In our women's Bible study, we have been discussing the demoniac and the swine. Tucked in the eighth chapter of Luke, the story tells us that a man had been indwelt by many unclean spirits for a length of time. His erratic behavior frightened the people and every attempt to control Him had failed. Like a whip that drives a horse, the demons drove the man into the wilderness, where he dwelt in the tombs, screaming and cutting himself day and night. That was until Jesus arrived.
At Jesus' word, the legion of demons left the man and inhabited a nearby herd of swine. The swine rushed down a hill and off a cliff, drowning in the sea. Word spread quickly. People from the country side and the city flocked to see the aftermath. They found the pigs as it was told them, but they also found the man sitting peacefully at Jesus' feet, in his right mind.
Rather than rejoice in the man's deliverance, the people were afraid and asked Jesus to leave, thus, revealing their hearts. The people were terrified of what else Jesus would require of them, of what else He would do if He stayed. Sadly, they'd rather have the demoniac outside their doors than Jesus.
Why? Because they didn't trust Him.
The people's fear uncovers the struggle that keeps many from surrendering their lives fully to Christ. "If I invite Him to stay, it will cost too much. If I invite Him in, He will require something unreasonable of me; the repercussions will be too great." Verse 37 of Luke 8 tells us that the people were "seized with great fear". The language reveals that they were anticipating pain or danger, so rather than surrender their lives to Jesus, they pushed Him away. Jesus wouldn't force them to believe, so at their request, He left.
John 9:56 says, "For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them". Surrender has everything to do with who one believes God to be. "Is He who He says He is and will He do what He says He will do" (Hebrews 11:6)? If we believe that God desires the best for our lives, we will not fear what He may require of us. It all comes down to trust.
In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, we are told that if we cling to life as we know it, we will lose it. But if we lay our life down for His sake, we will find it. I don't know about you, but given the choice, I'd choose Jesus over SPAM any day.