I think we have all seen how exorcisms are portrayed on television and in other media. Typically, there are two priests, and lots of holy water, screaming, and projectile vomiting. Have you ever wondered how these situations compare to the exorcisms that Jesus performed in the New Testament? Was Christ splashing holy water onto people in order to cast out demons? Reading from scripture? I don't think so. Perhaps we should take some time and examine why there is such a radical difference between how we perceive exorcism, and how it was actually performed by Christ.
We all know what demons are. They are fallen angels which seek to corrupt humanity, but how have we come to understand the word demon to mean this? There is no biblical description of a demon which supports the idea that they are fallen angels, and yet this claim is made consistently within Christianity. So what are the demons of the Bible? Did Jesus cast out fallen angels which had possessed human bodies, or is the text telling us something else?
What is the Lucifer's role in the world? What power or authority does he hold that we should fear? The most common belief that I have encountered is that Satan has no real power over us but can deceive and tempt us. Satan deceives us, places temptations in our paths, and works to undermine our belief in Christ. Think of the qualities that are needed in order to accomplish this, to deceive over nine billion people on this planet. To tempt each of us as individuals, Satan must be omnipresent. To ensure that we notice the object of our temptation, in order to place it in our path, Satan must be supernaturally powerful. Is this the Satan that you believe in?
We all suffer from the same condition, we are all human. This means that we experience overwhelming emotion sometimes, and it may cause us to lose control of ourselves. We may act irrationally, erratically, or even dangerously. We may insult one another and betray our most trusted friends. Once we have sinned in this way, what should we do? If we repeatedly with the same sin, what do we do?
What do you do after you have had a stressful day? Relax on the couch, watch tv, cuddle? Perhaps you go to the gym and exercise, or take a hike through the woods. Whatever it is, it must help you to calm your mind and relax or else it would not be your preferred activity right? I must ask though, is there any thing that can calm your mind, body, and soul more that God? If God is your rock, why lean on anything else?
Since the beginning of our existence, mankind has fought continuously over natural resources. Water, fertile soil, forests, oil, gold, and a great deal of other items have been the centerpiece of death and destruction as greed has driven various cultures at different time periods to attempt to control access to these things. With all of that violence we may have forgotten an important fact, we don’t actually own anything. We can’t own anything. All the world belongs to God, including humanity. If we belong to God, and the world belongs to God, then how can we own anything?
What can mankind do that will be eternal? Will our monuments last through the ages? Will our great deeds be remembered in perpetuity? Is there anything in this life which we can accumulate as a payment to God for the redemption of our souls? If there is nothing we can do, nothing that we can accumulate, that will last through the ages, what then is the purpose of our insignificant lives?
On my journey with Christ, there have been quite a few things I have given up, and frankly, there have been times when I miss those things. While we should not be envious of one another, sometimes it is difficult to see a world that can be so unrepentantly carefree. The temptations of the flesh do effect us all equally, after all. However, Psalm 37 addresses these feelings, and in the process it challenges what is considered to be the traditional Christian view of Hell. Is there any reason that we should envy those who will be rewarded with destruction?
What is our conscience? We all understand how to express what a conscience is; it is a sort of inner voice that we use to determine what is good or bad, but what is it really? While that is a question science struggles to answer, one theory is that it is the emotional response created when we think about our future/past actions. This allows us to reflect on the consequences of our previous actions in order to determine whether our future actions are good or bad. But there is another inner voice, one which contests the verdict of our conscience. A voice with only our self interests at heart.
Evil will slay the wicked. This is such an interesting thought from Psalm 34, it honestly sounds like an oxymoron. Why would evil slay itself? Shouldn't it be focused on stopping the good in the world? Ultimately, this psalm is about God's good and loving nature, but a true definition of evil is required in order to fully praise Him. How can we understand evil? Only by truly understanding what is good. Let’s read through the psalm and explore this concept some more.