There have been a lot of werewolf movies and TV series – like Teen Wolf, Bitten, Being Human, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Originals, Supernatural and of course the legendary Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
A note – If you think a session on ‘werewolves’ may be harmful to your young people, don’t use it. Or amend it. But the reality is there is a spiritual war being waged against evil. This is part of this session, as is the theme of change.
First up – you really want to be watching these series?
Well, without wanting to tell anyone what they should and shouldn’t be doing, it’s good to apply the Philippians 4.8 test!
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
So when we’re watching TV, movies, a good test is whether the movie is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, excellent or praiseworthy. Now in most movies there’s usually something that’s good. It’s a question of deciding whether the movie encourages you in your faith or takes away from your faith. That is usually a personal thing between you and God but there are some good boundaries!
If a movie or series is opposite to what is good, opposite to the Bible principles that you live your life by – then you should ask if you want to watch it. Second, is it opposite to specific things that God has spoken to you about personally? So for example when my dad became a Christian, God actually physically stopped him going into pubs. But other Christians happily go to pubs. Thirdly have a look again at Philippians 4.8 and decide whether the thing you’re watching is opposite to those verses. So is it full of lies; is it about horrible things; does it have lots of things that are wrong or impure; is it hard to find something good about the series; does it promote things that you wouldn’t want to be involved in? If it does, watch something else!!
So why are we looking at werewolves anyway? Aren’t they horrible, nasty things that someone’s made up? Er, yes! And aren’t some of these series actually a bit evil? Yes. We’ll come to that later.
Here’s the thing: a werewolf is someone who changes into a wolf, often at night. We can learn two big things from this kind of made-up story and we’ll come to that later!
Movie Clip – Chronicles Of Narnia, Lion, Witch & Wardrobe
Peter’s First Battle – https://youtu.be/QLtNZgWK32A (checked April 2019)
The above clip on the DVD, Chapter 11 – 00:54:27
Alternatively, use Chapter 13 for another scene – 1:09:21
Yes, these are just wolves but their prowling around and evil shows us something about the enemy and how the enemy prowls around looking for someone to ‘devour’ (eat alive). So be on your guard for enemy attacks (like Peter in the clips) and use your sword of the Lord – the Bible.
OK, so this is just for fun. We’ve taken a ‘werewolf’ face and super-imposed it on some famous celebrities for a laugh. This is nothing personal and not intended to cause offence
For the final two slides, we’ve left a space for you to put in a picture of one of your youth leaders. Then on the next page we’ve put a transparent image of a werewolf which you can put over the head of the youth leader for a laugh!
Click here to download the ‘werewolf’ PowerPoint (updated May 19).
The New You
When we become a Christian, something happens. The ‘old’ becomes ‘new’. It’s like saying you live in a house. Say for example you now live in Birmingham. But you used to live somewhere else – for example Glasgow. So you still have a house, but it is in Birmingham now. It’s kind of similar when you become a Christian. In the ‘spirit’ bit of you (the God bit – see below), God fills you and changes you. But this isn’t like a redecoration. No! It’s more like an extreme home makeover. In that programme which is big in America, a team goes in and helps people by knocking down their old rubbish houses and builds them new ones which are amazing and just what the people need. That’s what God does in us. It’s still the same you but the old ‘spirit’ bit of you is kicked out and knocked down completely. Then God fills you with his Holy Spirit. This is new instead of old. It is a total change.
2 Corinthians 5.17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!
In our example of the werewolf, the person cannot help themselves but change into something evil. But when we have God in our life, we know that the old self has been put to death and the new God-self has come to life. That is the truth. But it’s not the whole picture. There is a battle we will have to fight all our life. In the movie, the Incredible Hulk, Dr Bruce Banner has to fight hard not to become the Incredible Hulk creature. And as we’ll learn, we have a similar kind of fight too!
The Fight Against The ‘Inner-Werewolf’
Romans 7.15-20 – I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
So there’s a battle that goes on in our head and our bodies. You see, when you become a Christian, God puts his Holy Spirit in you (who is perfect), filling your spirit. This bit of you is the ‘God’ bit. We know this from 1 Corinthians 6.17 which says, “He who is united to the Lord is one spirit with him.” As a Christian, what God does is make you more like Jesus – so it’s like the spirit bit of you begins to take charge in your life and this is how God works in you. But the other part of you hasn’t been fully changed by God (this only happens when we get to heaven). God’s Holy Spirit inside of you works to change you bit by bit. The Bible calls this going from ‘glory to glory’.
So there’s a kind of battle going on in the inside of you. The fight is for who is going to control you and what you do. In our example of ‘werewolves’, the werewolf is like two people. At times there is a ‘good person’ and at other times something more nasty. And this is kind of like us. When you get angry or do things that are wrong, it’s like the human part of you is ‘winning’ in that area or moment of your life. But when we do the good things, the God things and let God work on the inside of us to be more like him – then we see the spirit part of us winning – the bit that is filled by God’s Holy Spirit. And this is the battle that Paul was talking about in our reading from Romans 7. He wasn’t saying that he couldn’t ever do anything right – he was saying that the human part of him often can’t do what is right and seems to ‘win out’ over the God part.
So how do we ‘win’ these mini battles over what Paul and the Bible often call ‘the flesh’ (the mind and the body)? Well, part of this happens as we become more like God as we get older. But it really helps if we make a choice to want to change to be more God-like. It’s a bit like coaching a football player. If the football player wants to improve and stays on for training and does what the coach says, they will get better. But if a player doesn’t do training and doesn’t turn up, they won’t grow to be a better football player. So we can ‘help’ by wanting to obey God, by reading and thinking about the Bible, by praying, by going to church and doing what’s right.
So, we have to commit to let God work in us and through us to be more like him. He never sinned, never did anything wrong, even though the Bible tells us he went through the same kinds of issues as us. Now we have God’s Holy Spirit in us, helping us become more like Jesus every day. Romans 6.11-12 says:
Romans 6.11-12 – In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
Romans 8.2 – through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
So let’s say a prayer from what we’ve learned today.
Lord, thank you that you have set me free from sin and death by what you did on the Cross when you died for me and took away my sin. Lord, I realise that many times I get things wrong and I want to say sorry for my sin. Lord, you have changed me on the inside and made me new. Thank you that because I am part of your family, my spirit is one with your Holy Spirit who is in me. Lord help me work with you so that it is your Holy Spirit that leads my life in all things and not my flesh – my mind and body. Lord I want to count myself dead to sin and I know from the Bible that I am no longer in the flesh but I want to do the things that come from you, from your Holy Spirit. I choose the life that comes from God. Thank you Lord. Amen.