Daily Devotionals

The Difference One Life Can Make: Week 4 - Monday

The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with Him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, "No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you." So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:38-39

Nothing influences me to buy into something like hearing someone's first-hand experience. Whether it the latest technology, a new book to read, or the latest work out program, I am going to be much more responsive when a friend or family member tells me about their positive experience with these things. I trust my friends and family members to tell me the truth about their first-hand experiences. I can often also see how those things have benefited them, which makes me want to buy into that technology, book, or workout program even more. First-hand experience matters. Because of this, when we share our faith, many will be most receptive when we build relationships with them so that they can hear about and see the difference God has made in our own lives.

We can see first-hand the difference that Jesus makes in a person's life in Luke 8:26-39 as we read about the healing of a man who was possessed with many demons. This man was completely tormented by demon possession that he was living in tombs, homeless and without clothes. Jesus saw this man, who stated his name was "Legion," which means "thousands." Because of this name, it stands to reason that many, many demons were possessing him. Jesus commanded these demons to come out of this man, and he was free. His mental and physical states were completely healed. People who watched the change in this man's life were amazed at Jesus' healing power.

After his healing, this newly-healed and restored man wanted to begin following Jesus, but Jesus told him to stay in his town so that those who knew him could see the radical transformation Jesus had made in His life. He obeyed Jesus and stayed in his town, sharing his story of Jesus' healing all over town. He shared with them his first-hand experience of the healing power of Jesus, and God was glorified throughout his town as a result.

When it comes to sharing our faith, people want to know how God has changed and worked in our lives. Our stories will speak volumes to others who are lost, looking for purpose and meaning. Your story just may be the catalyst that God uses to bring someone to Christ. Will you be faithful to tell your story?

Moving Toward Action

Before we share our faith with someone, it is a good idea to build relationships so that we can have a good rapport with them. That way, they will trust us when we do share our faith. They will also know that we genuinely care for them. Earlier in this series, you were challenged to make a list of five people you know who do not know Christ. If you have not made that list, take a few moments to make it now. Determine to take time this week to reach out to each person on your list. Send them an encouraging text, give them a call and tell them you are praying for them, send them a Starbucks gift card as a reminder that they are seen and loved or invite them to dinner. Whatever you decide, be sure that you have reached out to everyone on your list in some way. As you do this, you will strengthen your relationships with these people and will earn their trust when you have the opportunity to share your faith with them.

Going Deeper

Read Luke 8:26-39 (NLT)

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 the tombs 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. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power.

Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”

“Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons. The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit.

There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs.

So Jesus gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned.

When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. 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. Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them.

So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.