The Bare Soul -
August 24, 2008
Matthew 8:29 - And they cried out, saying, " What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?"
On our recent trip to London, Rebecca and I were returning to our apartment via the "Tube" (the London Underground Subway). She found a seat and I sat diagonally across from her as we carried on a conversation. Seated diagonally to my left and facing me, there was a young man that I didn't give much notice to -- at first. As my wife and I continued chatting, the bizarre behavior of the young man became more and more apparent. I turned to look at him at one point and he started cursing at me, telling me "Yank, go home!!" I cut off my conversation with Rebecca and turned back in my seat to try to find out what was troubling this soul. I started out by telling him that Jesus Christ could and would help him, if he would but trust in Him. He swore at me some more and started kicking the empty seat next to me, the one he was facing. He was obviously very agitated at the name of Jesus and my promise that I would pray for him. He kept kicking the seat saying, "You have a devil" and "You're a devil". This went on for a bit longer as I continued to tell him that Jesus loved him. He finally ended up getting off at a stop as we continued on to our destination.
In today's world, it is not a popular notion to believe in demons and the Devil. People with anti-social behavior in our modern world are generally diagnosed as sociopaths, to a lower or higher degree of sickness. Those with more apparent madness or insanity are generally diagnosed as schizophrenic or even psychopathic. I do not profess to be a doctor, however I do know behavior that I have witnessed at various times fitting in one or two categories -- mental illness or spiritual sickness. With the former, there are the aforementioned labels. With spiritual sickness, there is the implication that a deeper, more sinister force is at work -- a force that will affect some people's lives in moderate ways while with other it seems as if they are truly "possessed" by another dark personality. For some, it is truly unnerving to believe that there are random spirits of devilish design that seek to control and ultimately destroy their apparent victims. It is much more comfortable in our educated society to believe that such wild, erratic and dark behavior is merely a physiological or psychological malfunction that can be treated by medication, therapy, and rehabilitation. The stark fact is, however, that we know very little about mental illness even with our broad medical knowledge. Yet, Jesus knew exactly the cause and the remedy when He encountered these sort of persons. Probably the most famous scripture regarding Jesus' dealing with the demon-possessed is in Luke 8:26-39. The man was possessed with "Legion", a name spoken by the demons because they were many. Interestingly, they begged Jesus not to send them back to the abyss (or Hades as some translations infer), but to send them into the nearby herd of swine. Jesus does what they ask and the pigs perish, but the man is totally delivered -- a true demonstration of the power of God!
The church has struggled through apparent times of powerlessness the past two-thousand years. Throughout the centuries, Holy Ghost power has ebbed and flowed as societies have either needed it and cried out for it or they have discounted it, turning to the world for its answers. Today, God has moved in powerful ways to set the oppressed free on the Asian, African, and South American continents. He has moved powerfully because there is no equivocation or argument that people are "demonically possessed" and are in need of deliverance. These cultures believe it, and are thereby seeing more people set free from their afflictions than so-called western societies. Are these mislead and superstitious? Should they be relying on western medicines and therapies or practicing what God has said in Mark 16:17?: These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, ... . Remember, Jesus is either who He said He was or He is a liar. Either we believe all that He says to us through His scripture or we discount it all. There is no picking and choosing.
Personally, I came up short with my recent encounter. I would have desired to be able to look that young man in the eye on the "Tube" in the London Underground and to rebuke the demons out of his life in the name of Jesus, for I truly believe that the man was demon oppressed. Sadly, I am a believer that lacks belief on many days of my Christian walk. My future hope for myself and others is that God would begin to raise up those who would not equivocate with evil when confronted by it, but to stand against it with the power of Jesus Christ. It is good and fine to tell a demoniac about the love of Jesus Christ. It is a far better thing to be able to GIVE them the love of Jesus by breaking the bonds over their heart and life. My friends, are you as struck by your lack of power in the face of evil as I was on that day? Have you poured out your heart to your Savior and asked Him not to leave you any longer as an orphan that's bereft of His life-changing unction toward others? Until we do, it will be status quo. We can rationalize the demonically oppressed as those merely needing mental health and therapy. Jesus was clear and unapologetic about those needing liberation from their devilish oppressors. When we open our eyes and believe that there truly is evil that seeks to bind every human life and separate them from the love of God, then we can draw upon the Grace of the Lord in prayer to become the men and women of God that He desires.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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