Jesus Christ has been given authority over Satan and his entire kingdom, which includes satanic strongholds of all types, including Mental Illness.
Before we get started, I would like to recommend a short prayer to you. We should always confess our need for God to give us wisdom, understanding, knowledge and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ better through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are awesome in all of your ways. Please give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ more and more as I read this article.
Please note: this article is not intended to be a replacement for the care of a mental health professional and should not be interpreted or used in this manner.
In this article I would like to encourage you with a story of strategic and territorial warfare for the minds of God’s people. The battle was ordained of God, and the goal was to break through a stronghold setup by Satan to perpetuate Mental Illness throughout an entire city.
In 2010, the Holy Spirit of God illuminated or revealed this story to me in such a way that has changed the coarse of my life forever. The account of what happened was recorded by three of the four gospel writers; Matthew, Mark and Luke. The story is so true to my experience, after reading it over and over again, I simply want to share with you a demonstration of the power available to us as believers, through the Lord Jesus Christ, to advance the Kingdom of God, no matter the level of opposition. Uh wait a minute, before you go off tearing down satanic strongholds, you BETTER make sure you’ve been appointed and equipped by the Lord Jesus Christ to do so. Remember, Jesus is the Commander in Chief of the heavenly army, and He alone gives the assignments, the power and the authority necessary to carry them out.
I remember growing up, between 6 and 8 years old, I had a friend who I won’t name, that was possessed by demons that were responsible for causing him to live with Mental Illness. Of course, even though I understand this now, I had no idea this was true at the time. I simply knew that I loved this little boy and we were friends.
I remember many occasions when my mom would do her best to convince me to leave this kid alone. She was never successful, but she tried. In her mind, the little boy had a serious problem (even though it was clear she had no idea what the problem was) and I shouldn’t be associating with him. I’m not sure whether she thought I would catch what he had or not. Looking back over the situation now, I sort of understand my mom’s concern, seeing she was right in the middle of loving and caring for her own son who started out life normal and became Mentally Ill at the age of 8.
The fact that Satan uses the ignorance of men and women to further damage people living with Mental Illness causes me to cry out to God from the depths of my soul. It’s true that we naturally reject and fear the unknown. However, I give glory to the Father, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit for releasing wisdom, understanding and knowledge in the last days to stand against the operations of Satan.
Well anyway, I loved him, and because of it, I didn’t pay attention to mom’s attempts to get me to reject my friend. I remember he would come to our screen door, right in the middle of us eating dinner, and bang on it until my mom got fed up and sent me outside to play with with him. Yeah, he was not short on persistence.
There is one behavior my friend displayed that caused me to include this experience in this article. Whenever he got excited or angry, he would grab onto my arm with an extraordinary amount of strength. I would either have to get his mom or another adult to use their strength to pry open his hands, because I couldn’t open them, even though he was a year younger than I was. Now as a child, I didn’t like it, but it really didn’t bother me that much nor did it cause me to reject him. However, looking back on it, the strength he demonstrated during these moments, was nothing short of supernatural; demonically empowered in other words. I now understand that my friend was possessed by demonic spirits that would, when they got angry, use my friends body to lash out at others and exhibit strength not possible for a boy who was only 5 years old or so.
As of this writing, according to my older brother, my childhood friend is addicted to drugs and homeless. Lord Jesus I humbly ask you to touch my childhood friend, you know who he is and you know the power and influence Satan has used to dominate his life. I ask you to have mercy on his soul and to deliver him into your Kingdom, for the glory of our Father who is in the third heaven!
Now, if this seems like a science fiction movie or something beyond belief to you, I have witnesses that will verify every statement I’ve made. As a matter of fact, not only my sister, but two of the woman who used to baby sit me during these two years are members of the church I attend. So please don’t dismiss this account as something that’s not possible. In addition, we’re going to read of an even greater demonstration of demonic power, as we read following account from the Word of God.
