Overcoming Darkness

Halloween Costumes: Ghosts or the Spirit

Becoming like the Spirit of the LORD is exactly the opposite of becoming like a ghost.

At Halloween, it’s fun to dress up as something scary—something that causes fun fear!

A frequent choice is to dress up as a ghost. A white sheet (with eye holes) billowing in the wind suffices.

A ghost can appear suddenly, shouting “Boo!!!”. Startled people react with fear—often followed by laughter at how silly their fears are.

In real life, the Spirit of the LORD (often called the Holy Spirit) is exactly the opposite of  a Halloween ghost.

To be sure, the Spirit may appear to people who least expect her and at places where she is least expected and at times when she is least expected.

Jesus taught that appearances of the Spirit of the LORD are like the wind:

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8).

Again and again in the Bible, the Spirit appears to unexpected people at unexpected places at unexpected times.

When Israel and Moses were traveling through the Wilderness, the people often complained about the lack of food and water.

One time, the LORD responded by taking some of his Spirit that was on Moses and putting it onto seventy elders of the nation. Most of the elders were at the tent of meeting, but two of them remained in the camp and began prophesying to all the people. (Numbers 11:24-26).

Joshua urged Moses to stop them. (Numbers 11:27-28).

But Moses refused to limit the spreading of the Spirit of the LORD to unexpected people and places.

Moses denied Joshua’s request, saying:

“Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them.” (Numbers 11:29).

The Prophets shared the wish of Moses that the LORD would put his Spirit on all people.

The Prophet Isaiah foresaw that a time was coming when:

Many peoples will come and say, “Come, . . . [the LORD] will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2:3).

A time was coming when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9).

The Prophet Joel foresaw that a time was coming when the LORD would keep his promise that: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16-21).

Jesus shocked his disciples when he conversed with a Samaritan woman at a well. The Jews and the Samaritans hated each other due to disagreements about religion. They despised each other because of differences in ethnicity and nationality.

Nevertheless, Jesus told the Samaritan woman:

“[A] time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24).

Furthermore, when a group of Samaritans came to see him, Jesus told his skeptical disciples: “[O]pen your eyes, and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:30,35).

And, when the early church was upset that the Spirit was spreading to non-Jews, a church council met to decide what to do.

Peter said:

“Brothers, you know that some time ago God made the choice among you that the [non-Jews] might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:7-9).

Next, “[t]he whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the [non-Jews] through them.” (Acts 15:12).

“When they finished, James [the brother of Jesus] spoke up. . . . “The words of the prophets are in agreement with [what has begun happening], as it is written: . . .  ‘I will rebuild . . . and restore . . . that the rest of [Humanity] may seek the LORD, even all the [non-Jews] who bear my name.” (Acts 15:13-18).

James announced the decision of the Council, beginning with the key principle: “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the [non-Jews] who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:19).

The apostles and elders wrote this decision in a letter, setting forth “what seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” (Acts 15:28).

And so, the Spirit of the LORD does not say, “Boo!!!”, to scare people.

Instead, the Spirit of the LORD speaks Wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10).

The Spirit of the LORD speaks Truth. (John 14:6,16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-15).

The Spirit of the LORD speaks Love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

This perfect love from the Spirit of the LORD is patient.

This perfect love is kind.

This perfect love does not envy.

This perfect love does not boast.

This perfect love does not dishonor others.

This perfect love is not self-seeking.

This perfect love is not easily angered.

This perfect love keeps no record of wrong.

This perfect love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

This perfect love never says, “Boo!!!”, except in good fun for Halloween to make people’s  pursuit of happiness in horror complete.

Because there is no fear in this perfect love from the Spirit of the LORD—only perfect love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).

Because this perfect love from the Spirit of the LORD always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Because this perfect love from the Spirit of the LORD drives out all fear. (1 John 4:18).


As I wrote in my book Lighting the World, at pages 181-184, Jesus loved to laugh! And so should we. Even if it means saying, “Boo!!!”, in good fun for Halloween to make people’s  pursuit of happiness in horror complete.

For additional thoughts arising from Halloween costumes, please read my blog “Halloween Costumes: Zombies or Jesus”.

As in this blog, I like to use the pronoun “her” for the Holy Spirit. At the very beginning of the Bible, we are told that the image of God includes both “male and female” images. The relationship of Father and Son is so engrained in the teaching of Jesus, that I think it wise to continue to use male pronouns for these two persons of the Trinity. That leaves female pronouns for the third person of the Trinity, faithfully affirming that the image of the LORD God fully includes both male and female images. (For example, see Chapter 15 of Luke).