"In their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 'Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.' Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be silent and come out of him!' When the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, it came out of him" (Mark 1:23–26).
How do you battle something that is purely evil?
When a bully comes along and taunts and hits a weaker child in the playground, you can do something about that.
When a maniac gains control of a nation, terrorizes and seeks world control, armies come together in justice to defeat him.
But who can help a person possessed by an evil spirit? Who can deliver the person trapped and dominated by an agency not his or her own?
There are evils so deep only God can deliver.
Mark gives us several accounts of that deep evil. Later, in Mark 5, Jesus frees a man bound by a legion of demons—a man so wild he lived among the tombs and was often bound with ropes and chains. This possessed man in the Capernaum synagogue had a lighter case of demonic possession. He didn't live away from people. Others would even have thought him normal; after all, he attended synagogue along with everyone else.
But in the presence of Jesus the deep evil came spilling out. The man knew two things about Jesus: His identity (the Holy One of God) and His mission (to destroy the devil and his demons).
Perhaps you have never witnessed demonic possession. Maybe you think it is simply a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia or some other mental illness. Jesus took demonic possession as fact and gave a treatment for it—deliverance!
This passage in the gospel always sets me to wondering whether in our own church meetings there are people who come Sunday after Sunday, go through the motions of worship and hearing the Word, but the evil in them never comes out because there is no powerful presence of Christ in the service.
Is there deep evil in you? Oh, you may not be possessed by a spirit other than your own, but are you dealing with things in your life that, despite your best efforts, you cannot control or get free from? Bulimia? Anorexia? Pornography? Addiction to alcohol, nicotine, prescription or illegal drugs, to name a few?
Our society is full of people who deep down cry out to be free from denigrating and life-controlling destructive behaviors.
Jesus' goal for you is totally different than the devil's. The devil wants to destroy you, to completely ruin your life. Jesus wants to save you, to set you free. The good news of Jesus is that He not only wants to eradicate the deep evil in you, He also has the power to do so.
Today, multiplied millions of people have been set free by Jesus. There is no bondage He cannot break, no evil strong enough to resist His power. How do you tap into that power? Go the source— Jesus—and ask Him to help you! He cares for you!
A Prayer: "Strong Lord Jesus, You have power to root out from my life all that is unlike You, all that is harmful to me. I invite You to set me free so that I can live joyfully and productively."
The preceding was excerpted from Dr. Wood's forthcoming book, Fearless: How Jesus Changes Everything, available in September from Vital Resources.
George O. Wood is the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. For the original article, visit georgeowood.com.
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