I live on a quiet little street with lots of trees and friendly neighbors. I recently learned that a house that was for sale just a few doors down was purchased by a well know astrologist who will be seeing customers in a few rooms of the house that have been converted for office space. As a Christian, I now know that astrology is not a good thing, even though, as a child, I found it quite interesting and would always "check my horoscope." Today, I place my faith, trust and love in Jesus, and it is He who guides my life along the course it takes, not the stars.
Obviously, I want to welcome our new neighbor with open arms, and I don't want to be judgmental toward the new person. I am also thinking of praying in front of the home before they arrive, and perhaps anointing it with oil during prayer. Could you please offer any advice you can about what I should do, if anything, about my new neighbors?
- RPT from Pittsburgh, PA.
The Problem with astrology (Part 1)
I will start off by saying that you got it right in your question when you said; "I don't want to be judgmental toward the new person." The church of Jesus Christ has never gotten very far acting "holier than thou" toward those whom we consider "sinners." From the outside of the church, this comes across as hypocritical, close minded and rigid. Very few are attracted to the Savior when treated with distain or disgust.
You are also right when you say that astrology is not a good thing. I believe you are correct in being concerned about its influence in you neighborhood. How do we handle that while reaching out to the person who embraces it and even earns a living from it? I will discuss that further tomorrow, but for today, let's clarify what is wrong with astrology.
Astrology as defined by my dictionary is "the divination of the supposed influences of the stars upon human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects." (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary ©1969) Any kind of "divination" is strictly forbidden by God's Word.
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 says in part: "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead." Astrology is only one of the many kinds of divinations which have been in practice for thousands of years.
Why does God object? ANY witchcraft/divination/sorcery violates the first of the Ten Commandments given through Moses: "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3) The Lord goes on to explain further; "For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me." (Verse 5)
It is a serious matter to ignore God's instructions regarding astrology, psychic readings, channeling, charms, etc. - the whole gamut of New Age offerings highly popular today. Christians should not go anywhere near any of these things, even offhandedly reading their horoscope in the paper. To do so is to invite a curse into your life which will affect your future generations.
Next: Okay, so how does the church counter astrology and other New Age practices?
Response of the Church (Part 2)
One of the most difficult dilemmas for the Church is upholding the standard of God's laws while obeying the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is a hard balancing act. We don't want to water down God's Word and say that all behaviors are okay but we also don't want to turn the very people who need God's grace to be pushed away for not being "good enough."
Jesus did it right - and we can do it too. Jesus always confronted sin and didn't mind saying hard things. He also compassionately reached out to people and offered grace and healing. We can keep ourselves from smugness by contemplating our own failings and sin and by realizing how much grace was extended to us.
How should you treat this new person who moves onto your street? I would suggest treating them with love and respect and welcome as if you had no idea how they earn their living or without regard to what they will be doing in their house. If you typically bring baked goods to a new neighbor, be the first to do so. Let them know you would love to help if they need anything as they arrive. Make them glad they chose your neighborhood.
You also might take the initiative and ask them if they are looking for a new church and mention you would be glad to have them come to yours. That lets them know your heart right from the start. Sometimes you can say to a new person you meet: "I like to pray for people. Is there any need in your life I can pray for?" Done with love and sincerity, few people can resist such a wonderful offer.
I think we should realize why so many people are attracted to various New Age practices today. Part of the reason is that there is a spiritual void in all of us that is looking for God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says; "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts." For those who have not found the truth of the living God, SOMETHING must fill that void.
You can look at each person who has not yet found God as someone who is hungry. Maybe they are eating poison food but they are doing it because they are starving. Pray that God will give you strategies to point the way to Jesus, the "Bread of Life". (John 6:35)
Next: What to do in your neighborhood?
Strategy for your neighborhood (Part 3)
Hopefully, you fully understood everything I said yesterday. Now it is time to separate the new neighbor from the dark spiritual force behind them. While you welcome the human being that God loves, you reject and fight against any demonic force which is attempting to set up housekeeping in your neighborhood. This is spiritual warfare.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us clearly; "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." You are ahead of the game simply by knowing in advance what is about to happen. You can take authority even before the astrologer moves in.
You mentioned praying in front of the house in question. Yes, that is a good idea. In fact, I think you should walk the entire street and pray over every home and take authority in the name of Jesus and proclaim that the light of Jesus Christ is coming in fullness to your whole neighborhood. Also pray a hedge of protection over every home that no one will be taken in or influenced by the spirit behind the neighbor. Oil is also a good idea as long as you do not infringe on property rights.
You can make your neighborhood difficult for demonic forces to operate in. Your intercessory prayer on behalf of the new neighbor can have quite an effect. You can pray that this will not be a favorable place to see clients and that business will diminish. I remember once a friend told me that their hairdresser was into some kind of color therapy and analyzing auras. But the hairdresser had decided to move to New Mexico where the "atmosphere" was more favorable to what they wanted to do.
Do not be discouraged if nothing seems to happen right away. Your prayer is making a difference. You may feel an intense struggle if you are serious about ejecting all spirits except the Lord God in your neighborhood. Make sure you pray protection over yourself and your family members as you begin. Make sure there is no un-confessed sin in your own life. Make sure you are abiding in close communion with the Lord.
Be sure to update me as you go along and let me know how it all turns out. Perhaps you have been placed in that neighborhood for just this occasion. God bless you!