Here’s the story of how God saved me from one of the darkest times of my life, and then used that experience to make an impact for His kingdom. In case any of you are wondering, this is a true story, retold to the best of my ability to remember the details.
The first part of this story deals with me being deceived by the forces of darkness, and consequently, me becoming obsessed with the occult.
As I recall, I was in about the 6th grade at the time. This was back when I was still going to
*NOTE*: This is not an attack on the Harry Potter books specifically, but a warning to beware that which might lead you away from God’s straight-and-narrow path.
Anyway, at first I thought it was just another fad that would quickly pass, and that I might as well ignore it. But then some of the people whose opinions I (somewhat) respected (teachers, relatives, etc) said that they read the first book and recommended it highly.
So I finally meandered over to the “New Releases” shelf, and checked out a copy. To say that the style in which it was written was captivating would be an understatement. But you see, that was also the problem – it was so captivating that it led me down a false path of darkness, and away from God. My mom started noticing the problem around the time that I was going through the second book. She prohibited me from bringing the books into the house – but I snuck them in anyway, thus disobeying her and God. I finished book #4, the thickest of the books at the time with approximately 475 pages, in 2 days.
But the core of my problem was not simply me reading a best-selling series; it was where the series led me. I had become completely obsessed with all things occult, arcane, and magic. The only books that I would read were ones that dealt with witches, mages, sorcery, spellcasting, thaumaturgy, divination, curses, etc. The obsession didn’t end at reading materials, however. I had also begun to research my own spells and create astrology charts for the purpose of divination. I was drunk on a sense of power and mystery, and Satan kept buying me more rounds, so to speak.
Of course, while I wallowed in that abyss that I carved for myself, there were people who saw what was going on, realized it was a serious problem, and were praying for me. One person in particular was my mom. She was working as a freelance writer at the time, writing book reviews and devotionals for Christian magazines. One of the books she was reviewing at the time was called “Really Bad Girls of the Bible”, by Liz Curtis Higgs.
Now I have always been an avid reader, so one day as I was walking through the house, thinking of what new kind of sorcery to look up, I noticed this book laying on our dining room table. Being curious, I picked it up with the intent of briefly skimming through it. As I glanced at the table of contents, I noticed something about a witch. My curiosity was piqued; I immediately flipped to the indicated page, and proceeded to read about the witch at Endor (not the Star Wars planet), and how God prohibits any practice of magic, since it’s source is from demonic powers. When I was done reading that chapter, I felt like I had been splashed with a bucket of ice-cold water (in a spiritual sense). I realized what a fool I had been, neglecting the power given to me by God’s Holy Spirit in exchange for a false semblance of earthly power that was corrupting my soul. I immediately returned the occult books to the library and burnt all my home-made occult material. I also prayed a prayer of repentance, asking God to forgive me for going astray and disobeying His commands.
That seemed to be the end of that story at the time, but in several years, I found out that was not the case…
It was the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I was sitting in the sanctuary of
This Sunday, however, was different. I meandered out to the main section of the foyer, and I noticed a kid sitting at one of the small tables there. He looked to be about a couple years younger than I, and he was laying “Magic the Gathering” cards out on the table. Now I had seen the game played before (though I’ve never played it), and it did not look like he was playing a game with the cards. In fact, as I was watching him place the cards on the table, it looked more like he was doing some sort of tarot reading with them.
I casually walked up to the table, sat down at the chair opposite him, and struck up a conversation. Eventually, I got around to asking him what was up with the cards. He started telling me that he had powers to do magic and tell the future. By talking to him further, I deduced that he was going through a similar obsession with the occult as I had several years ago. I retold him my story, of how God had freed me from my own spiritual oppression.
I believe that the Holy Spirit has blessed me with the gift of discerning spirits, meaning that I can, at times, tell what sort of spirit emanates around a person, place, object or event. I sensed that this guy had a dark spiritual influence around him, a spirit of deception and clouding of judgment. I continued meeting with him in the church and talking to him over the course of the next few weeks. There seemed to be a definite spiritual battle going on in his soul. He told me that when he tried to read the Bible, that it did not make any sense to him, and that the magic was the only thing that he saw clearly. I had talked to one of the assistant pastors about this issue, to see if he could lend me any council. He said to continue praying for my friend. He also said that when he had tried to speak to my friend about the magic issue, that my friend refused to listen. Apparently, I was the only one that this guy would listen to, and one of the factors of that was probably that I had told him about me going through a similar episode, and he could relate to that.
Eventually, I had started to get through to him about the fact that magic and the occult are evil, and definitely not what God wants for him. He even started to listen to what the pastors had to say. Things started to look like they were going uphill from here. Of course, when the Spirit of God leads a soul out of the darkness, Satan tends to get displeased, and often fights back. Such was the case with this young man.
I still remember how it happened, one of the most intense spiritual battles that I had ever experienced. It was a hot July day. I don’t remember what the exact temperature outside was, but it was probably 80-something. My family had parked by the church gym, as we almost always have done. The doors to the gym were open so much that day, that even with the air conditioning, it wasn’t that much cooler in that part of the church building. I saw my friend standing near the side of the gym opposite the entry doors. I walked over to him to talk to him, as I had in the past few weeks. Now here comes the scary part. As I walked within 10 feet of him, I felt like the temperature had suddenly dropped to 20. This was no natural feeling of cold, as there were no external signs of below-freezing temperatures. I knew almost instantly that this was definitely something not of this world, for it an aura of spiritual darkness that chilled me to my very soul. Like I said before, I have been blessed with the gift of discerning spirits, and I could sense there were one or more demonic beings tearing at my friend’s spirit. Now let me tell you something: when one comes into sudden spiritual contact with pure demonic evil, it can be quite startling. After silently saying a quick prayer for courage, I turned to my friend and told him to immediately follow me. I led him to the youth pastor’s office, and the youth pastor called the assistant pastor in, and we all prayed that God would lift the evil spirit from my friend’s soul. The supernatural cold emanation was still there at first, but no one but I could feel it. Soon, however, as we prayed, I started to feel the aura of evil that had manifested from my friend waver and disappear completely – the demons had been banished. We gave thanks to God, and asked my friend how he was feeling. He said that he did feel like dark shroud had been lifted form him, and agreed to destroy his occult material.
Soon after this happening, my friend was transferred to a different group home, and I was unable to contact him. However, looking back on these events, I’m glad that God allowed me the opportunity to make a positive impact on my friend’s life.