Every once in a while, I come across a passage of Scripture that just grabs me and won't let go until I've wrestled with it for a while. Sometimes it’s a process of revelation for me, while at other times it is more conviction that anything else. The latest passage I have stepped into the ring with is of the latter. That seems to be happening a lot lately, but in the long run it’s a good thing.
You might be familiar with this latest challenge to my comfort zone. It is found in Mark chapter five, and it deals with Jesus removing demons from a possessed man and sending them into a herd of pigs. It's a pretty popular passage and I've read it many times before, but this time God turned on the light, so to speak, and I see it differently than I have before.
Jesus is confronting a host ( some versions say Legion, I like the Message version that says Mob) of demons that have been tormenting this man for a very long time and forcing the man to act insanely and live in a cemetery of all places.
The demons recognizing who Jesus is, beg him not to make them leave the man or the area they were in. Instead they ask that Jesus send them into a herd of pigs and let them live there. Jesus, surely knowing what is going to happen, obliges them . Needless to say the pigs freak out and promptly throw themselves off a cliff and into the sea, where they drown.
The people who observed this were at first scared, then in awe of Jesus, but then, and get this, they get angry at Jesus because he killed their pigs! They actually run him out of town! That blows me away!
But then God started working on me about the meaning of this passage and what application it has in my own life. Here's what He showed me. I understand that Jesus is God in the flesh and that He performed a miracle here. I understand that He showed ultimate authority over the demons. I got all that. What I didn't realize, and now do, is that I too, spend a lot of time worrying about the pigs. Let me explain.
It's easy for me to be a follower of Christ if all it involves is believing that He is God and has authority over everything. It's easy because it does not directly involve my time, my efforts, or my possessions. My "pigs". Being a Christ follower becomes difficult when Jesus starts affecting my lifestyle, my location, how I spend my time, or my possessions. In other words, when I need to give up something in order to get closer to Him.
That's why the people in Mark were so upset. They lost their pigs, for many a source of income or food. But they had just witnessed Jesus in the flesh, performing an amazing miracle! In the end however, it was all about the pigs.
So, I need to be less concerned about the "pigs" in my life and start concentrating on the person and the power of Jesus Christ. He can do whatever He wants with me and my stuff if it brings me closer to him. That's huge for me to say, and even tougher to live out. But I need to quit worrying about the pigs.
It's like Red Bull For The Soul!!
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