats God offers, let’s consider His promises. The Bible is full of promises – promises that extend way beyond the idea of treats. We don’t want to miss this. Living an abundant and victorious life includes believing in and holding on to God’s promises. Here are just a few.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
In addition to these verses, God promises to…
· give you rest.
· answer your prayers.
· work everything out for your good.
· protect you.
· free you from sin.
· love you.
Scholars claim there are between 7,000-8,000 promises in the Bible. Talk about treats! Why in the world would we settle for Satan’s tricks when God’s treats are so available and bountiful? For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Just like Halloween, life is full of tricks and treats. Will we fall for Satan’s tricks, or will we prepare ourselves to received God’s treats? I hope when you eat that Snickers tonight, you will be reminded of the treats God has in store for you!
Trick or Treat!