READ: Mark 5:1-20
THINK: Few people question the fact that evil exists. Its effects are evident in the suffering and distress that impact all of us in some way. Thankfully, God is all-powerful and He will help us overcome evil if we rely on Him. That doesn't mean our lives will be free from pain and hardship, which will always be a part of life in a world that defies God. But Jesus came to free us from being trapped and enslaved by evil. Oddly, people often choose to remain under evil influences, because God's plans and purposes seem to disrupt their way of life. When God works in powerful ways, it will not always be convenient for us. But God knows what's best. If we let Him have His way in our lives, we'll experience the fulfillment He intends, regardless of the difficulties we face.
RESPOND: Aside from literal demon possession, what are some more common and subtle ways in which people suffer because of Satan's evil work and influence? What does this passage reveal about Jesus' power over the forces of evil? (See article on Power Over Satan and Demons, p. 1347.) Why were the townspeople more concerned about what happened to the pigs than with what happened to the man Jesus had freed? (See 5:2-17 note.) Why do you think the people asked Jesus to leave them, even after they had witnessed the results of His power?
PRAY: Give God praise for His power and authority over evil. Ask Him to help you never put you own concerns and convenience over His plans and purposes for your life and the lives of those around you.
ACT: Perhaps God has been wanting to do something specific in or through you, but you have resisted His plans because they do not seem convenient. It could be something as "big" as a career choice or as "little" as befriending someone at school who is much different than you. Don't hesitate any longer. Accept God's plans and follow the Holy Spirit's direction. Then watch God do something powerful and supernatural through you.
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