United States (MNN) – When we let our culture define what is good and normal, we can get caught up in some pretty nasty stuff.
Dean Vander Mey of Set Free Ministries recognizes that danger and says, “I think Scripture’s very clear, to be holy and set apart unto God.”
What he’s talking about here might surprise you—he’s referring to the culture’s acceptance of magic, witchcraft and spiritualism not only in entertainment, but in practice.
Most Christians are aware that witchcraft and magic in real life are demonic activities, even if they watch movies and TV shows with these themes. But many are unaware of the subtler aspects of demonic activity.
Emily* is a woman working with Set Free who has just come out of nearly a decade of activity in the occult. Her story shows how “innocent” curiosity and dabbling can lead to a very dark place.
To be clear, her story doesn’t begin with any sort of inclination towards witchcraft. In fact, it sounds similar to that of many children growing up in the Christian community.
“I grew up in a very conservative Christian church and had a relationship with Christ at a very young age,” Emily says.
Even though Emily had some frustration with legalism at her church, she was eager to serve Jesus with her life. So, she went into the mission field.
“I served the Lord in East Africa for a few years,” Emily says, “But while I was there, I experienced some sexual trauma.”
Everything changed after that. She couldn’t understand why God would allow something so awful to happen to her.
“What that did inside of me is it created a separation between me and God because I didn’t fully trust him. I still knew that Jesus was my Lord and my Savior, but I didn’t believe he was the whole picture.”
To cope, she adopted a search for what she calls “Jesus and,” meaning she started seeking spiritual comfort outside of Jesus.
“I thought it was innocent at the beginning. You know, Jesus was still my savior but ‘I’m going to do these meditation circles.’ I started experimenting with a lot of different things that I thought were harmless and that I thought would help me figure out how I could fill this hole that I had.”
During this time, she became separated from the Church, and in effect, from her family. She adopted a new set of friends, ones who were seeking just like her. Emily liked them because they were nice, welcoming, they didn’t do drugs, and they weren’t judgmental like people she knew from church. She was able to talk to them about her struggles. In all respects, they were ‘good’ people in the eyes of the world.
With them, she studied religious texts like Buddhism and other eastern religions. She studied New Age philosophy. Meditation circles became a normal part of her life. Eventually, she found herself judging Christians and their beliefs.
“What started out as ‘Jesus, and’ became Jesus [is] completely out of the picture,” she says.
At this point, Emily thought she was on a path towards healing and truth, and freedom from her pain. In reality, Emily had begun her journey into the occult. She didn’t realize that seeking truth in her mind and not the Bible was opening her up to a world of deception.
In regard to the occult, she says, “There’s kind of a light side of it and dark side of it. The light side is meditation and spirituality and people seeking the light. And when I was involved in that part, I really thought that we were doing good things.”
This “seeking” became a bigger and bigger part of her life and every day she was more involved in it until it took over completely.
“I started to value the ‘work’ that we were doing more than my job, more than my family.”
Emily was vaguely aware that she wasn’t actually finding freedom in it all. She was becoming a slave. But she didn’t know how to get out of it.
Part two of Emily’s story, which takes some pretty dark turns, can be found here.
Be encouraged that today she is living a life of freedom by grace through faith in Christ. Check back in to learn how God saved her from this darkness.
In the meantime, you can learn more about Set Free Ministries here.
*name changed for privacy