It was over twenty-five years ago and I was teaching at a Christian retreat. We were teaching children's church when one of the other volunteers started talking to the kids about yoga as if it was a good thing.
I almost fell of my chair.
Being young enough to not know better, I stopped her right there and said, "No, Christians should not do yoga. It's a false religion that opens your mind to demonic influences. Christians should not have any part of it."
Well, it's been twenty-five years and many things have changed, but my position on this topic has not. It still bothers me deeply when I hear about Christians practicing yoga or endorsing it. I'm just alot less shocked now days.
Another thing that hasn't changed is the Bible.
1 John 5:21 says, "Dear children, keep yourself from idols."
As Christians, most of us read this Scripture and think, “Naturally, I don’t worship idols.” And yet, there is a growing trend in Western culture to incorporate the practices of false religions such as Hinduisim, Buddism, and other Eastern religions that do practice idol worship into our daily lives. The problem is that when we casually adopt an activity derived from false religions, we are opening ourselves up to the same demonic influences as if we personally went to the temple and worshiped the idols.
If we want to live a holy life completely devoted to Jesus, as Christians, we need to avoid any and all practices that find their origins in these practices. This includes the popular new trends toward animism, transcendental meditation and yoga. Because here is the honest truth: these things are not harmless; they are dangerous.
Meditation isn't just a way to relax. Yoga isn’t just exercise.
As Pastor John Lindell an Assemblies of God pastor at the Pastor of James River Church in Missouri said: “To say the positions of yoga are no more than exercise are tantamount to saying water baptism is just aqua aerobics”.
The truth is that whenever we play around with the paranormal, false religions, or the occult we are inviting demonic influences to affect our lives. Just like you wouldn’t invite a pack of wolves to come into your home and ravish your family, a wise Christian will not participate in activities related to foreign religions that will invite demonic elements into your home to destroy you and your family spiritually.
This principles doesn’t just apply to false religions. It applies to any form of occult practice, magic, or witchcraft. This includes Ouija boards, terra cards, palm reading, horoscopes, fortune telling, dungeons and dragons and any other game, form of entertainment that has its roots in the occult. It also involves movies, television shows and novels that fall under the label of “Sci-fi” but are really just exhibitions of the paranormal, people interacting with demons, or practicing the occult.
Here’s some straight talk: As Christians, we should not be watching any form of entertainment that contains magic, fortune telling, mediums, paranormal activity, or witchcraft.
Instead, we need to realize that these things are not harmless fun.
They don’t fall into the category of “gray areas” that will have no effect on your soul.
Instead, Galatians 6:9-10 takes them very seriously when it lists idol worship and witchcraft among the sins that will keep a person from inheriting the kingdom of God.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
idolatry and witchcraft;
hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
From a personal standpoint, I have seen what choosing to participate in these types of actives can cause. You see, I come from a line of ancestors who thought that playing around with false religions and the occult were no big deal. They openly embraced things like Pow Wow-ing, astrology, horoscopes, and other forms of the occult.
Only instead of being innocuous, not only they, but their children and grandchildren suffered the consequences of their choices. As someone has seen the heartache and pain, who has sat through the counseling sessions as my parents and I (and my brother) fought for our spiritual freedom, I can assure you that dabbling with false religions, the occult, and the paranormal are NOT worth it. When you invite demonic influences into your life, they cause destruction.
There are other ways to exercise. Other games to play. Other books to read and movies to watch that do not involve false religions and the occult.
So please, before you jump into an activity or a movie or a game that involves magic, witchcraft, or the occult—do your research.
Find out if there is even a hint of a religion other than Christianity.
If there is is, avoid it. It's that simple.
Choose to obey 1 John 5:1 and in every way "Keep Yourself from Idols.”
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.