The new horror movie IT is the latest adaption of Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name. It tells the story of the Loser’s Club, a group of seven children who are the outcasts of their hometown Derry, Maine. They begin experiencing terrifying apparitions of a demonic clown named Pennywise. The Loser’s Club must cope with their own fears and stand together in order to confront this hellish entity.
Despite the story being entirely secular, those who are familiar with spiritual warfare might be surprised that this movie has quite a bit to say about dealing with and combating evil.
The devil lures, deceives, and devours
The devil has three goals in mind when he guns for a soul: To lure them away from God, fill their head with lies, and destroy their life in Christ. This is best demonstrated in the film’s opening scene.
Georgie Denbrough plays with his paper boat out in the rain when the boat floats into the sewer. When Georgie goes to retrieve it, Pennywise is inside, lying in wait. Georgie is initially put off by Pennywise’s sharp teeth and yellow eyes, but Pennywise makes innocent small talk with Georgie about friends, carnivals and popcorn.
There’s an excellent subtle moment where Pennywise is giggling with Georgie about how “Popcorn goes pop! Pop!” only to growl at him, causing the child to stop chuckling and tremble. Pennywise then holds Georgie’s paper boat in front of his eyes and encourages, “Here, take it.” Georgie hesitates, but then reaches into the sewer for his boat. This is when Pennywise opens his mouth, revealing his multitude of teeth. The sobbing boy calls for help as he tries to crawl to safety, but then we see Pennywise’s arm reach out from the sewer, grab hold of Georgie’s ankle and drag him down into the sewer.
Fear fuels hellfire
If the devil fails with temptation, he resorts to scare tactics. Evil spirits will use frightening images and negative emotions like a yo-yo against human beings. In the film, the kids encounter Pennywise as he assumes the appearance of what they fear the most. Bill’s interaction with Pennywise is accompanied with his basement being flooded and an encounter with a glassy-eyed Georgie (dressed in the same yellow raincoat he was wearing on the day he was killed), which represents his guilt over his brother’s death.
Similarly, the devil and his allies will bring to mind unpleasant and painful memories, horrifying nightmares, and even manifest themselves physically. They’ll use everything from intrusive thoughts and sudden feelings of negativity, to looming figures standing at the end of your bed. It has been said that during exorcisms, the demon will reveal that if they are unable to deceive a soul, they will attempt to make their life as miserable as possible.
Those with the spiritual gift of discernment can relate to the Loser’s Club
Those with the charism of discernment of spirits can accurately detect the presence of both divine and demonic spirits. People who have been gifted with this charism are very familiar with sensing the presence of evil and even being harassed by unclean spirits. Granted, anyone can become Lucifer’s punching bag, but it is not far-fetched to say that those who can feel the unseen world of angels and demons are veterans of spiritual combat.
Christ is present when two or more are gathered in His name
A tactic of both Pennywise and the devil is to isolate their targets from God and from friends and family who could lead them back on the right path. Once you have distanced yourself from God and fellow believers, that is when the only voices you hear come from the dark.
Towards the end of the second act, the Loser’s Club is divided between those who are determined to fight and those who are too traumatized to act. This causes the Loser’s Club to go their separate ways. Fortunately, they all end up gathering together again for a final confrontation with the demonic clown. It is when they are united as one that their terror of Pennywise dissipates, starving him of the fear-fuel he needs to survive.
When followers of Christ band together by praying for one another and holding each other accountable, Satan’s efforts against them will be futile. The walk with God is not a solitary journey. It is a walk with others towards the shared goal of growing in holiness. Satan can be scary and a pain to deal with, but thankfully he is nothing more than a defeated foe desperately seeking collateral. If those under spiritual attack support each other, the old serpent will give up and roam elsewhere.
Put on the armor of God daily
Members of the Loser’s Club could have benefited from reading Ephesians 6:11-12: “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”
The best weapon we have against the devil is faith in Jesus Christ, whose very Name sends the evil one tripping over himself to get away. Satan is not more powerful than God; he’s not even on an equal playing field. He is a created being who must still obey the Word of his Maker. It is in Christ alone that our victory against the enemy is found.