Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Excitement in the boat, part 23: Empty Space

Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons. The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. (Luke 8:30-31 NLT)

Legion. Any way you define that, it's a large number. The Roman military organization was built on a precise and very interesting system that is too detailed for this post. Suffice it to say that a legion, including both soldiers and the ancillary troops needed to support them, consisted of just under 6,000 men. Imagine, then, a legion of demons! 

You may be wondering how someone ends up with 6,000 demons inside, wrestling for control. Jesus' explanation for this is recorded in Matthew's gospel. 

 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45 NLT)

An evil spirit torments a person and then leaves, either because the tormented person or someone else commands it to leave. The tormented one feels great relief but does nothing to fill the void left in his heart and mind. The evil spirit, always seeking more territory, finds seven more evil spirits, invites them to join him, and returns. Finding the void left by his leaving still empty, he moves back in with all his evil companions. The next time there is a struggle to banish these spirits, eight spirits leave and return to the unfilled void with seven new companions each. Suddenly, there are not eight demons but 64. [(1+7) x 8=64] it doesn't take long to have a legion of evil spirits, does it?

There is one key factor in the leaving and returning process, and that is unfilled space. The evil spirits can return because the space they left remains empty. What then can protect the tormented one from further torment? Filling the heart-space with something more powerful is the only hope. Jesus. Only Jesus. 

When we are freed from those things that oppress us, whether it be a recurring sin or an evil spirit, the only way to stay completely free is to fill our hearts with Christ, flood our minds with the truth of Scripture, and immerse ourselves in the relationship only God can provide. 

Have you struggled with something over and over again? Perhaps the problem is empty space. Maybe what is needed is a filling of that space with all that our Lord offers us. What Jesus promised was true freedom, and it is available today. Choose freedom. 

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NASB)

Link to last night's post is here:
Our terrorist/terror group of the week is the former ISIS, now the Islamic State. Their leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. To learn more about them and their goal of spreading radical jihad and sharia rule throughout the world, click here: