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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Be Perfect

     This morning I read in Mark 5 about the demon possessed man that met Jesus when he got out of the boat in Garza, (or something like that, it’s different in each translation). It’s a familiar story to many believers, and yet, today I saw it with fresh eyes. So bear with me it is a little different from anything I have ever thought about. Of course maybe I’m just the last to see it.

     The thing that struck me is how much I am like the Gerasene demoniac.

     Take another look at the story and see if you can find yourself. One of the most valuable things we can do is see how poorly we do it.

     The description of the man is amazing.

 • He lived in the tombs. With the dead. It sometimes amazes me when I realize the things I am   interested in and how empty and dead they are.

• No man could bind him. He was not under any authority. How often do I rebel against the authority that God has put over me? Recently I have begun to see that meekness has quite a bit to do with being at rest under authority. A pretty exciting concept if you’re not real crazy about the political leaders at this time.

• He was always crying out. Do I ‘need’ to complain? Do I always have something to say about every issue?

• And cutting himself with stones. He was always doing harm to himself. How about me? How about the choices I make? Do I choose the pleasures that are harmful? Overeating? Inactivity? Looking at the wrong things? Thinking about the wrong things?

     To some degree I can see myself in all these things and I am very convicted, but the worst is yet to come.

     When he saw Jesus he ran and worshipped him(verse 6).  But then he said “I beg you in the name of God, do not torment me.”

     Is this what I think Jesus comes to do? Torment Me? Does Jesus just want to take away all my pleasures? Sometimes it seems that is how I feel and how other “Christians” feel. But the truth is that Jesus simply wants to drive out everything that is unclean and harmful to me.

     His desire for me is that I become like him (Rom. 8:29). His longing for me is that I should have ABUNDANT life (John 10:10).

     A lot of “Christian” folks want to worship God with a loud voice, but they don’t want him to torment them about their sin. I sure have been guilty here. How about you?

     Jesus answer to the man is the same as his answer to me. “Come out of the Man”. Jesus doesn’t look for reasons why we don’t think we can be perfect, he simply tells us to be perfect (Matt. 5:48).

     I remember one time I was at a friend’s house in the evening, and he called some neighbors in and they all read God’s Word together. I was very impressed and told him so. His response shocked me. After he asked me whether I did the same, and found out I didn’t. He didn’t ask for a reason or a justification. He just said “Well start, Now.”

     There were a thousand demons in this man. Jesus drove them all out. There are many faults (sins) in me, and Jesus wants to drive them all out.

     As I was walking today, I thought about being perfect. Perfect doesn’t move. But as I move toward the perfect that I see and attain it, I realize I hadn’t seen all the way to completely perfect. But I think that if I am moving in the direction of the perfection I can see, God may count that as perfect as long as I keep moving. And God’s wonderful mercy will fill in what is lacking. I don’t think we can start a denomination on that one but it may be worth thinking about.

     Finally, when the man that was cleansed saw Jesus about to leave, he wanted to go with him. But Jesus wouldn’t let him go, and told him to “Go home and tell your friends about the wonderful things the Lord has done for you, and how he had great compassion on you.”   Sometimes I just want to go home and rest.  Jesus says to me,  "Go tell my brothers and sisters what wonderful things he has done for me."

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