HERE is the New There
Verse for the Week: "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
Study Reference for Small Groups: Luke 8:26-39
Have you ever been frustrated with your HERE? What I mean by that is this: God is always bringing us into new circumstances that will challenge us and grow our faith. That's our "here" and how you respond to those new surroundings will determine the blessing you receive on the back end. This week I was looking at Jesus' healing of a demoniac in Luke's Gospel. Jesus went through both hell and high water to reach him, literally. Then, when he arrived, the demon possessed man only identified himself as Legion because he was infested with an army of evil spirits. This got me thinking. How do we handle the newness of the miracle we're looking for? Of course, Jesus healed the man and sent him on his way as a newly christened missionary in the Decapolis (a region of ten cities). But I'd imagine this ex-demoniac, whose name we don't even know, still dealt with some hang-ups from his past. Here he is free. But there (in his past) he developed unhealthy patterns that lead to possession and powerlessness. Just like that ex-demoniac, you've got patterns, people, places and a past that are triggers for you. Nonetheless God still has his plan. And once he does his work in your life it can't be undone. Jesus has made you new. And even though you are currently in a new place and trying to figure out how to manage your freedom, that's okay! The struggles you deal with today actually mean that God Spirit has freed you from something far worse in your former life. Your "here" is your new there. Embrace it and be encouraged that God is growing you for even greater service in the future just like he did with the demoniac two thousand years ago!
What was your "there" ... something from your past that pops up in your current life making you question God's calling or your ability to carry it out today?
What does the story of the demoniac in Luke 8 say in regard to how God feels about you? Also, what do you think it says about his plan for your life?
What is one new habit you can develop (like being kind, giving more, Scripture reading, daily prayer, or church attendance, etc) that will help you put your past behind you and embrace your here?