Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Powerless before Demons

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Powerless before Demons

Article excerpt

1 Kings 19:1-15a; Psalms 42,43; Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 8:26-39

PAUL'S WITNESS IS that, in Christ, we may be freed from all the "disciplinarians" that restrict our lives. Entry into that new life of gospel freedom, through baptism, is like changing clothes; that is, changing self. In the new life, all of the old classifications and stratifications are eliminated (Galatians 3:28). In the gospel narrative we see "a man from the city who had demons" (Luke 8:27). We may imagine, in contemporary context, the demons are any form of addiction--drugs, sex, money, power, control, self-promotion. Such demons preclude much of the life that we want to live. But Jesus has the power to give the man a new life of freedom, beyond the grip of all the demons. The man in his new life is "in his right mind" (8:35).

That new life requires bold, risk-taking human agents to be enacted. The Elijah narrative in 1 Kings portrays the risks the prophet ran in obedience to the God of life. And then he is spent (19:4,10)! But then, like the needy man addressed by Jesus, Elijah is cared for and sent on his way. …

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