Jesus & the Charlie Charlie Challenge

There’s a new game sweeping the internet; one that you’ve probably never heard of before. It’s called the Charlie Charlie Challenge. Search for it online and you’ll find countless videos of teens playing a game they probably believe is just harmless fun.

The Charlie Charlie Challenge, which works a lot like a ouija board, involves using a grid of yes/no answers on paper, and two pencils balanced on top as a dial. Then you say a special chant that is intended to summon a Mexican demon called Charlie to answer your questions, which he does by moving the pencils to indicate his answer.

Charlie-Charlie-challenge

Reactions to the challenge vary from terrified scream, to youtube parodies, to scientist trying to explain the movement of pencils.

There’s nothing new about the fascination with the supernatural. It’s a search for something beyond the tangible world in front of us. Last week as we started looking at the book of Ecclesiastes, we saw Solomon fail to find meaning in the life “under the sun”. If this world doesn’t satisfy, turning to the supernatural, spiritual world seems logical.

As we read the New Testament there’s no denying the supernatural world is real. Jesus came face to face with demons, and he himself did things that can only be explained by supernatural forces.

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area. Luke 4:33-37.

There’s a lot to say about the supernatural world and how we should respond, but I think this part of Luke’s gospel shows us 3 important things.

The demon’s response

This evil spirit immediately recognises Jesus for who he is; the Holy One of God. His question – Have you come to destroy us? – shows that he knows he and Jesus are on 2 different sides of a spiritual battle, and that Jesus is the one with the power to win. The question for us is if we know we are on the winning side, why would we team up with the losers?

Jesus’ response

Jesus is stern in his reply. He is completely in control and yet there’s no mucking around, or stopping to chit chat. Jesus has no fear of this evil spirit and yet he is quick to send it away. When our trust is in Jesus we have no need to fear the spiritual world, yet, like him, we should treat it seriously. In the case of the Charlie Charlie Challenge, this means we should walk away.

The people’s response

Far from being fascinated by the evil spirit, it’s Jesus’ power that amazed those watching, so much so that the news of his power spread around the area. The Charlie Charlie Challenge gives us an opportunity to speak to our kids, friends and others about the amazing power of Jesus, whose death and resurrection conquered evil once and for all.

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Depression and demons???

I reccently received a comment on this post, which I decided to respond to in a new post rather than in comments.

I want to say up front that I don’t agree with the comment.

Here it is –

“Call it what it is. Depression is demon. Jesus did not play with them or talk to them, He commanded them to come out.Look to your bible. Is it where you get knowledge and wisdom ALL the time? Or just in glancing? The teachings of men cannot heal you much at all.The power that raised Jesus from the dead will also drive your demons out if you believe.”

The Bible does tell us of Jesus casting out demons. In most places it gives us vivid descriptions of the people who are demon possessed. Here are just 2 examples from Mark’s gospel.

This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Mark 5:3-4

A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. Mark 9:17-18

Clearly, demon possession is a serious, dangerous and violent experience and nothing at all like depression.

The heart of depression is hopelessness and despair. Most of the time there is a physiological cause for it, and doctors and medicine can help. I believe that we should always pray about everything (Philippians 4:6) and sometimes the work of medical science is God’s answer to us.

Depression is NOT demon-possession. It is NOT a weakness. It is NOT a lack of faith. It is NOT a punishment. It IS a medical illness and part of the frustration of living on this side of Jesus’ return.

Here are some quotes from great men of the Bible who I think suffered their own times of depression –

JOB – Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came out of the womb? Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I may be nursed? For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest. Job 3:11-13

KING DAVID – How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? Psalm 13:1-2

ELIJAH – He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord” he said. “Take my life”. 1 Kings 19:4

Job is described by God as ‘blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil’. David was chosen by God as ‘a man after his own heart’. Elijah was a prophet of God, who the word of the Lord came to. And each of them suffered their own loss of hope. And each of them also knew that God loved him and found strength and comfort in their God. Here is the end of David’s psalm –

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6