Before we dive into the Word of God, I would like to set the record straight on a few things. First, by no means am I suggesting that all Mental Illness involves demon possession. Second, I also am not suggesting that God will heal every person from the Mental Illness they live with. It is only presumption that has someone claiming they know the mind of God for all situations. The Word of God makes it crystal clear that our ways are not God’s ways and our thought are not His thoughts. His ways are so much higher than ours, we must be eternally thankful and grateful whenever He chooses to share those thoughts with us. Finally, just because someone may recognize the presence of demonic activity doesn’t mean that person has been appointed and equipped by God and sent by the Lord Jesus to deal with it. In most instances, being made aware of such things is an invitation for us to kneel and pray to the Father that He might have His will done in that person’s life.
You know, it’s amazing that even though the Word of God makes it plainly clear that we are in a constant war against the forces of darkness, Christians always seem to get caught off guard when demonic opposition rises up against us. You know, every time we intend to advance God’s Kingdom in some way, we seem to have to be reminded all over again that WE’RE AT WAR!
Here’s a bit of historical information about the area, to set the stage, where this territorial level battle is about to take place between Jesus and the forces of Satan. The city of the Gadarenes (Gadara or modern day Umm Qias) was part of 10 or more cities that made up a Decapolis (which means Ten Cities) within the larger Roman Empire. This Decapolis was located in modern day Judea and Syria. The Decapolis was a center of Greek and Roman culture right smack dab in the middle of an otherwise Jewish region (see the Fifth Column for more on this territorial warfare strategy of Satan).
So here’s the backdrop of the impending territorial battle to advance the Kingdom of God into this region. Jesus is holding ministry meetings in Galilee, when He gets a quickening in His spirit to travel across the see of Galilee to the city of Gadara. In preparation for the journey, he tells the twelve disciples and others that they all need to go to the other side of the sea of Galilee. Now, here’s a lesson that’s great for us to learn. The moment we announce our plans to advance the Kingdom of God, the forces of darkness in that region, immediately began caucusing and planning on ways to hinder the move.
Now the scripture records that Jesus, his disciples and others got in their boats to go to the other side. Right smack dab in the middle of an otherwise non complicated journey across the sea of Galilee, a horrible storm arose threatening the lives of everyone on the sea at the time. We know this because scripture records the disciples being so terrified that they actually asked Jesus whether He cared that they were all about to die.
This is such a powerful story, primarily because the disciples were about the get an upfront and close lesson on territorial warfare. Experts and scholars on this region of the world all agree that the time of the year Jesus decided to cross this sea was not the time for storms of this magnitude. So why did the storm of this magnitude hit? It’s simple, Satan is the prince of the power of the air and He has enough power to shift weather patterns, if he thinks it’ll hinder, block or stop the Kingdom of God from advancing.
So what was the battle about? Well, Satan, who seeks to be a god by dominating human beings, angels and spirits by making them subject to himself, had long established this particular city as a stronghold for Mental Illness; brought on by demon possession and oppression. However, God the Father had purposed in His mind to bring deliverance to the entire city, and the Lord Jesus, in obedience to the Father, is about to sow the seed for that deliverance. We know Jesus’ seed produced a harvest because we have the book of Romans in the New Testament. This is proof that the Kingdom of God did in fact advance into this region of the world.
You can read about the weather pattern wile of Satan in the following passages of scripture. Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25
The Extremes of Mental Illness
I ask you to carefully consider the following passages of scripture. PLEASE NOTE: This passage of scripture was prior to the time when the Father sent His Holy Spirit into the earth to restrain the forces of darkness. In other words, although demonic possessions still happen today, they are few and far between, especially in the United States because of the undeniable and powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. Satan is no where near more powerful than the Holy Spirit that lives on the inside of you and I, if you’ve been born again.
When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
Matt 8:28-29 (NIV)
When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones
Mark 5:2-5 (NIV)
When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places
Luke 8:27-29 (NIV)
I highlighted specific portions because I would like to call attention to the environment of extreme rejection these men, living with Mental Illness, were subjected to. This reveals the fact that the forces of darkness were not only possessing these men, but they were also influencing the people of the region. In addition, please note, there were two demon possessed men. Both of them received deliverance at the words of Jesus, according to Matthew 8:33 (NIV).
