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The 'package deal' Satan offers

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Without question, God loves you deeply and wants to reveal the personal, custom-made plan that He has just for you. He wants to flood your life with peace, joy and purpose. Ultimately, He wants to spend all eternity with you in a place that exceeds your wildest dreams — a place called Heaven.

God says, “For I know the plans I have for you ... They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

But just as surely as there is a loving God who cares for you, there is a hateful devil who wants to destroy you. “He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NLT). Jesus, in speaking of Satan, said that he comes “to steal, to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10, NLT).

That pretty much sums up Satan’s agenda: steal, kill, and destroy.

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On the other hand, Jesus comes “that [we] may have life, and that [we] may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, NKJV).

In Scripture, we find the story of a man who had been completely taken over by the power of the devil. He was a tortured, suicidal, miserable, lonely shell of a man in an absolutely hopeless situation.

This basically shows us the “package deal” Satan has in store for every person in his grip. First and foremost, he wants to keep you from coming to Jesus Christ. He may entice you with all the glitz and glamour this world has to offer. It may be greed for the acquisition of things. It may be for fame or notoriety. It may be sexual lust.

But once he has you where he wants you, he’ll chew you up and spit you out.

The stuff this world offers us can look so cool and so appealing — but it is a complete rip-off, and the end result is frightening. The New Testament story before us illustrates these points.

So, they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time, he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town.

As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him (Luke 8:26-29, NLT).

Mark’s account adds that he would beat and bruise himself, as well as cut himself with sharp rocks. He was so strong that when he was put in chains, he broke them.

So here was quite a creepy scenario: a frightening, evil man with superhuman strength, who hung out at the graveyard. No doubt local people gave this place wide berth, especially at night. This man who lived in the tombs was certainly a dangerous and frightening man, but underneath that dark exterior was a truly tortured soul. And, as I mentioned earlier, he is a picture of Satan’s ultimate goal — the finished product.

What steps led to this state we can only imagine. Sin truly is a living death, and the unbeliever is spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1, NKJV). The Bible says that she “who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6, NIV).

Nevertheless, this is a story with a happy ending. Why?

Because Jesus came into this poor, tortured man’s life and made him into an altogether different kind of person.

When Jesus showed up at this place seeking out this man, Satan reacted with force, and the man began screaming at him. The power of Satan was so entwined with this man that most would not have been able to see the hurting person deep inside, but only the crazed, suicidal maniac roaming the graveyard. Yet in this cry, Jesus must have also heard a cry for help.

Perhaps that describes you right now. Underneath all of your talk and bravado and arguments against God, you secretly long for His help and for some peace and purpose in your life. Underneath an outward show of confidence, you may be lonely and afraid.

This man may not have been doing many right or wise things, but on that day he did. He realized that he did not have power and that he was trapped beyond human hope by the enemy.

So, he cried out to Jesus. And Jesus came to him. The only thing stronger than the power of Satan is the power of Jesus.

The apostle James tells us, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror” (James 2:19, nlt). In other words, it’s not enough to simply believe in God. It’s not enough to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. It’s not enough to believe that the Bible is the Word of God. You must personally choose to follow Jesus.

In Luke’s account, we read that Jesus asked, “What is your name?” (Luke 8:30). He answered, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. This man was so wrapped up in demonic powers that he couldn’t even answer for himself. A Roman legion consisted of 6,000 soldiers, which means this man was possessed by perhaps hundreds, even thousands, of demons.

Somewhere along the line, he had opened himself up to satanic invasion. He had played around with sin, and now sin was playing around with him. He had lost everything — home, family, friends, sanity, and even his will. He was completely under the power of the devil. We must remember this when we start playing games with sin. Satan will dangle what he must in front of you to get you to take the bait.

There are many who open that door through their use of drugs, as there is a definite link between drugs and the occult. The Bible warns of the sin of sorcery, and in fact, the word “sorcery” comes from the Greek word, pharmakia, the same word from which our English word pharmacy is derived. When people begin to use illicit drugs, whether it’s marijuana (which really is a gateway drug to cocaine), heroin, opioids or any other mind-controlling substance, it opens them up to the. And these days, of course, there are extremely lethal drugs pouring across our borders that are disguised as more familiar opioids.

I did drugs for a couple of years, as portrayed in the recent film, “The Jesus Revolution.”  I had already been drinking and into the party scene and thought drugs would finally be the thing that would fill some of those big empty places in my life.

But drugs only made my problems worse and made that void in my heart seem even deeper and wider. That huge emptiness in my life could only be filled by God Himself. 

With all of its wonderful scientific achievements, society, and culture still cannot cope with the problems caused by Satan and sin.

No one could help this demon-possessed man. His situation was absolutely hopeless. But what the chains could not do, Jesus did with one word.

What did Jesus do for this man? He sought him out in his spooky little graveyard and offered him hope. Luke’s account of this story tells us what happened to this man who was delivered: “People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid” (Luke 8:35, nlt).

What a change! If you want proof of the existence of God, then just look at the changes He has made in the lives of people you know who have given their lives to Jesus Christ.

The fact is, Jesus is a gentleman. He will not force His way into your life. He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20, NIV). He doesn’t say, “Open up or I’ll kick the door in!”

There never has been a better time for you to get right with God than now. The Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation” (1 Corinthians 6:2, NLT), and “Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6, NLT).

You may never have another opportunity like this one.

Greg Laurie is the pastor and founder of the Harvest churches in California and Hawaii and Harvest Crusades. He is an evangelist, best-selling author and movie producer. “Jesus Revolution,” a feature film about Laurie’s life from Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company, releases in theaters February 24, 2023.

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