Tuesday, September 2, 2014

the comfort of the familiar

In Mark, chapter 5, there is the story of Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee and finding a man possessed by an evil spirit. It turned out that he actually was possessed by a number of evil spirits. His life was miserable and he lived in the midst of a cemetery and often was chained to keep him under control. He was so unhappy with his life that he frequently attempted suicide. Jesus immediately recognized that he was controlled by evil spirits and he confronted those spirits and ultimately cast them out into a large herd of pigs feeding on a hillside nearby. The many spirits in the man left him and inhabited 2,000 pigs, which immediately plunged down a steep hillside and drowned in the water below. As witnesses told others what happened many people came and saw the man who had been possessed, now in his right mind. They had an interesting reaction, captured in verse 17: 'And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone'. You would think the people would be happy that the man who had been plagued with demons was now in his right mind, but they were distressed because Jesus had come in and turned their familiar world upside down. They were more content to have the daily drama of the man with a problem than they were to see that man set free from his problems. It occurs to me that we can become too comfortable with our lives, including those aspects that need the Lord's touch for change. Do we want Jesus to come across the water and land on our shore and upset our comfortable lives? Are we open to transformation? Or are we comfortable with an unhealthy state?
Rob Smith

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