Finland is consistently voted “the happiest country on earth”.
Yet, why is it that when we visit their country that the spiritual warfare is so intense?
Along with our ministry partners there, Jeff and Aura, I spoke at a youth meeting at Evangelical Free Church in Tampere on November 3, and gave the Sunday morning message at Tampere Baptist on November 5. Tampere had snow the day before we arrived, with temperatures in the low 30’s (Fahrenheit). The sun set at around 4:30pm and rose after 8:00am so they were already moving into the season with more darkness and less daylight.
Which was fitting for what we would encounter.
In the days and hours leading up to the youth meeting, it felt like there was a dark cloud over us at times. There were battles physically, with fatigue and little sleep, dark dreams, assaults on the mind (“Quit now!”) and other unexpected circumstances for us and for Jeff and Aura.
During my message at the youth meeting where I talked about sexual issues, I also hit on how the enemy is seducing youth into getting involved with the occult and witchcraft, which we see here in the US.
After the youth meeting, a young woman told us that her entire class had been getting involved with witchcraft. When I asked if she’d ever heard the occult addressed at youth group or in church, her response was “never.” Then Sunday morning at church, one woman shared that her spiritual gift was “reading tarot cards.”
The amount of warfare we encounter in Finland suddenly made sense; the demonic realm has a large footprint there.
The unseen war is just as intense in the US and other countries. In the past 20 years the US has reportedly gone from 8,000 witches to well over 1 million. Many believers are watching movies such as the Harry Potter films that have real world satanic rituals or other dark films with occult undertones. When I interviewed former witch turned to Christ Sarah Anne Sumpolec on Blazing Grace Radio, she told me that she gets swarmed with youth who hadn’t realized they were playing with the occult when she speaks at youth groups, and, that movies like the Harry Potter films are doorway products meant to provoke people’s interest in the occult.
As 21 year old Rebekah wrote, youth are being swarmed with ads with occult media. Watching movies with occult themes doesn’t line up with the imperative for a believer to stay away from evil. Instead, we’re embracing it under the umbrella of entertainment.
Did I mention that I heard a senior pastor use Harry Potter as an allegory for Jesus as the “good son” from his pulpit on a Sunday morning?
My friends, we must warn our youth and the adults that they must stay away from any media or products having to do with the occult. Those doorways need to stay closed. Warnings need to be heard from the pulpit, in youth groups, and in the home. Many are playing with spiritual fire without realizing that they’re giving the enemy access to their lives. Movies with dark themes surely won’t light up one’s prayer life, which should be every believer’s highest priority. Just as spending more time in prayer shrivels up the appetite for entertainment, so binging on entertainment, whether it includes occult themes or sexually provocative material, kills the prayer life.
Sexual sin, pornography, spiritual warfare, and the occult are some of Satan’s biggest weapons in the unseen war and need to be addressed, no holds barred, in the church today.
The response from the meetings in Finland were overwhelmingly positive and we have invitations to come back in January – when it will be colder, with 5-6 hours of daylight a day, and more people will be indoors and viewing pornography or otherwise binging on entertainment. We’re looking at visiting other countries in January as well. If you live in Europe or the UK and are interested in setting up a meeting in January, please let me know by contacting us.
Below is a picture of Aura, who translated, and me at Tampere Baptist.