- The one we’re focusing on lived in the town near the wilderness and tombs where the demonic spirits drove him.
- The Word of God makes it clear that the demonic spirits had gained total control of this man’s mind and body. So much so that they would seize him and give him supernatural strength to break chains and shackles. I ask you to consider this for a moment, if a normal person could muster the strength to break a chain with his or her bare hands, not only would the ligaments and muscles get torn, but the bones themselves would ultimately break. The scripture says he often broke the chains and shackles, many times. Putting it plainly, it’s not humanly possible.
- The people in the town, due to demonic influence, further damaged these men by attempting to resolve a spiritual battle using natural means (assaulting the man with mental and physical chains and shackles). Mental chains and shackles as a result of treating a human being like an animal or an alien. We’ll see later that the behavior of the town’s people was all a part of a demonic strategy to maintain control over the region.
- No human being in the town was strong enough to subdue or control the demon possessed man. Remember the story of my childhood friend grabbing my arm?
- One of the goals of the demonic spirits in these men was to drive them away from their family and the town they lived in. the Word of God doesn’t blame the towns people for trying to control the men, because they were also under demonic influence and totally ignorant to their spiritual condition due to the overwhelming demonic influence in the region.
- The demonic spirits used the man’s physical body and voice to worship and beg Jesus not to release them from their assignments in that region. It’s also worth noting that these demons knew they had an appointment of torture and that they had already been judged, but this wasn’t the time for the manifestation. It’s important to note that Jesus had the ability to know who was speaking, the man or the demons. We also need this level of sensitivity in these end times. In addition, they also used this man’s physical body to worship a higher demonic principality over the region through chanting and ceremonial cutting of the skin. You can find this practice in the following passage of scripture (see I Kings 18:29).
If you’ve ever known or witnessed the way people respond to those living with Mental Illness, I ask you to consider the parallels of this story and your own experience. The scripture does not place blame on the people of the region for the condition of these men. It’s clear no one clearly understood what was going on with them or they were blinded by the forces of darkness. However, what the Holy Spirit has made clear to me is that God the Father knew exactly what was happening in this town. This agrees with Jesus’ own testimony that He never did anything of His own will, but He obeyed the will of His Father that sent Him. So it’s clear that God the Father is the one who sent Jesus from Galilee to this town specifically to deal with the demonic spirits that were responsible for the Mental Illness, the hardheartedness and blindness of the people in the region.
The scripture plainly reveals the nature in which the people of the town dealt with these men. They were treated like an animals, you know, you chain your dog in the backyard, not your family member or your neighbor. It’s also obvious that they frequently attempted to over power the men with brute force, without success. I ask you to consider the mental damage this might cause a person, further strengthening the door for demonic forces to move in and setup shop.
As we read on in the story, picture in your mind that fact that Jesus is well known by this time, and He arrives in this region with an entourage. Also consider that Jesus is interacting with these men, whom the whole city has agreed to shun, and it’s creating a serious uproar.
Exposing Satan and Deliverance
Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened
Luke 8:30-35 (NIV)
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened
Mark 5:9-14 (NIV)
Now let’s take a look at the power of the Lord Jesus Christ set against the power of Satan and the demonic forces being used to dominate these men and the people in this region. As a side note, in case you’re unaware, Satan desires to dominate the entire human race in the manner we are witnessing in this story. Why? Satan understands that if he can force men and women to disobey God, because he’s the ruler over all who reject Jesus, this directly translates into worshiping Satan; and worship is something given to gods alone.
Jesus identified Satan as the prince of this world because Satan uses demonic spiritual beings and human servants to dominate towns, cities, states, regions, countries and nations. The only way out, is salvation through the cross and shed blood of Jesus Christ.
