And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
We all have boundaries. They come when we enter this world. They stay around as we grow. We somehow think that as we get older, get more money, get more authority and responsibility, that we’ll get more freedom and fewer boundaries.
Wrong. We actually get more and more boundaries. With more money, you have to put it someplace, and that takes paperwork. Signing forms. Getting emails and texts about what’s happening with it. And once you think you’re done, you’re not. There’s always, always, always, more emails, texts, conversations.
And then when you do something big with your money, when you buy a house or car, then the fun really begins. Not only is there information to deal with, but you also then have to maintain what you bought. Clean it. Fix it. Paint it. Replace light bulbs and filters. The list is almost endless.
The more stuff we have, the more stuff we have to put someplace. In the closet. In the back room. In the garage. In the attic. In a self-storage locker. In a relative’s house.
And once we put it some place, we have to be able to find it. Or at least that’s the theory. I know that no one reading these words has ever put something away and then been unable to find it.
The more money and things we get, the higher the walls get around us and our lives. Think about the people who win the lottery; do they get freedom? No way. They get walled in by the press, wanting to know how it “feels” and what they’re going to do with all that money. And then there’s the barrier of long-lost friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors who are looking for a taste of their new-found wealth.
Even if we don’t personally struggle with the barriers of things, we have barriers of behaviors to deal with. These are habits that we’re comfortable with, thinking that they’ll keep us safe.
Legion, and all the unclean spirits with him, have become comfortable with the area. They know all the other unclean spirits in the neighborhood. They know the spiritual lay of the land. To move someplace else would disrupt their world. Make them work harder.
So, they do the modern American thing; they try to push Jesus around. They order him, trying to command Jesus to do the easy thing. After all, what’s easier than doing nothing? And they don’t just ask once, they keep on asking. Over and over, they plead with Jesus to get their way.
What’s interesting to me is that this attempt to convince and control Jesus is coming from a guy who couldn’t be convinced or controlled. He couldn’t be held. He couldn’t be handcuffed. He couldn’t be chained. And with all this, the word of Jesus is more than strong enough to hold him.
Approval from Jesus is needed to move. The grip of Jesus power and authority is more than enough to hold these impure spirits. And they even have to ask permission when it comes to where they go next.
To go into a foreign country, you need to get the right papers, fill out the forms correctly, get the right approvals. You need a passport. You’ll need proof of vaccination. Sometimes you’ll need a visa just to cross the border.
But when it comes to Jesus’ control of what we can’t see, or any other part of life, his power, authority, and control are absolute. He needs no one’s approval. He doesn’t need to check to see if it’s been done before. He doesn’t need to kick it around with anyone else. He’s not concerned what it might do to his approval rating. He doesn’t need to send out a question and read all the responses.
Jesus has all the authority necessary – absolute and complete power not just to decide, but to make it happen. He doesn’t have to send out a memo. Have people weigh-in. Tell everyone before he does something. Anything.
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of God I want loving me. Taking care of me. Not a weak God that has to borrow power or authority from someone else. Who needs to be convinced what’s the right thing to do. Who needs to be bribed with promises of obedience.
This impure spirit knows that he can’t move a muscle, go anywhere without the OK from Jesus. He asks permission before moving, acting.
I know it’s a weird thing to ask, but do we need this same perspective? Shouldn’t we be asking Jesus for direction and permission when it comes to the boundaries in our life?
We need to look to Jesus when it comes to moving any of the boundaries of life. Physical boundaries: where we live, where we work. Relational boundaries: who we spend time with, who we become close to, who we need to separate from.
It’s time to give Jesus your boundaries.