‘Tis the season of ghosts, witches, and spooky gimmicks once again. Television channels will offer supposed classics like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho to editions of Dracula and the more recent trend of zombie movies. NatGeo and Discovery Channel will momentarily ride the wave with their scariest selections.

Even children will be trick-or-treating, clad in ghoulish outfits that parents will say are just plain cute.

Christians fall prey to the onslaught of horrific innuendos and excuse themselves by saying, “Everyone’s into it, there must be nothing wrong with it; besides what can we do about it—it’s everywhere.”

But the Bible declares, God did not give us the spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

In this verse, it is clear that fear is a spirit, in the same way that the Bible teaches us that faith is a spirit (2 Corinthians 4:13). Just like faith, fear has the power to affect every area of our life—our relationships, health, work, finances, recreation, and ability to believe for the best.

We may think that watching a horror movie is an isolated movie moment. But what we do not realize is that we are allowing the spirit of fear to influence our lives. The power of a spirit comes largely in the form of influence.

Let me explain.

I have yet to see a spirit move my finger to click on a pornographic site, manipulate my arm and my mouth to take amphetamines, gulp alcohol or devour unneeded calories, or make my feet go to places where I shouldn’t go.

Nope, that’s not quite how it works. Spirits don’t do these things for us. Sorry, we can’t blame demons for all the wrong things we do. We do them because we have allowed ourselves to be deceived and enticed by spirits and we fell for their devious tricks and influence (1 Timothy 4:1). Which brings us to how spirits work.

We end up in the wrong websites because the spirit of lust has enticed us and we give in because of our lack of self-control. (Galatians 5:19)

When I relentlessly stuff things in my mouth, it could very well be that the influence of the “belly god” has convinced me that eating them is good for me (Philippians 3:19). And yes, I lacked the power and self-control to stop taking them.

And if I choose to go and do things against God’s will, you can be certain that lurking behind it all is the spirit of disobedience that is influencing me. (Ephesians 2:2)

When we allow spirits to influence us, this eventually becomes the pattern of our lives and we end up believing that it is all just normal. But the fact remains: the spirit is not living our lives, we are, but we have been deceived and heavily influenced by them.

The spirit of fear is no different. It influences the way we think, act, live, and relate with others. Believe it or not, this spirit spies on us from the very day we were born and influences our way of life, sometimes without us realizing it, all the way until our final days on earth. This is the reason we want to guard ourselves against the spirit of fear, especially during this season.

When our children were little, our relatives, friends, and neighborhood broadcasted and promoted the spirit of fear during Halloween. Our children are now adults, but through the years Marie and I have done our best to protect them from the onslaught of the spirit of fear during the Halloween season.

We are literally surrounded by it; we can’t go anywhere without being exposed to it.

The next time the spirit of fear tries to influence you, remember that God has given you the power to overcome it. This power comes in the form of His love and your self-control.