October is here! Temperature has changed, autumn is in full swing, and Halloween is right around the corner. I love this time of year, not only because I have a birthday on the seventh, but I love everything about this season. One of my favorite parts of this year is the incredible b-movies that seem to be on all the time. As you can see from the title of this blog site, I love a good b-movie, they’re always ridiculous and are great to riff on like Mystery Science Theater 3000 (If you have no idea what that is, please educate yourself on it, it is amazing). The best bad movies tend to be science fiction or horror, and there are some lessons that I have learned from them. I know, seems a bit odd, but I believe that God can use all things to teach us and show us some spiritual truths. This month I will be using some of these lessons in a Halloween themed posts.
Every horror movie does one thing very well. Yes it’s designed to spook you or gross you out, but there is one specific idea that never changes. There is always a scene where we know the house is haunted, an alien is now on earth, or the masked creep is trying to get us. Without fail, one of our heroes decides to go into that dark room, spooky forest, or open the barn door. It’s the moment that makes the viewer want to yell out, “don’t go in there!” Sadly, they never hear us, they go in and get attacked or grabbed by the creep. So often though, we make the same mistakes in our own lives, and no I don’t mean we go into the haunted house or are chased by melting men. We find ourselves believing that we are invincible, that we have it all together and we take risks we should stay so far away from. I was thinking about this and it just gave me a picture of that yelling at the TV to not go into the room, I think so often God watches us take risks like that and just begs us not to do it! I thought about this while reading in Timothy. Paul wrote to Timothy because he was a young man who was beginning his ministry. In the letters to Timothy, Paul warns him to be faithful of all things and one verse captures the core of why we need to be careful of all we do. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” That word timidity means lacking boldness or confidence, you see God wants us to stand up for what’s right. What that means is we need to choose not to go in that room, because that room is the temptation that we all face, coming in many shapes and sizes. That room is filled with nothing but death and sadness, something we were not made for, we were made with purpose and to be bold. We were made to be strong, to show love and to be focused on what matters above all things.
You are powerful in Christ.
Timothy was a young man who didn’t have years of experience under his belt, or have a fancy job that moved him up in the world. He was simply a man that wanted to follow after what God had for him, something that needs to be true for all of us. It’s easy for us to feel weak and want to prove our worth to everyone around us. We end up hurting ourselves more than doing the good that we so desperately want others to know about us, we try to show the rest of the group that we can fight the creature. We open the door and enter blindly, often without anything to protect us. This is such a foolish errand! One that I myself have too often tried to do, it could be in any part of our life. In ministry we try to prove to others that we are spiritual enough, or in school we kill ourselves trying to get a letter rather than attaining knowledge for our future. The thing is, we don’t have to prove anything, because God has already accepted us. He loves us so much that he wants to use us to do great things, and when we do have to face challenges, he gives us his word as a protection and guidance through all things. In Christ, we are powerful, we don’t have to prove our worth because God made us to be who we are. When we live in power, nothing can stop us.
We are called to love one another.
Paul looked out for Timothy. When the world was telling Timothy he was too young and didn’t have enough experience, Paul said he had more than enough. So often we see people, even people who claim to be a Christ follower, treat others as lesser humans. This is so tragic! We are called to treat others the way we would want to be treated, not tear each other down with our words. I have seen so many people feel beaten down because they feel like they can’t do anything, or that their mistakes define who they are forever. It is our job to come alongside one another and build each other up. We need to lift our brothers and sisters out of the trenches of sin, not push them deeper into it. We need to be bold, we need to stand up for those who are broken and hurting, we have been called to serve others. Love is an action and not just a feeling, we need to act in love and stand with those around us. When we stand together, through even the darkest times, we will not fail.
The last part of the verse speaks directly into each and every one of us, we need to have self-discipline. While we are powerful in Christ and we come together, we need to make wise choices. When we go back to the idea of not going into that house, we are adamant at the character to not even go near it, so why then do we in our own lives like to test the limits? It looks a little different now. So often we like to think of how close we can get to the edge when we should try and stay as far back as possible. We make compromises with God. It’s not that bad, everyone else does it, and I deserve this. We find ourselves doing things we shouldn’t. We self-medicate, we get to intimate before we say “I do,” and we watch things we know will corrupt our minds. Why not protect our hearts and minds? Why not take a stand for what we know is right, even when others don’t? So when we are with friends, maybe only have a couple drinks, or none at all. When you decide to pursue a relationship, set boundaries to guard your heart. When that Victoria’s Secret commercial comes on, change the channel, and get a filter on your computer. Don’t go inside the house, just drive past, and be wise.
B-movies are campy and goofy, but they have truths to them that are vital to our walk with Christ. So often we want to do it all on our own that we end up hurting ourselves more than helping. We choose not to trust God, we choose not to have community, and we make foolish choices. We walk right up to the door and go inside, only to be devoured by the enemy. God has such a higher purpose for each of us, and yet so many times we choose to go our own way. People are yelling for us not to go into the dark forest, and yet we ignore every warning along the way. We need to be bold, to stand up for what we know is right, and live into the higher purpose we have been called to. We instead turn away from the dark path that only brings pain and step into the light. Nothing can hide once it is brought into the light. Step into the light, step into the vision that God has placed on you. Just as Timothy chose, live with a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. You were made for so much more than you can even imagine.
Be bold, and live with faith.