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The Jesus Factor

Yesterday was my first day at home with both kids in school for the day. It was quiet and calm, my house was pretty clean, so I decided to do something I don’t usually do. I sat down and watched a scary movie.

First, let me explain the magnitude of this. I’ve never been one to just watch be scary movie and be okay. I have friends and family who love the horror genre, who can stand up as the credits start rolling and go on with their lives. Not me. Oh, not ever me. I think about it. Perseverate on it. Walk in fear afterwards, even for days after. If the film is watched on my house, I feel it. Like a dark, heavy presence lurks in the depths of every corner. Something almost demonic.

Several years ago, when my children were very little, my husband convinced me to watch a scary movie. He likes to watch them occassionally, and because I love my husband we popped some popcorn and watched it. The film was about an evil force using mirrors as a gateway to haunt a family. It was absolutely terrifying. When it was over jt was over and we went to bed, I had a hard time falling asleep. The next morning, my husband took the boys to McDonald’s for breakfast so I could sleep in. I was just waking up when heard small voices and felt little hands placed on my bak shove me from the side of the bed. I opened my eyes and rolled over, expecting to see my three year old son. He wasn’t there. Completely awake, I got out of bed and walked into every room of our apartment. Everything seemed normal, but something was wrong. They weren’t home yet.

I don’t know exactly what that was that morning, all those years ago. I just know these two things: those hands and that shove weren’t something that imagined, and the demonic is absolutely real.

I couldn’t watch horror movies after that. Every few years, my husband would suggest one and I would shoot it down. In the last year or two, we’d discovered I don’t mind slasher movies like Scream and we watched the entire Final Destination series and that was okay too. It was just the paranormal ones that did something that completely terrified me. That was, until a year ago.

Everyone I know was raving about the movie The Bird Box. There were memes all over every social media app. It popped up in my Netflix suggestions and I told my husband we should watch it because everyone else was doing it (I know, I know.) We knew nothing about it, and the Netflix synopsis was extremely vauge. We pressed play and after thirty minutes, I knew I’d made a mistake. But I couldn’t just turn it off. I had to see the whole thing through to the end.

As usual, once the movie was over my husband was fine. But I couldn’t stop perseverating on that creature. Unseen, powerful and completely terrifying. But, something didn’t sit well with me. In the film, the people who see the creature immediately commit suicide. So in a short period of time, whole cities were completely deserted as all the inhabitants died. As I thought about it, I wondered but what about the Christians? Of course Hollywood didn’t factor them in when making a movie. How would a demonic force react when the presence of Jesus in their life flowed out of them? Well, I guess that wouldn’t make a good horror film. But it did do something in me.

Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law. Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him. Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee. Mark 1:21-28

Demons, evil spirits and the evil forces in this world know who Jesus is. Not only do they know of Him, they fear Him.

This week a new album came out that my boys couldn’t wait to listen to. (Okay, I’ll admit it – me too!) One of our favourite bands, Rend Collective, put out an album of children’s songs called SPARKLE. POP. RAMPAGE. One of the songs is called Not Afraid, and it features these perfect lyrics:

If you say I’m an overomer

I will overcome the monsters

I may be small but I’m a fighter

Cause you are strong and fear is a liar

I’m not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of me

I’m not afraid cause your heart is shining bright in me

Be bold, be strong, be brave, hold on

I’m not afraid anymore, your love glows in the dark

Today I put on heaven’s armour

The sword and shield can not be conquered

I raise a shout cause I’m a warrior

Your battle cry will lead me onward

I know this song is intended for children – but friend, in stopped me in me tracks. I don’t need to be afraid because with Jesus in my heart and with soul fixated on Him, the demons in this world are afraid of me. So yesterday, I sat down with my husband and watched IT! which has lots of creepy and scary moments throughout and I was not afraid. I even laughed at some parts. And last night, when I lay my head down on my pillow, I drifted off to sleep in peace.

I’m not writing this to suggest you take advantage of the next rainy weekend and binge watch a bunch of horror movies. In fact, I hope you don’t. We are accountable for all our time spent and overloading on one thing is probably not good idea when we should be taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). I’m of the opinion that what we watch, read, listen to and prioritize in our lives vastly affects our attitude and actions. Instead, I’m writing this just to share the freedom I’ve found in knowing Jesus. Even in a small (but not significant) part of my life.

As I was heading to bed last night, my usual thoughts crept up – what if Pennywise tries to prey on my kids while I’m asleep? And then laughter bubbled up as I crawled into bed. No, it would be afraid of them too. We all have the Jesus Factor.

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