Monday, December 2, 2019

Made Known

Have you heard the way the demons respond to Jesus in the Gospels? They're always shouting and calling Him the "Son of Man" and so forth. And every time, Jesus tells them loudly and clearly to shut up. Shut up, He says. Stop calling Me that. Stop saying that. 

It's a little weird. I mean, we read these texts and think that it can't really hurt for anyone and everyone (and everything) to declare who Jesus is. The more the people hear it, from the more places, the more likely they are to believe, right? Check it - even the demons know His name. That's pretty cool. 

So you would think telling them to shut up wouldn't be His first reaction. You'd think maybe He'd say, hey, listen to this. The demons know who I am. You'd think He would want the people to hear it from wherever they could, as often as they could, until they "got it." After all, at some point, the voices grow so numerous that you can't ignore them any more. But that's not what Jesus wants. 

Jesus, you see, doesn't want the demons to make Him known; He wants to make Himself known.

He wants to be the one controlling the flow of that information. He wants to make sure what's going out is coming across the way it's supposed to. He wants to make sure that whoever hears it knows what it means...and what it doesn't mean. He makes a name for Himself in this world by what He does and doesn't do. The demons do not get to name Him. 

It's a lesson we could really use. Because I'm telling you - a lot of us let our demons name us. A lot of us have lost control of the information of our own story, and we aren't making ourselves known any more; we're being made known, often by things we'd rather not define us. 

It's a tough place to be. All it takes is one little insecurity and bam...that's who you are for the rest of your life, it seems. All the things you ever do right get overshadowed by one thing you do wrong, and all of a sudden, the voices just seem to multiply. From out of nowhere, they're screaming to the world who are you and you don't know what to do about it. 

Jesus knows what to do. Tell them loudly and clearly to shut up. 

Shut up. It's just that simple. Shut your mouth. This world doesn't control your story; you do. It doesn't define your reputation; you do. Your sin isn't who you are; grace is. If you want this world to know who you are, who you really are, it's up to you to tell them. You can't wait on some naked guy in a cemetery to start screaming it from his demon-brain; you've got to out and tell them. 

And when you do, you control the flow of information. You determine what others see of you. You determine what they conceive of you. You let them know, plainly, who you are without all of the other voices screaming in their ear. 

That's important. Do you know how much it changes the story of Jesus if you heard about Him from a demon? How does the demon even know His name? He must associate with demons! He must have some affiliation with them! They're on a first-name basis, and they even call Him the Christ, so somewhere, there's a den of demons and Jesus, isn't there?

We know that there's not, but you wouldn't be faulted for thinking that if all you've got is the testimony of the demon. That's why Jesus keeps telling them to shut up. They can't reveal who He really is; they're only going to confuse the crowds. Jesus is the only one who can reveal who He is. He's the one who's got the fullness of His story. Everyone else just has a part of it. 

The same is true with me and you. We're the ones who've got the fullness of our story; everyone else just has bits and pieces of it, bits and pieces that can never paint an accurate picture of who we are and who we were created to be. (Except, of course, God, who has even more fullness of it than we've got.) 

So go out and define yourself. Tell the world who you are. Show them. Live it out. And tell your demons to just shut up. It's not up to them to make you known. 

It's up to you. 

Be who God created  you to be, to the fullest of your wildest imagination. And let it be known. Somewhere years ago, I caught a quote that went something like this, and it remains true: let the world feel the full weight of who you are...and let them deal with it. 

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