Jesus to the Man Delivered of Demons: Fight the Battle in Your Own Backyard


Early this morning, I was reading in Luke, Chapter 8, about the demon-possessed man named ‘Legion’ (due to the multitude of demons that had, and continued to, torment his spirit). Short story shorter, Jesus drew out the demons and sent them into a herd of pigs. The swine, freshly demon-possessed, blindly ran off a cliff and drowned in the lake below. Pretty incredible, huh? The man, Legion, was immediately freed from a life of torment and suffering. As a result of his gratitude toward the healing hand of Jesus, he begged to join Jesus in His ministry. Jesus told him no, and sent him back to his town, instructing him to share what God had done for him there.

When the locals saw what Jesus had done, they were fearful and asked him to leave their community. They asked Jesus to leave! After witnessing him drive out demons? That seems atrocious to me. I mean, who doesn’t want a demon-slayer to stay and see what other mighty works of which they are capable? However, the Bible tells us that the townspeople’s fear was greater than their faith. And did Jesus fight them? No. He left.

Sometimes the best thing one can do is ‘leave’. Based on the popular new-age saying, ‘What you resist, persists’. We can beg, plead, hope and pray for a situation to change, but we are incapable of changing another’s heart. Only God can do that type of miraculous healing. And His message to us, based on this incredible account of a demon-possessed man in the New Testament, may simply be, ‘move on’.

It occurred to me that the man Jesus healed wanted to go with him, he desired to be a part of the traveling ministry Jesus led that positively changed the world from his day to that of ours today. Why would Jesus tell him no? Perhaps because his own testimony (being cured of a legion of demons is quite a come-back story!) held more weight in the town where he lived, with a community that saw the before and after versions of this man’s very soul, than a life on the road with strangers who were not privy to his miraculous transformation.

We are not all called to be ministers, visionaries, prophets, missionaries, and community-changers. I strongly believe that, while God ‘qualifies the called’, He also pours out His Holy Spirit on his children right smack-dab where they are planted, often in the desert seasons of life. After all, where you are planted is likely where you have the most potential to grow.

Rather than preach the Word to starving children in (fill in the blank), God may be telling you to open your eyes to your own backyard. The struggling neighbor in need, the coworker going through a bitter divorce, the stranger in the grocery store line that cannot afford all the items on the conveyor belt. God can turn the most humble gesture of kindness, into a life-changing wave of transformation, something that can turn the tides of someone’s struggle, without you or me even knowing this was His plan all along.

The next time you feel like you are not ‘doing enough’, ‘being enough’, or ‘living enough’, let me humbly remind you that hundreds of years ago, a demon-possessed man was healed by the very Son of Man, and subsequently told to give God credit for this miracle of miracles….not on the road, not in a foreign land, not even in the next town from his, he was instructed to tell of this great healing… his ‘home’.

That man did what he was told, and I firmly believe that the impact of his changed life held far more weight among his ‘own’ than it would have preaching and teaching to those not privy to his transformation, on the mission road. This brings whole new meaning to ‘Bloom Where You are Planted’, because quite honestly, every dark corner of this fallen world is a mission field. There is no shortage of opportunity. And your absolute greatest impact might just be the family, church, neighborhood, community in which you were fatefully placed.


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