- We see the demons falling at Jesus’ feet and begging Him not to send them back to the Abyss (the spiritual kingdom were they originally received their assignment). The Apostle Mark helps us understand what they really meant. The demons did not want Jesus to release them from their assignment in that specific region. I find it amazing that the demons knew exactly who Jesus was and they feared, trembled and obeyed the scripture that says every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. This gives us hope, because we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and we’ve been given authority to tread on serpents and scorpions (Ephesians 2:6).
- This is the only place I find where Jesus asks demonic spirits their name. By the way, history tells us that a legion of soldiers were usually 5000 in number. The scripture doesn’t tell us exactly how many demons there were, but it does let us know that 2000 pigs were in the herd that ran off the cliff.
- The demons asked Jesus to allow them to enter into some pigs. This is extremely significant if we’ve been appointed by the Lord Jesus to engage in territorial warfare to establish the Kingdom of God over a region. Demonic spirits can remain in the region even if they don’t have human bodies to inhabit.
- Jesus grants their request. Now, to the natural mind, this is simply insane. However, I ask you to consider the fact that Jesus was always in perfect communion and harmony with the will of our Father. So the fact that he granted their request, reveals to us that it was the perfect will of our Father in the third heaven, we’ll see why a bit later.
- The man has been totally delivered from a legion of demons.
- Please note that there were people watching who have just ran back into town to let everyone know what’s going on outside of town. We’re about to find out the reason Jesus allowed the demonic spirits to remain in the region.
At this point in this story of Mental Illness, we’ve been introduced to a man, who’s not named, that’s been utterly rejected by the people in his home town because they didn’t possess the means to help him nor did they understand the cause of his Mental Illness. We see the supernatural manifestation of demonic powers being demonstrated through the physical body of this man. We see clearly that the legion of demonic spirits know exactly who Jesus is, honors His authority over them and desperately want to remain on their assignment over the people in this region.
Please note, they did not ask Jesus to remain inside the man. This is because demonic spirits don’t mind being cast out, if they believe shortly thereafter, they can return to their demonic home in men and women or find someone else to bring havoc to. As a matter of fact, they welcome the opportunity because if the root of the issue that opened the door to them hasn’t been dealt with, they have the legal right to return and to bring more demonic spirits with them (see Matthew 12:43-45).
I want to remind you of a few things, first, we are not Jesus. However, Jesus Himself said, all power was given to Him in heaven and in earth and He grants us ambassadorial use of that same power. However, this only holds true as much as we allow Jesus, the commander and chief of God’s Holy Army, to direct us in the battle against the forces of darkness, just as He allowed His Father to direct Him.
Now let’s understand the motivation behind demonic spirits wanting to enter and dominate human beings.
When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid
Mark 5:15 (NIV)
When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid
Luke 8:35 (NIV)
I remember the Apostle of the church I attend telling us years ago, that there are many people walking around, that appear to be leading normal lives, but are clinically Mentally Ill. The first time I heard this I thought, how could that be. However, after spending more than eight years studying Mental Illness as a result of a burden given to me by the Lord Jesus, I am thoroughly convinced that this is a true statement.
- The first thing to note from the passage above is the fact that the man is no longer crying out, cutting himself or scarring the crap out of people passing by the tombs. We see him sitting calmly at the feet of Jesus, worshiping no doubt, which is the natural response to being delivered from demonic powers.
- The critical thing to note is the fact that the scripture points out to us that the man is now in is right mind.
- Please notice the unexplained response of the people in the town, once they find out the man is no longer naked, no longer acting like a maniac and sitting calmly in his right mind; FEAR. This fear is not a reverential fear because the Lord Jesus is there, it’s the same fear that caused them to not demonstrate compassion to the Mentally Ill man in the first place.
The demonic powers were really not after the body of the man, their goal was to control his mind. Did you not know that the according to Jesus, the first and most important commandment is to love God with everything you are, including your mind (see Mark 12:30)! Now, was it possible for this man to love God with His mind, while demonic spirits were controlling his mind. The answer is no. As a matter of fact, even though this man was controlled by demonic spirits, he was still guilty of disobeying the commandment of God.
