The Lord is continuing to stir my heart as I read the account of the demon possessed man in Mark 5. If you haven’t read the first post on this story, you can check it out here – The Naked Gadarene. Something I often try to do when I read the Bible is to put my name in the story. In this example, what if I were the demon possessed man hiding in a cave? What would I need to do to experience freedom if I were in this situation? As I have asked these questions, the Holy Spirit has given me a few answers that I think we need to pay attention to. Here is one of those answers.
When Jesus arrives on the shore, the man immediately meets Him there and begins to worship Him. This is important. It was the man that came to Jesus. There is a phenomenon that I call “victimized by the sovereignty of God.” Because people have a misunderstanding of His sovereignty, they allow themselves to become a victim and settle for their current circumstances without making the decision to change something in their own lives. In this story, it is my opinion that it was the sovereignty of God that Jesus showed up but it was the response of the man that brought him into freedom. The presence of Jesus will come into your situation but it is how you respond to it that will determine the outcome.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8
You will notice time and time again throughout the Gospel where Jesus is in a certain town, and it appears that He is not planning to heal anyone until someone reaches out and compels Him. Even in this very chapter of Mark, Jesus is with a multitude of people and a man comes and falls at His feet asking Him to heal his daughter. As Jesus is on His way to heal the man’s daughter, a woman with an issue of blood reaches out and touches Him and is immediately healed of the issue that she has dealt with for 12 years. Again, it was the sovereignty of God that Jesus was in their city but it was their response to His presence that brought breakthrough for them.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7
A negative example of this is found in Mark 6 when Jesus is in His hometown of Nazareth. Jesus begins to teach them and they responded with offense and unbelief. The Bible says in verse 5 that because of this, “He could do no miracles there.” I wonder how often this happens in our lives? The same Jesus that just healed a man possessed by a legion of demons, healed a woman with an issue of blood for 12 years, and raised a girl from the dead could not do any miracles in their town because they did not respond appropriately to His presence.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6
He comes wherever He wants but He only stays wherever He is welcome. He promised that He would show up, but it is our job to make a really big deal about it when He does.
The Bible says that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The Bible also says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. If we submit ourselves to Him, the devil will flee. There are many other examples in Scripture that imply that the initiation is on our part. However, it’s not that we can create something out of our own strength. We can do nothing apart from Him. The presence of Jesus must be there, but we must respond appropriately and the only appropriate response to His presence is wholehearted love and adoration. I want to be someone who responds to His presence in my life no matter the circumstances. You have a decision to make everyday of your life – you can respond to His presence with offense and unbelief, or you can respond with wholehearted love. What are you going to do when He shows up on your side of the sea?