Daily Reflection
August 31st, 1999
Lori Spanbauer
Campus Ministry
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Luke 4:16-30
The fact that Jesus spoke with authority is noted twice in todayís Gospel.  His use of authority caught the attention of the writer.  It caught my attention, too.  The Gospel illustrates how Jesusí power and authority liberated a man from his demon, simply by the authority of his word.  Iím left wondering if and how Christís authority still frees people from their demons.  Do unclean spirits still inhabit people?  Does Christ do anything about it today?  In todayís culture, it seems possible to me that unclean spirits inhabit people.  Name the causes what you will, but it is possible that the violence and hate in our world is the work of ďunclean spirits.Ē  Or maybe itís that they are attracted to where the darkness is and where people are sleeping.  Either way, maybe demons are the source of unspeakable destruction, and maybe they are source of more subtle damage.  And maybe Christ still liberates us from them.

There are times when a real struggle happens between my desire to submit to the authority of Christ and my desire to assert my own will.  I want to love God, but at times I resent God for being who He is because if He is God then I canít be.  And I vacillate between thanking God for being the Lord of life and love and all of that, and defying God and doing things my way for a while.  By the time Iíve gone through that battle long enough, and allowed the demon of self-will to run rampant for a while, I have accomplished all of the damage that God wanted to save me from.  I encounter the thief in the night because I chose to live in darkness for a while.  At that point I have to say, ďI am so sorry that when You told me to walk in faith, to be a daughter of the day, to keep awake and sober so as to avoid the destruction, I refused to do it.

Iím sorry that I did not believe that you indeed did not destine us for wrath, but for salvation if we will live with Christ.  And Iím sorry that I did not allow Your authority to liberate me from my demonsĒ.  And suddenly I understand why God gives the commands He gives; I know why He says the things He says; and I know that freedom comes from trusting in the authority of Christ.  And I wish that I didnít have to know that in order to obey it.

What forms do your demons take?  How is the authority of Christ bringing freedom to you?  Because Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians to encourage one another and build one another up, I urge you to rouse from your sleep and bring your demons into the light so that God can free you from unnecessary wrath and destruction as well.  I urge you with Paul to ďnot sleep, as others do, but keep awake and sober,Ē for we are all sons of the light and daughters of the day if we choose it.  And demons and thieves donít survive well in the light.

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