As we approach Independence Day here in the United States, I am inspired by the Lord this evening as I read Luke chapter 8 verses 26 through 39.
For those of you familiar with the passage, you will remember Jesus and his disciples going across the lake from Galilee and a demon-possessed man meeting them there. Some things that really stood out to me through the Holy Spirit this time but I really hadn’t processed before, I’m going to share with you, here.
In II Timothy 1:7, God tells us that he does not give us, “a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind.” The man they encountered was not of sound mind. He was absolutely tormented by the multitude of demons that had taken up residence within his soul. Satan only comes to steal, kill and destroy according to John 10:10. But the Lord gives us life, an abundant life. Yes, with Him we have a robust, full, ample life filled with His joy.
Notice too how the man was found naked and homeless. Working in the behavioral health field, many of the clients that we see are found naked, not in their right mind and are homeless. Very striking.
We also see that he was living among the tombs. How many of us are really merely existing on death’s front porch? This man was animate in the midst of the inanimate. Yet, he was not truly living.
It says, in verse 29, that, “he had been driven by the demon into solitary places.” Isn’t that just like the enemy? He tries to rob you of your peace and your mental health and get you alone where he can rain down his fear upon you. For some of us this has come in the form of psychological, physical and/or sexual violence. For many, it may come through addictions, generational curses or behavior patterns or other means.
And I find it so fascinating that the townspeople asked Jesus, The Liberator of The Afflicted Man to leave because they were afraid of Him and what He had done. I don’t mean that I judge these people, for I, as many of you, have run from the very Giver of Life. Somehow, sometimes we seem to prefer the base and treacherous known, versus allowing ourselves to experience and become familiar with that which can save us from ourselves, from the enemy…
Notice all that Jesus restored to this man. Not only did He give him a sound mind but He dressed him or had his disciples do so. The passage doesn’t clearly state that point. What does the dressing represent? I believe it has many dimensions. In the literal, it gave him dignity to have his body covered and allowed him some privacy. It also is reminiscent of the prodigal son having a robe put on him by his adoring father that wants to care for him. Further, it reminds us of the robes the martyrs will one day get recieve (Revelation 6:11). It also represents the complete opposite of what the enemy offered. Instead of lack, the need was met by Love Himself. Nakedness also represent a vulnerability and an exposure that can leave someone in a very fear-riddled state. But God said, “perfect Love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).
After he was changed and healed, he became Christ’s witness to those around him. So please remember, your healing isn’t just about or for you. What tombs or dead areas have you walked out of in order to have the opportunity to proclaim His goodness today?