This is my response to Dr. Ferguson’s sermon August 9, “Bay of Pigs” out of Luke 8:26-39. Clearly, Jesus thought that one man’s soul was worth more than an entire herd of pigs, a farmer’s entire livelihood in those days. He set the demon possessed man free for two reasons: 1) to display his power over the spiritual forces of this world, and 2) because the man wanted to be set free from his bondage. The Bible does not state why the man was in this position, but he “tore his clothes” indicating he longed to be set free. In verse 36, it is recorded that after Jesus commanded the demons leave the man, he was sitting in his right mind and “had been healed” or “saved” in other versions.
I was challenged by what Dr Ferguson said today. Am I walking in the freedom Christ has set me free from bondage? Or am I dappling in involvement in sin again? We can fool ourselves into thinking what we are doing is “harmless”. If it does not give us peace, that is a sign that the Holy Spirit is saying something is not right here. A verse that speaks to me is Gal. 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Further, I was challenged to question myself if I am telling of what Christ has done in my life. When was the last time I opened my mouth for Jesus? Who will I tell what wonderful things the Lord did? I am afraid because I may think it is too embarrassing or private. What then, did I heal myself? I could not! He wants to be glorified in us. We are to tell of his great deeds. After the demon possessed man was healed in Luke 8 wanted to stay by Jesus’ side, but He told him “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” The Psalmist had it right: “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things!” (98) and “the Lord has set the prisoners free.” (146:7).
Anything that we place more importance on in our lives other than finding our sustenance in the Lord can hold us in bondage and obscure our relationship with the Lord from growing. I did not realize how much, in trying to take control over my life, I had let it control me. I worshiped God and trusted in Him for my salvation, but under it all I had a burden that I could not let go. I asked the Lord to take it away many times. I remember going for walks in the Forest and just crying and screaming out to God and falling in the dirt begging Him to take it away. I couldn’t understand why God would let me live like this if I was His. But I was not completely ready to trust Him and give up control.
In experiences over the last 8 years I have come to realize that before God would heal me and set me free from the bondage I was under, I had to come to a place were I could confess my sin and admit I need help. In doing so, I gave up control. That was the scariest moment of my life, opening up to other believers about my burden, but it was so freeing! James tells us (5:16) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. It’s an interesting principle, that God would want us to humble ourselves and be vulnerable before each other. I Peter 5 talks about humility and be humble before one another because “God opposed the proud but gives grace to the humble.” We know 1 John 1:9 that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all our unrighteousness.” So we must confess not only to God, but before men. When sin is out in the light, it has less power over us. Let someone know if you are struggling with something. That’s what the body of believers is for. If they judge you and do not support you in prayer that is their sin. Vulnerability gives freedom.
I am convinced that humans want three things: control, power, and success. Don’t we? It is a normal human tendency to want control, but that is the root of many of the issues in our lives.Sometimes I think it will be a life long battle. I need daily reminders everyday to give Him control. I need reminders that I need to accept help from others, that I can’t fix everything myself. Perhaps you are caught in a self-destroying habit. Whether public or private, you feel bound. That is why Christ came into the world, to free us from the bondage of sin and death. He has set me free. If you want to be free, begin by asking Him.