If you can control a persons mind, everything else about that person will follow. Their thoughts, emotions, physical body and most importantly their will. Satan desires to dominate our minds because he fully understands, after studying mankind for thousands of years, that if he can control our minds, he can force us to do his will as opposed to God’s will. This is the reason cults spend so much time separating people from loved ones and the general public. If they can successfully deploy mind control spirits, than the will, desires, thoughts or emotions of the person will follow whatever fills the mind.
Every form of Mental Illness, no matter how severe, is the direct result of damage to a person’s mind. It doesn’t matter whether that damage happened in the natural realm (medication, lack of oxygen, etc…) or in the spiritual realm (violating God’s commandments, demonic attack, witchcraft, etc…). That said, I encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus to protect your mind, which is responsible for filling your heart (not the natural heart in you, the wellspring or filter through which you process everything in your life), as you seek to serve Him.
The end time warfare against the Body of Christ will be over who controls the minds of God’s people. I want to encourage you to read the following passages of scriptures on how to protect your mind against influence of the forces of darkness. Matthew 22:37, Luke 12:29, Acts 20:19, Romans 12:2, Romans 15:6, II Corinthians 8:12, Ephesians 4:23, Philippians 2:5.
So we see that following deliverance, the man’s mind has been healed and that he no longer demonstrates the characteristics of a person who’s mind belongs to someone else.
Satan Never Rests
As soldiers in the Army of the Lord, one of the truths we must face is the fact that our enemy is always looking for a way to hinder, block, stop, delay, frustrate the advancement of the Kingdom of God. He’s fully aware that he’s no match for an assembly of yielded, spirit filled, walking in holiness and led by the Holy Spirit believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. You remember what Jesus said, the gates (or authorities) of hell would not prevail over the Church (which is the collective body of Christ). However, when Jesus knew that Satan would come after Peter, He did not say Peter you will whip Satan from pillar to post. Instead, the Lord Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. This helps us understand some powerful truths about our enemy. First, he has real power and is much more intelligent and cunning then we are. It also tells us that we are not one man armies. Alone, we are vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. However, it also reveals that together, Satan and his forces are no match for us collectively.
That said, let’s see the wiles of the enemy in action. Before we read the scripture, consider what has happened. A demon possessed man that terrorized an entire town has now been delivered by the Lord Jesus. Upon hearing that some pigs died, the herdsmen and the people of the town were sent a demonic spirit of fear. Please note that the scripture makes it clear that God has not sent us a spirit of fear, that’s how we know the spirit was from Satan. Now that they see for themselves, the man is healed, you would think their response would be to glorify God, especially the family members of this man. Well, let’s see how they responded.
Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man–and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region
Mark 5:16-17 (NIV)
Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left
Luke 8:36-37 (NIV)
Now, let’s allow God to reveal a powerful truth using this story of Mental Illness. We already established that the legion of demons were not only living in the man, but also had an assignment over that region. Remember, they begged Jesus not to send them out of the area, back to the Abyss. They asked to remain in the area and be sent into some animals. Why did they make this request? Also, why did Jesus allow them to remain in the region?
You see, not only was the Mentally Ill man being influenced by this nest of demonic spirits, but everyone in the town was also being influenced, controlled and dominated by them. The manner in which the people of the town treated the Mentally Ill man was the direct result of demonic authority and influence over the region. So now, the Word of God helps us to understand that demonic spirits work in many different ways to bring about all types of hellish activity in the regions they’re assigned to.
Now we also understand the strange response of the people to this wonderful ministry by the Lord Jesus. Their request was for him to leave the region because they were afraid. The question I asked the Lord while reading this was, Lord, how could they be afraid when you’ve performed such a magnificent miracle in this man’s life? I mean it was undeniably an act of God. The fear was the tactic of the demons in that region to keep the people in the town in bondage in hopes that they would, after Jesus’ departure, continue to reject the man that was healed opening him up once again to hosting demons. In addition, it’s clear from the beginning of the story that the fear was actually coming from the demons themselves and not the people. Remember, they knelt before the Lord Jesus in fear that he would send them out of the area.
