Trapped. Stuck. Imprisoned. I don’t know too many people who are comfortable in those circumstances. No one likes the feeling of his or her freedom being limited. That is just what sin does to us though. It corners us in a cell of selfishness that seems impossible to escape. That is why what Jesus did for us on the cross is so amazing! Because of His life, death, resurrection, and glorification we have been liberated. Even so, I’m convinced that the enemy still wishes to keep us captive. Let us eavesdrop on what Jesus does when He meets a slave in freedom.

1) Read Matthew 8:28, Mark 5:1, 2
Here we see that the two authors have two different accounts of the same incident. Don’t be distracted by the differences, but rather focus in on the similarities. Does it strike you as odd that someone who is demon-possessed runs toward Jesus rather than away from Him? Isn’t the grace of God amazing in that when you think you’re far, He’s so close? Tell us about a time when you ran into God in an unexpected place. We would love to hear about it here at Message on Social Media using #MessageMag.

2) Read Matthew 8:29, Mark 5:7, 8
Do you see the ownership that the demons proclaim over the ones they possess? I can’t sugar-coat the reality that evil is contagious. It spreads without permission. I once heard a preacher address how one could possibly get thousands of demons in them. His answer was simple. “One at a time.” Maybe demon possession is more extreme than your current predicament. We all can admit that doing wrong has a tendency to get out of control quickly. Is there a song, scripture, poem, or anything that you refer to when it seems life is getting out of control? Tell us about it using #MessageMag on Social Media.

3) Read Mark 5:3, 4
I want you to take your time reading and meditating on this particular portion of the story. Take some time to ask God for His Spirit’s guidance in seeing yourself in this man. Pray. If you want someone to pray with you e-mail me at pastor.rashad.burden@gmail.com.

4) Read Mark 5:3, 4
This man is not just demon-possessed, but it seems that people have tried to either help him or themselves by putting chains on him. We see that he hurts other people and himself, and someone thought the solution was chains. Clearly, though, external boundaries proved insufficient. Don’t we have a tendency to do the same thing? We sometimes think that if we put enough rules, laws, and constraints into place that we can change people and maybe ourselves. Have you ever tried to use rules to change who you are to no avail? Share your experience with us using #MessageMag.

5) Read Psalm 51
David knew something that we need to know. Our actions are more about the internal than the external. Read his words and think about how people tried to handle the man who was demon possessed.

6) Read Mark 5:3, 4
I want to bring your attention to the fact that though the man was chained, he exercised supernatural strength to break the chains, yet he was still demon-possessed. He was able to get an appearance of freedom, but at the end of the day, the devil was still guiding his life. I wonder if Satan allows us to get victories from time to time as long as we let him keep his hand on the controls? It’s a humbling thought that you can have chains broken but still be stuck.

7) Read Matthew 8:32, Mark 5:18-20
Jesus didn’t speak to the chains; He spoke to the evil within. We all are susceptible to being a slave in our freedom, if we don’t allow Jesus to have a conversation with the worst parts of us. I’m convinced that if we do, our response will be much like that of the demoniac in that we are begging Jesus to go wherever He goes.

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.

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