In today's society, it is easy for men to be held captive by something in their lives: anger, pornography, etc. Deep inside, these men love God and want to serve Him, yet these sins and oppressions keep them held captive to sin, making them feel helpless and hopeless to change. However, no man needs to stay trapped in a sin. Every man can break free and be used mightily by God. The man from Gadarenes is a perfect example.
The Bible doesn't tell us this man's name, but his story is a powerful one. The first time we read of him, we find him in the cemetery. I am sure your mind immediately thinks he must be mourning the loss of a loved one. Actually, he wasn't visiting the cemetery. He lived there. He was controlled by demonic influences. The demons cause this man to go crazy. When they came on him, he would lose control. The townspeople banned him from the town and made him live in the cemetery. They went as far as to chain him up in the cemetery, but the demonic influence was so great he would break the chains and go free, wandering through the cemetery naked, cutting and mutilating his body. How sad to see the hold the enemy had on this man's life. No one could help him, but Jesus.
One day, Jesus and His disciples came ashore near the cemetery where the man lived. The demons that controlled him freaked out when they saw Jesus coming. They caused the man to run up to Jesus and start worshipping Him. Immediately, Jesus commanded them to leave. So, the demons started begging Jesus not to torture them. The demons knew their rule of tyranny was over and they could no longer control the man. They begged Jesus to send them somewhere, anywhere, but to the pit of Hell.
Jesus spoke directly to the demon in the man and asked his name. The demon replied that his name was Legion, for they were many. They begged Jesus to send them into a herd of pigs grazing nearby instead of to an eternity in the pit of Hell. Jesus agreed. They left the man, entered the pigs, and caused the pigs to run off a cliff into the sea! The man was instantly set free! He put clothes on and was able to think and talk clearly. He wanted to go with Jesus and follow Him. However, Jesus didn't take the man along with Him. Instead, He told him to go back home to his family and friends and tell them how God had been merciful to him and set him free. I love how this scripture passage ends in Mark 5...
19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (NKJV)
Not only was this man set free, but God was able to take him and use him to preach the Gospel to other people! God used him despite his past. If God could use this man, He can definitely use you! You may be thinking, "I may have my issues, but I am not demon possessed. I am a responsible adult who has full control of myself. I just struggle with certain areas." My reply is this: if you struggle with certain areas, then you don't have full control of yourself. If you have sins or issues that you just can't seem to conquer, it is likely that you have given ground to demonic oppression in your life. A stronghold of evil has developed, and you are unable to break free on your own. However, there can be freedom.
I encourage you to pray about the area you struggle in your life. Ask God to set you free from any demonic influences your sin has allowed to enter your life. I strongly suggest going through a deliverance session with a trained spiritual warfare counselor. E-mail me at Jamie@notyourdadministries if you do not know of one. There is freedom and victory for all God's children, and a renewed life of loving and serving God. All it requires is admitting you have a need and want to be set free. I encourage you to make that decision today.