Most of the people I encounter would love for this blog to wander off into the occult since the word "demon" is in the title of this post. We love the flashy, uncommon, mythical, sci-fi, fantasy and fantastic. I admit to being an X-files watcher and know all about the escapades of agents Mulder and Scully. But what about real life?
First, let me say I am a firm believer that Scripture doesn't mention demons lightly. They were (and I believe are) real and dangerous. In Matthew 8 Jesus encounters demons that have violently manifested themselves in two men. The demon-possessed men were so violent that people could not travel near the tombs in which the men lived. For these two men it must have been terrible. For Jesus, it was another day at the office. Jesus knew there were powers, demons and forces of evil that existed beyond sight. Jesus knows they still exist, whether we acknowledge them or not. And these demons are not the fictional creations of a TV series or a movie.
Jesus' actions in Matthew 8 tell us some things about facing the demons of today. The first thing He does is meet them (He encounters them directly). I wonder if this little part of the story means Jesus saw them for what they were ... looked beyond the facade of possessed flesh and bone ... looked into the hearts behind the violence of the two men? I believe so, and I wonder if we should look to the heart of our demons? When I encounter a person in the throes of evil, should I try to see what Jesus saw? Maybe that is part of the love of Celebrate Recovery as we try to be agents of Jesus, 'recovering' the lost humanity in a world filled with some pretty evil stuff, including demons! Maybe much of our ministry is just that ... being Jesus' hands and feet, seeing past demons, infirmity and evil and seeing into the hearts of God's created people.
The second thing Jesus does is to see that life for these two men cannot go on like this. I see so many people who repeat the patterns of hurt, pain and even evil because they have become too familiar with their demons. Drugs are destroying them ... but that demon has become familiar. Greed is obsessing them ... but that demon is insatiable. Narcissism is controlling them ... but self is a demon on steroids! Fear controls their every move ... but that demon thrives on attention. And hate ... that demon justifies itself so that we see it as protection, righteousness and justification. We either ignore the existence of these demons or we give up and say "that's just how I am" or "I just can't do life any differently." Do we believe our feelings, our infirmities, or do we believe Jesus who tells us He has overcome the world? I hope that answer is overt and evident!
The final thing Jesus does is send the demons out. In the story the demons are sent into a herd of pigs (I have always felt sorry for those pigs). But this blog is about your story and my story. Do we allow Jesus to send out our demons, or do we give them an inviting home right in the living room in our heart? It's time! Time to allow Jesus to do in us what He did in this story. Cast out those demons. See them for what they are. Recover our true self and our real identity. Give us life and give it to us abundantly! Randy