And for today’s class, we’re going to learn about vampires.
Not the suck-your-blood-on-Halloween kind.
We’re talkin’ the suck-your-spiritual-energy kind.
Recently I read a book on creativity called “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon (highly recommend). In one chapter, he references a fellow named Picasso. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Kleon says that some people thought Picasso was a vampire, as he was known for sucking the energy out of everyone he met. As his granddaughter, Marina Picasso, put it, “He squeezed them like a tube of oil paint.” He poked and he prodded till their stories came pouring out; then he stole them for inspiration. Friends and acquaintances agreed: after a hang with Picasso, they felt anxious, nervous, and depleted, while Picasso went back to his studio to paint all night with their energy. Just. Like. A vampire.
Another painter, Constantin Brancusi, noticed this and stayed far away from Picasso. He practiced what Kleon calls The Vampire Test, a simple way to know who to let in to your life. If you feel good and full of energy after hanging out with someone, they’re not a vampire. If you feel down and mentally exhausted, they are.
Since reading this, I’ve used The Vampire Test to weed out the folks who don’t fuel my creativity. But only recently did I start using it in a spiritual way. I started asking myself questions like: Who fuels my spirit? Who supports my relationship with God? Who makes me excited about working for the Lord? Who brings out the optimist in me? Everyone else has gotta go.
I fell in love with this idea of pruning away the spirit suckers. And the more I put it into practice, the closer I grow not only to God, but to the ones who lift me up so I can see and hear Him better.
And though it hasn’t been easy to determine who gets the boot —seeing as I’m naturally over-curious about everyone and their mother, and could make friends with a tree (thanks, Dad) — the process has been so worth it.
Because ultimately, I don’t want to fall victim to the ones who drain my faith, who challenge that God is real, or who tempt and lure me away. I want to protect my spirit and stay nuzzled under His wing, where it’s warm and safe from vampires.
Now everyone please turn to 1 John 4:1-4 in your Bibles, and let’s check out God’s version of the Vampire Test:
- “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
- “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh IS of God…”
- “…And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh IS NOT of God.”
- “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
So, to recap today’s vampire lesson: Spiritual vampires are people who deplete your spirit, bring you down, and steal you away from God. There are millions in the world, and they’re all around — careful, they could even be a few feet away. But with a little re-evaluation and the scriptures at our side, those vampires have no power over us. And if that doesn’t work, well, try some garlic.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.