Righteousness is the standard that God holds for every person He has created. It is what God cares about because He is holy, and when we accept the sacrifice of His Son for our sins, God forgives us for the penalty of sin and gives us a position of righteousness before Him. As His children, He commands us to live out truth, our righteousness, in all areas of our lives. Our actions should reflect the love and holiness of God through the Holy Spirit that lives in us. Sounds simple, but because of our sinful desires and a culture that has chosen to exchange the truth of God for what makes them feel good, it can be an arduous task.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1,2).
A follower of Jesus will have a heart that is set on doing the will of God. At times, we are distracted and sin in the process, but we have great peace knowing that when we confess it, God forgives us and cleanses of all unrighteousness. On the other hand, Satan desires to encourage us to sin by turning from God and doing our own thing. It is a battle between good and evil. Although at times, it seems as though Satan is winning, God’s sovereign will for us will prevail.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)
Occultism means secret or hidden. It involves theories and practices involving beliefs in, knowledge of or use of supernatural forces or beings.” The occult usually evokes evil connotations associated with witchcraft and sorcery, summoning the dead, and ritual sacrifice. In some Eastern cultures, however, religion and occultism are frequently blended.
A recent article in The American Interest, “Progressive occultism — the language of witches and demons, of spells and sage, of cleansing and bad energy, of stars and signs — has become the de facto religion of millennial progressives.” In other words, the meaning of this belief system has nothing to do with faith yet requires one to reject their belief in God and the sinfulness of man. Anything goes, as long as it works for the individual. There is no single truth, only relativism.
In the book Lawless, Ryan Pittman, on page 119, examines the threat of occult practices on our culture. “And recent years have seen a surge in the practice of witchcraft and Wicca. Psychic readings, tarot cards, energy crystals, and many other occult consumer items have become all the rage. The psychic services industry now generates approximately $2 billion in annual revenue. Social media is littered with witchcraft “influencers,” and it is now being used by the devil to seduce the unsaved into thinking there is an entire world of powers, knowledge, and ability that they can tap into if they just defy God’s prohibition on witchcraft and mystical practices.”
Many churches have embraced the occult world through the use of the Enneagram. It is a numerical system based on a supposedly ancient drawing of nine points within a circle to determine “personality type” and the kind of relationship one has or should have with God. The director of this movement is Satan himself. The Enneagram was created by George Gurdjieff, an occultist whose life works centered around necromancy, fortune-telling, and secret societies. It was a pathway to accessing the spirit realm, immortally, and understanding the cosmos. One would think that churches would flee from such things, but hundreds of pastors have embraced this by leading their churches to engage in it through sermon series, hosting conferences, and by providing individual training. Christianity’s goal is not to find our “hidden inner self,” but instead to die to self and become a new creature in Jesus Christ.
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD,” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
Christianity and the occult are polar opposites, one good and one evil. You cannot Christianize the occult by bringing it into the churches or offering self-help classes using satanic methodology. These might include Christian Yoga, guided meditation, necromancy, spells, tarot cards, ouija boards and the like.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20) “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:1-6).