I’m desperate for you. I’m lost without you.
—Breathe by Marie Barnett
What does it mean to be possessed?
We tend to think of being possessed as something demonic, Linda Blair in the movie The Exorcist, with little upside for a “normal” person. And that seems to be case for the man possessed by a demon in Mark 5. Here is someone filled with all sorts of demons who won’t leave him, and he is in torment. And then Jesus comes along to free him from the demons so that his heart will be opened to another type of possession — Christ’s possession.
You see, when the demons that drive us are cast aside we find ourselves possessed with something entirely different — Christ in us. The demoniac was freed from those powers and principalities that kept him from being who God had created him to be, and was replaced by the Christ who brings us to our full potential. That new possession is often as intense as the demon filled one, leading us to actions and behaviors that are impossible on our own.
Maximilian of Thavaste was someone who had been possessed by Jesus. He was so under Christ’s control that when it was time for him to join the Roman army he refused, pledging his allegiance to Christ, and ensuring his beheading. Likewise, men and women throughout time have been possessed by Jesus, and willing to take up their crosses in literal ways.
The question for me is am I really possessed by Christ. Am I so filled that I can truly take up my cross and follow?
Maximilian of Thavaste said, “You can cut off my head, but I will not be a solider of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ.”