By Allen White
When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Read that last sentence again – “They pleaded with [Jesus] to leave their region.” The whole town wanted Jesus out of town. But, why? Didn’t Jesus solve their problem?
The demon-possessed men were “so violent that no one could pass that way.” Wasn’t it helpful to the townspeople to remove this threat from their neighborhood? Now, they could peacefully pass through the area. They no longer had to fear these two men. But, rather than celebrating Jesus’ power and the deliverance of the two men, they wanted Jesus to leave.
Were these a bunch of commodity traders who just saw pork bellies falling? (Sorry. I couldn’t resist). Or, had the townspeople pledged so many things “when pigs fly” that they were now overly obligated? (Okay, I’ll stop).
The situation involving the threat of the demon-possessed men was bad, but they knew how to avoid it. Sure, they might have to take the long way around, but they knew what they were up against. With Jesus, well, they weren’t sure what they had. Two free men and a bunch of dead pigs was way out of the norm. Even though what they had before was bad, it was familiar. They knew how to deal with the problems. They didn’t know what to do with Jesus.
What bad things in our lives give us a sense of security? “If I’m always doing ten things, people will understand why I can’t succeed at one thing.” The person’s fear is that they can’t succeed. The multitasking becomes their excuse. “If I could shake this bad habit, I know that I would be healthier physically and emotionally. But, it’s my go-to, and I enjoy it.” Why do we resist change when we know it will bring freedom?
Familiar things are comfortable, even when they’re not good for us. Either we’ve lost hope that things can get better or we just don’t want to exert the effort. We live dissatisfying, mediocre lives when significance is within our reach.
I’ve heard speakers over the years say that the safest place in the universe is being in the center of God’s will. I’ve found that it’s actually the most dangerous place, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We find safety in the things we feel that we can control. The deception is that eventually these things control us. If you don’t believe that’s true, then why haven’t you quit already?
The question for all of us is if we really want Jesus’ power in our lives. It might be too much for us. It’s certainly going to challenge our status quo and lead us toward radical change.
Are you ready to allow Jesus to break the rules in your life? Are you willing to let go of the things that make you feel secure? If you are, then you’ll need to find some help. Who has victory in this area of their life? Could they help you? A support group or Celebrate Recovery might be the way. A prayer partner, life coach or accountability partner might show the way.
If you are willing, God is able.
More from Allen White: allenwhite.org