Living Defeated or Living Victorious

Growing up in church, we were taught to fear everything, and we gave a lot of things to the devil. We gave certain styles of music, rhythms and melodies to the devil because we thought they belonged to the devil and could not be used to worship Jesus. As a musician and worship leader I found this difficult to understand, considering all music was created for Jesus, by Jesus, and how could anyone decide how somebody’s personal expressions of worship to Jesus sound? I also did not understand how we could just let the devil take our music, or how could certain rhythms, chords or melodies be more or less sanctified than others?

We also gave certain hairstyles to the devil because apparently he was a hairstylist and had a patent on certain hairstyles. This also included certain clothing trends, regardless of how modest or immodest they were. When I was growing up the devil was into baggy pants, so we gave those to the devil too. Maybe he just had a bad tailor?

We find dancing quite prevalent throughout the Bible for weddings, feasts, celebrations, and especially in celebration unto God. Over the years the devil has managed to pervert certain types of dancing, so we let the devil take dancing and our joy of celebration.

NOTE: dancing was OK within the church, as long as it was “in the spirit”.

In the Bible we find that God’s people enjoyed wine and even kept vineyards. The Bible in various instances shows that wine was not only drank while eating, but also for celebrations, the Bible even mentions a feast and states that they made merry with wine. Yes, people drank alcohol in the Bible, and it was not a sin to drink, however it was a sin to get drunk.

Ephesians 5:18
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit

Ecclesiastes 9:7
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

I understand many will make the argument that they were drinking “new wine”, which was supposed to be grape juice, however there is a problem with this, considering that in Biblical times, people lacked the necessary processing and refrigeration to keep juice. There are also many scriptures that contradict this ideology. In Hosea “new wine” is listed negatively with regular wine and whoring in reference to drunkeness. In Acts the people watching the saints drunk in the Holy Spirit, thought the saints were drunk on “new wine” and in Joel they were drunk on “new wine”.

Hosea 4:11
whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.

Acts 2:13
But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Joel 1:5
Awake, you drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you drinkers of wine, Because of the new wine, for it has been cut off from your mouth.

I realize many people suffer from alcoholism, but even more suffer from obesity and this fact hasn’t stopped us from eating, even though gluttony is a sin. This isn’t an article on drinking wine, however I am using it to show another example of another “thing” that we allowed the devil to take from us.

Growing up we also let the devil take many of our holidays and celebrations. Many of our holidays like Christmas and Halloween are a culmination of various traditions and customs from a melting pot of cultures over the centuries.

Many festivals are set around the change of seasons, the movements of the sun and moon to mark the seasons for planting and harvesting like Halloween. Much like anything else, the devil has done his best to pervert our celebrations in an attempt take yet another thing away from us.

There are various Halloween pagan rituals associated with the devil, communing with the spirit world, sacrificing virgins and other evils. The Catholic Church in an attempt to refocus these traditions as people converted to Christianity, created All Saints Day. This is a day celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. Those who have died and are with God watch over those still living, and the saints are held to intercede with God on behalf of the living. The living pray to the saints and remember in intercessory prayers to God all who have died, particularly their deceased relatives and friends.

NOTE: I am simplifying this, so if you want a more detailed study on this, there are plenty of resources online or at your local library.

Growing up we gave this holiday to the devil instead of taking it from him. Now I am not saying dress your kids up like devils and witches, or worship spirits, but certainly we can enjoy the holiday as Christians and get a little candy from or neighbors (wink), maybe throw a party and enjoy another season God has given us.

Romans 14:14
I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

Colossians 2:13-16
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. 16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.

Romans 14:5-9
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Reading this article you might get the impression that I am frustrated or bitter with my upbringing, however this is not so. I have spent some time looking back and reflecting on how I was raised, the beliefs and traditions we were taught, and look at them from a Biblical perspective. I have done this so that in moving forward I do not make the same mistakes. I believe that it’s high time as Christians that we break free from the bonds of religion, live in freedom and confidence in that the power of the cross is enough. We can no longer let the devil win every battle and take away our inheritance, our joy, our festivals, our music, our dances or our freedom. Let us live victorious in Jesus and live our lives for Jesus.

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