How can we apply this truth to our lives today. When a man or woman of God is sent to a region to advance the Kingdom of God, you can expect the people who live in that region to respond with fear and a reluctance to hear the word of God. Especially if it’s a region that has experienced and mass amount of iniquity over a long period of time. Please recall the beginning of the story where the scripture points out how long the people and the demonically possessed man were in that condition.
Also, I said I would tell you why Jesus allowed the demons to remain in the region even though the devastation of their presence was clear. God will never force anyone to accept His son Jesus. Satan is the only spiritual power that is willing to force people and demonic spirits to accept him and do his will. Our Father in heaven is love and in that nature is the willingness to allow us to choose or reject Him. Jesus allowed the demons to remain because Jesus understood that the towns people were not ready to accept and receive Him, deliverance would have been temporary at best. In addition, based on Matthew 12:43-45, if he had cast the spirits out of them, including the spirit of fear, the latter condition of the entire town would have been worse after Jesus was gone. So the wisdom of God left things as they were knowing that at some later point, the gospel would reach the region, the people would receive the message of the Kingdom and claim the entire region for the Kingdom of God. See my article
This is also an encouragement for deliverance ministers. As servants of God being led by the Holy Spirit, we definitely have the power to make demonic spirits obey us. However, this is not always the will of God. As servants, we should be more concerned about the perfect will of God for the person we’re ministering to, rather than demonstrating our power over demonic spirits. Remember, demons don’t die. If you cast them out of one person, they simply roam around in dry places until they find another person to harass or inhabit. If the person they left isn’t ready to obey Jesus and to close that door, casting the demons out could actually do more harm than good in the long run. I encourage every spirit filled believer to be led by the Holy Spirit as you pray for God’s people in addition to receiving and obeying the training given by experienced deliverance ministers.
Maintaining Our Healing
As you walk with the Lord Jesus and begin to truly understand His Word, you will begin to discover that there are principles established by God Himself that cannot be violated under any circumstance. I’ll give you an example, whatsoever a man sows that’s exactly what he’s going to reap. This principle is true whether you know or not. It’s true whether you believe it or not. It’s true whether you obey it or not. It’s true even if you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ and refuse to accept Him as your Lord and Savior. In like manner, Jesus Himself set forth a principle related to healing that I believe deserves our attention at this point in this story of Mental Illness.
Remember the beginning of the story? This man was not living in a home with his family like normal people would. The people in the town wanted to lock him up and throw away the key. Then the scripture reveals to us that the demonic spirits desired the same will for his life. In particular, the scripture says that the demonic spirits were responsible for driving him into the wilderness and the tombs. By the way, Satan loves it when we feel so rejected and unloved that we willingly separate ourselves from others. Isolation is a place where Satan wins many battles against God’s people.
The scripture makes it plain and clear that he was no longer allowed to live in his own home town. I ask to to consider this for a moment. What would you do if the people you now live with cast you out of the house, and then everyone in your neighborhood joined the madness. Finally, everyone in the city agreed that it was a good idea to banish you from everyone’s presence. Think for a second how that would make you feel, and then consider the alternative of someone or something coming to you in your mind promising freedom, acceptance and whatever you felt you lacked as a result of the mass rejection. Would you consider taking the offer without really investigating it’s origin? Many of God’s people have done this very thing, only to find that all of the promises were lies, because the one speaking was submitted to the father of all lies. In addition, the real plan was to dominate you to the point were you had no control over your own actions, which in turn further strengthens the resolve of people around you, confirming their misguided decision to reject you.
The man in this story is estranged from his natural family and only has demonic spirits consuming his life. In addition, he has been wounded and cast aside by the very people of his own home town.
