33In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,
34‘Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’ 35But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. 36They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, ‘What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!’ 37And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.
This man’s problem is that he is not one man. When he speaks, he calls himself “us.”
I know this problem. I am often not one man.
The voice of Jesus rings in my heart. I hear his words spoken to the devil at the beginning of this chapter where he said,
It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’ (Luke 4:4)
This is a thesis statement for the spiritual life. Of course my body needs bread to live. I need shelter, clothing, warmth, companionship, and creative outlets. But, these things alone are not life. These things alone are not what I am.
Yet there is a small part of me that cannot let go of the idea that the impact I make on the world, or the things I achieve in this time-bound material realm, are the real source of satisfaction and life.
So, I am pulled in two directions at the same time. I know I am not made for this tangible realm alone. I experience deep in my being a yearning for that invisible transcendent realm of mystery and beauty that is my true nature. But at the same time, something binds me to this material realm of manifestation.
I am two men. One of these men needs to be silenced and to come out.
How do I silence the voice in me that believes there is any satisfaction at all in the glittering trinkets of the world? How can I live more consistently in alignment with the invisible authority and power of Jesus that commands this “unclean spirit” to come out of me?