Demons do it naturally…

Mark 5:1-20 (Read it here)

What a great passage… Particularly the last verse, verse 20. It reads: “And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.

Here is a guy who could not be bound because of the many evil spirits living in him. He was living in a graveyard. He had ripped off any shackles and chains other people had used to try and subdue him with. All day and night he tortured himself – cutting himself with stones.  He was a mess.  He was possessed by many evil spirits.

HOWEVER! When he saw Jesus from afar (v6) – he ran to him and worshiped Him.  That’s crazy!

Did the thought ever occur to you that this was quite possibly the very first time this man had ever laid eyes on Jesus? If this man was living in the graveyard, ostracized by everyone, then it’s highly likely no one had ever told him about what Jesus was teaching or who Jesus claimed himself to be. He probably hadn’t heard that Jesus was performing miracles of healing and freedom.

But something in this man knew.

Something in this man knew Jesus.  Something knew his power, his authority, and his might. Something in this man revered Jesus and acknowledged his royalty. I believe that the evil spirits knew Jesus.  They also knew they were subject to him and were following protocol that they had observed and practiced millions of times in Heaven.

When in the presence of the King, you bow down and worship. See Phil 2:9-10.

Why don’t I follow the same protocol?

Why do I sometimes have difficulty doing what demons do naturally?  

OUCH!  That stung just writing it.

Jesus delivered him. Jesus freed him. Here was a man who had a brief encounter with Christ and was freed from a lifetime and lifestyle of bondage and harm.  Jesus changed him.  Jesus changed me.  Jesus can change anyone who submits to him.

When Jesus and the disciples were about to leave. The man begged to go with them. (v18)

How often do I do the exact same thing? When I have a life-impacting encounter with the Lord, how quickly I want to just tarry there and stay in his presence. But that’s not what we’re to do.

Jesus would not let him go with them.

v20 says “And he [the formerly demon-possessed man] departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.”

He told his story and all marveled.

That’s it.  It’s that simple.  That’s all we have to do. Proclaim all that Jesus has done for us.  I tell my story.  You tell your story.

No person can argue, refute, or deny what one man had experienced.

We don’t have to be gifted orators or preachers or evangelists. We simply have to tell our own story.  I can’t tell yours.  You can’t tell mine.  We are the only ones who can tell our own story.

Tell your story.

Running after Papa…

The Command Center

Continuing the the thought of the last post is where Paul picks up in Romans 8.

Remember, I posed the question of why Jesus added the “mind” to the greatest commandment (Mark 12:30), when God himself gave the command (Deut 6:5) without the identification of the “mind”.  Read what Paul has to say about it…

Romans 8:5-6 (NLT) “5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

No wonder Jesus thought it was important.  The mind is the command center of the spiritual battlefront between our spirit (controlled by the Holy Spirit) and our flesh (controlled by the enemy). Wikipedia defines the command center as:

A command center is a central place for carrying out orders and for supervising tasks, also known as a headquarters, or HQ.

Whoever controls the mind, controls the battle.  Note: We can lose a battle, but we’ve already won the war. (Thank you God!) No wonder Paul writes a few chapters later in Romans: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV).

So the question becomes, if the mind is the command center and the key to victory, how do I send in reinforcements (to continue the war metaphor)? Verse 6 says by “… letting the Spirit control our mind…,” but what does that look like?

How does one renew the mind? Is it back to what God’s been saying to me over the last several, seemingly unrelated, journal entries? Thus the beauty of journaling… to be able to go back and see how God is speaking in themes… then BAM! He ties it all together. Cool.  Very cool.

Is it back to the spiritual disciplines? Are Romans 12:2 and 1 Cor 9:24-47 related in this way?

Battleground of the soul

I have known for some time that we are made up of three “parts”: the spirit, the soul, and the flesh.  Additionally, the soul appears to be further divided into three parts: the mind, the will, and the emotions.

The spirit-man is what gets saved when we surrender our will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The spirit IS saved. The soul IS BEING saved and the flesh is the enemies. It’s like the good guys vs. the bad guys (spiritually) all the time in our lives. Jesus has our spirits, the devil has our flesh and they are battling for the soul – the mind, the will, the emotions.

Romans 7 makes it very clear that the remnant of sin from our sin nature is very alive an well in our flesh (Romans 7:18).

Romans 7:22-25 (ESV) 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

It’s like the soul is Hell’s Gate (Lord of the Rings reference). The spirit man is Gandalf, Aragorn and the Fellowship, while the flesh is Sauron’s army of Orc’s. The assault is non-stop. The attack is relentless. Legions and legions of orcs and darkness continually bombard the soul. The mind wants to do one thing, but the flesh wants to do another. (Romans 7:14-20)

I find it interesting that Paul says, “… I myself serve the law of God with my mind…” How does one do that? It the mind – that part of the soul – more closely aligned with the spirit?

The Greek word used for mind, nous, in this passage means “1b reason in the narrower sense, as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil.”

Jesus said (Mark 12:30) “30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” It’s interesting that Jesus inserted the word “mind.” The original version (Deut 6:5) only has “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Why does Jesus add “mind” to the list? I think it’s important. I think it goes back to spiritual discipline. Practicing and exercising those spiritual disciplines to have my spirit (and my mind?) stronger than my flesh (and my emotions?). All the spiritual disciplines involve the mind and exercise the will. Pretty soon, I’ll have my flesh outnumbered!

All that I am – continued…

We play the new testament while we sleep on my MP3 player each night.  This morning I woke up to the passage in Mark, where Jesus tells the Pharisee’s that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29-31)

This certainly feeds into yesterday’s entry.  How do I praise him with all that I am?  By loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  This, of course, could fill pages and pages of blogs and books on the application of just that verse… and if fact, it does… The Bible IS the original blog detailing what that looks like.

For me, today, it is an active love.  It is choosing Him over me.  It is choosing others over me.  It is dying to self and letting Christ live through me; letting His humility and patience overtake my own fleshsuit and all the baggage it has with it.  It is remembering… remembering that MY righteous acts are like filthy rags to Him (Is 64:6).  It is remembering that I have indeed sinned, and continue to sin, and I need to be saved (Is 64:5). It is remembering that there is NO WAY I could do this life without Him and that my wisdom is foolishness to him (I Cor 1:24-25).

It’s remembering that He chose me.

Thank you Lord, for choosing me. Help me praise you with all that I am today, by loving you with all my heart, soul,  mind, and strength and by loving my neighbors as myself.  Help me to have an active love today, engaging in remembering You and all that you have done, are doing, and will do.  In Jesus name.  Amen.