Here is the principle I would like for you to consider. In most of the accounts of Jesus interacting with and healing people, if you look carefully, you will notice a pattern of Jesus ending the engagement with some form of command for the person He had just healed. Take up your bed and walk, go to the pool and wash, go tell the priests you’ve been healed and so on… The principle is the obedience we must walk in to maintain the deliverance and healing we’ve received from the Lord Jesus.
I ask you to carefully consider the following passages of scripture
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed
Mark 5:18-20 (NIV)
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him
Luke 8:38-39 (NIV)
This is a classic story of what happens when someone living with Mental Illness encounters a person that loves them unconditionally, after being rejected time after time after time. The scripture says that the man who was delivered and healed begged Jesus to let him go with him, but Jesus refused to let him come.
Now wait one second, this man has family in the town. Although they were part of the crowd that wanted to keep him locked up, they are still his family. Why wouldn’t he want to show his own family how God had delivered and set him free? I have the answer, the fear of rejection and unforgiveness was still attempting to work against his mind to bring him back into bondage, even though the demonic spirits were no longer indwelling him. The war is now on for him to control the thoughts in his mind. If this concept is foreign to you, please consider reading II Corinthians 10:5.
I know this is the truth because remember, the demons had control over this man’s mind until he got delivered where we see him in his right mind. So you know the demons bombarded his mind with imaginations of hatred toward those who treated him so poorly, prior to their eviction notice. The effects of this attack against his mind is what was left to be dealt with and the man’s obedience to this reality would determine whether or not he would remain delivered and healed; or would once again play the host to multiple legions of demons this time.
So, let’s consider the commandment. Jesus tells the man, go back to the very city and to the very people that did you wrong and testify to the mercy and the power of God that was given to you. Why mercy? Remember what I said, because his mind was controlled by demonic spirits, he was guilty before God for not loving God with his mind; and other things as well.
My God, can you imagine the thoughts flooding this man’s mind at that moment? Have you ever been really hurt by someone and God tells you to pray for them, bless them, encourage them or anything else shy of shooting them? I have and I can tell you that it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. However, the reason Jesus commands the man to do this is that Jesus understands that the real test that determines whether we truly love him and others is when we can pray for those who have done us wrong. Remember what Jesus asked his Father while dying on the cross? Father forgive them because they do not understand what they’re doing.
So now we see what the Lord Jesus commanded this man to do in order to shut the door the demons attempted to leave open so they could return at some later point. By obeying the commandment of the Lord Jesus, the man who once lived with severe Mental Illness, now has a chance to close the door to demonic influence over his life once and for all. The door of unforgiveness is a huge door Satan loves to erect in the hearts of God’s people (see Revelation 12:11 to understand why this command of Jesus shut the door to demonic possession in this man).
As we can plainly see, near the end of the passages above, the man obeyed and I’m sure to his surprise, the people listened and received him. He had no idea that the entire purpose for the Lord Jesus setting him free was to sow him as the seed of deliverance for every person in the city. I use this as an encouragement to someone, if it looks hopeless in the natural, but you know you’ve done all you know to do, trust the Lord Jesus with the situation. I’m sure many people wrote this man off a long time ago, however, by the mercies of God, look at the final outcome of his life. Anointed as an evangelist by the Lord Jesus Himself, what a testimony.
I encourage you by putting you in remembrance of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins
Matt 6:15 (NIV)
So the plan of God all along was not only to deliver and heal the man living with Mental Illness, but also to begin the process of sowing seeds of the gospel into the hearts of the very people that rejected and treated him so bad in the first place. This was all done to prepare the fallow ground for the later capture of this region for the Kingdom of God. OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!!
As usual, I offer you a brief prayer
Our Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus, I know you love those living with Mental Illness. Father I also know that you know what’s best for those living with Mental Illness and their families. Father I ask you know to let your perfect will be done in my specific situation. Lord Jesus I invite you into this home, this family and this situation, so that you will guide me by the Holy Spirit to only do that which glorifies our Father in heaven. Have mercy on my Lord Jesus as I walk in obedience to whatever you reveal to me.