Miracles. Demon possession. Healings. These words evoke different responses from different people. As we open up and take our moment in Mark today, the whole encounter with a demon possessed man might frighten some people. However, as we witness Jesus’ actions, believers can take courage in walking in the authority and identity that Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection leaves behind for us.
This is not the first time Jesus has been approached by someone with an unclean spirit or demon possession. This is the main point that I wish to address. Never in my study do I remember Jesus ever intentionally setting out in search of Satan and his workings in the world. Jesus only set out to seek and to save those who were lost (Luke 19:10) and to do the will of His Father (John 6:38, 4:34). While He was doing the will of His Father, unclean spirits and demons approached Him. Jesus did not shudder or fear, but instead was able to walk in the authority given to Him by God, the Father to rebuke and cast them out and even silence them. It is this example that we as believers should walk in. A. W. Tozer gives great insight into this practice in his book Born After Midnight.
“I know Christians who are so engrossed with the fight against evil spirits that they are in a state of constant turmoil. Their touching effort to hold the devil at bay exhausts them nervously and physically, and they manage to stay alive only by frantically calling on God and rebuking the devil in the name of Christ. These are innocent spiritists in reverse and are devil-conscious to a point of being borderline neurotics. They grow sensitive and suspicious and always manage to locate an evil spirit as the cause back of everything that irritates them; then their hackles stand straight up and they begin to order the devil about in a loud voice, but their nervous gestures tell how deeply frightened they are.
The bad thing about all of this is that it is contagious and will soon turn a joyous, worshipful congregation into a crowd of scared and jumpy persons, nervous and completely unhappy.
The scriptural way to see things is to set the Lord always before us, put Christ in the center of our vision, and if Satan is lurking around he will appear on the margin only and be seen as but a shadow on the edge of the brightness. It is always wrong to reverse this—to set Satan in the focus of our vision and push God out to the margin. Nothing but tragedy can come from such inversion.
The best way to keep the enemy out is to keep Christ in. The sheep need not be terrified by the wolf; they have but to stay close to the shepherd.
The instructed Christian whose faculties have been developed by the Word and the Spirit will not fear the devil. When necessary he will stand against the powers of darkness and overcome them by the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony. He will recognize the peril in which he lives and will know what to do about it, but he will practice the presence of God and never allow himself to become devil-conscious” (42-43)
I love the cool weather and the small amount of changes in the color of nature fall brings to Texas. But, October is also a time a lot of people gear up for the “great night” of trick or treating and dressing up. Today’s moment reminds us as believers not to work ourselves into frenzy over Satan’s night of glory, but to fix our eyes on Jesus and let Him be the center of our lives. As we walk in the light of His presence (Psalm 89:15) and continue to live out our daily walk with God, bearing good fruit, when we do encounter demons lurking around in the shadows, we need not be afraid, but wholly lean on Jesus name, rebuke them and they must leave.