Date: January 31, 2021

Bible Text: Galatians 5:16​-26, Mark 1:21​–28 |

At the beginning of Jesus' ministry he taught in the synagogue in Capernaum. His teaching had tremendous impact on those who heard him, because he taught "with authority, not like the scribes." His authoritative words become action when he casts an unclean spirit out of a man who comes to challenge him. Imagine someone with an unclean spirit right in the sanctuary! Jesus handles it handily.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians that people who indulge the desires of their bodies are (perhaps like an unclean spirit) opposed to the work of the Holy Spirit. In our own experiences and spiritual lives we need to be aware of the openings we make for unclean spirits to work in us and through us. We need not be paralyzed by fear of evil, for Jesus is our savior and can protect us. But we should be on the lookout for our own weaknesses and ways we actively or passively oppose the Holy Spirit. We can also call attention to such weakness and opposition in the larger culture. Divisiveness, party spirit, disdain for the needy, unresolved anger, racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, and more are all signs of life that is not submitting to the authority of Jesus. Let us be repentant as needed and vigilant in all things to extend the reach of God's Kingdom authority in Christ.

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