The Devil We Know

In Mark 5, Jesus commanded a legion of demons to leave the body of a man they had been torturing, apparently for quite some time.

And when [Jesus] was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. – Mark 5:2-5

If you recall the rest of the story, Jesus commanded the demons to come out of the man and allowed them to possess a herd of pigs, whereupon the pigs ran down a cliff, into the sea, and drowned.

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After the swineherds saw that, they ran to a nearby city and shared the tale of the incredible miracle – but not with joy, as the Bethlehem shepherds had done some three decades before, after an angel declared the news of Jesus’ birth to them.

Instead, the swineherds were troubled and afraid of what they had witnessed; and, upon hearing the news, the residents of the city were frightened as well. They sought out Jesus, and – instead of bringing their sick to him, worshiping him, or even thanking him – they asked him to leave.

And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. – Mark 5:15-17

It seems crazy that the residents of the area preferred the status quo, especially as they may have tried to help the demon-possessed man at one time. But after many failed attempts, they had become calloused to his terrible condition.

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Then Jesus came along and entered the man’s life, changing him forever. Rather inconveniently, he entered the lives of those people as well.

It seems that they were afraid of what they did not understand. It was easier for them to dwell with the devil they knew, than to accept that something better might be in store for the demon-possessed man, and for themselves.

Their reaction may seem ridiculous – but really, is it that different from how I react to things that would disrupt my organized, sterile little life?

Reach out to the homeless person by the grocery store, and what might happen? Might I actually have to talk to him?

Make the time to write my book, and what then? Could it actually get published? What would I do if it did not get published?

Hand a tract to the angry girl behind the cash register, and what might she do? Read it? Throw it in my face?

So many times, in ways large and small, I reject change because it is disruptive. I cannot predict what will happen to me if I change the status quo.

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I am afraid of being out of control. I am afraid of allowing more into a life that is already overflowing with busyness.

But then, when I consider Jesus, I admit that he was more often out of any sort of comfort zone than in one. He came to change the world, after all.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. – Luke 4:18-19

I pray that I will be able to shove aside the devil I know, and embrace the changes God may have for me.

How do you deal with change? When the Spirit stirs you to step out of your comfort zone, how do you react? I welcome your comments, which are always inspiring and encouraging.

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16 thoughts on “The Devil We Know”

  1. The old cliche ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’ still rings true for so many. I attempt to bring this truth to light as I counsel with folks about the various difficulties in their lives. I simply ask them to take a honest look at where they are and how they got there. The next question is usually the hardest: how has your way of doing things been working so far?
    I do not put myself above this same inquiry. I find it quite easy to slip into comfortable routines where the last thing I want is any change. This causes me no growth and who knows how many blessings I have missed out on because I wanted to stay comfy in my little cocoon.
    Thanks for sharing this thought provoking post,
    Pastor Chuck

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A very good post. We saw the tombs where the man lived, in Israel. It is a desolate area. The swineherds were also angry with Jesus because he had destroyed the source of their income. It is our human nature to resist change, but we know that we can greet change with confidence, knowing how much God desires to bless us and to keep conforming us into the image of Jesus. 🤗

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  3. ‘Self’ hates change. It always wants to control things, kill spirit and get it’s own way. When Jesus is stirring us to action we need to step out and obey…immediately. And if the only reason we do it is to kick ‘self’s butt then Yes and Amen!

    The truth is Jesus will continually call us to actions that make ‘us’ uncomfortable because the ‘us’ is actually just the mask for ‘self’. Think on this. Jesus deliberately will offend your ‘self’ nature to draw it out and expose it.

    That homeless person? I was that man. I stood there and watched many people offended at the appearance of my family when we were homeless, judging us. I saw one thing they couldn’t, their ‘self’ nature being exposed.

    Jesus does this for our own good because ‘self’ is the enemy of our souls. If He exposes it we can repent of ‘self’ and find life.

    So the next time you are challenged, or offended, think for a moment, what part of me is being offended? Is it my ‘self’ nature? If so then repent, and be quick about it for life’s sake.

    Homer Les

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To address needed change in society, to challenge an errant status quo– to take on the very real risk of being a very real disciple out in public. It takes courage. It’s easy to say we want change, but another thing to be an instrument of change. I pray that God will teach me to trust Him even more to supply that courage when needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Naturally we are inclined to stay with the familiar. But faith requires us to move from the familiar to a place “where He will show us”. I adapt to change by reminding myself that even if I don’t like change, I am changing whether consciously or unconsciously. My circle of friendship has changed, my church family has changed since I was a child. I have changed jobs, moved to a different country etc. These were all scary at first but looking back now it was worth it

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