Just then there was in the synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?’ (Mark 1:23-24)
Jesus healed, preached, taught, and exorcized demons. In one of the most controversial sermons I ever preached, I said that most of us needed to have some demons exorcized and cast out. In that sermon, I wasn’t talking about demon possession with a “capital D,” but about demon possession with a “small d.”
The small demons I’m referring to are: rage, bitterness, envy, jealousy, revenge, resentment, and there are more. These emotions act like demons because they can hijack our will, destroy our relationships, and consume our lives.
The question isn’t whether these emotions can act like demons. Nor is the question of whether Jesus can exorcise such emotions. The question is whether we want them to be cast out.
Why would we ever hesitate to be freed from our dark emotions? Have you ever known someone who didn’t really want to be freed from their rage, delivered from seeking revenge, or liberated from their envy? Ever known someone who indulged in and who fed such emotions? Has this person ever been you?
The man with the unclean spirit knew who Jesus was and what He could do. That unclean spirit was right to feel threatened. He asks Jesus, “Have you come to destroy us?”
We know the answer to that question. It was, yes, long ago. It is yes now. Jesus came to destroy the demons that can attack us from without and those that can destroy us from within. It’s Jesus’ desire to destroy all demons in order to set us free to live, love, and forgive; free to make a difference for good; free to be the person God desires us to be.
I invite you to look within. Are there some dark emotions you need to be freed from? If so, I encourage you to ask for and draw from the mighty power of Jesus to cast out all “demons” that rob your joy and destroy your peace.
- Can you name some of your own demons, that is, some of your own dark thoughts and emotions?
- When you have acknowledged those dark thoughts and emotions, have you more often wanted Jesus to exorcise them, or have you more often wanted to cultivate and indulge them?
- Are you harboring any emotions, attitudes, or behaviors that need to be exorcised and cast out? If so, are you crying out to Jesus for His help and power?