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For Your Weekend: You Have More Power Than You Think

Mallory Smyth
January 27, 2024

Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read Mark 1:21–28

I show up to the internet for the jokes. Whenever I need a break in my daily routine, a quick reel or meme can bring the laughter I need. Although most of these videos and pictures are forgettable, I recently saw a reel I can’t get out of my head. 

The reel was a video taken from an 80s skate party. With funny, upbeat music playing in the background, the camera slowly traveled across the faces of smiling, wide-eyed, middle-aged people skating out onto a roller rink. The caption on the top read: “All your bad memories getting ready to visit you before bed.”  

I know those memories well.

Before I fell in love with God, I wanted nothing to do with Him, and my decisions showed it. My behavior was driven by selfishness and the desire for pleasure, which led me deep into a pit of heartache, regret, and unhappiness. 

God dug me out of that pit. He saved me, and life with Him has led to peace. But in quiet moments, memories I wish didn’t exist come to visit. And when they do, they come filled with accusations that sound like: 

  • Who are you to tell people how to live? 
  • What would the people from your past think of what you are doing now? You are a fraud. 
  • All these years, and you have not overcome that sin. You are hopeless.

When these accusations arise, they can take me out at the knees. Insecurity rages, and my mind begins to spiral. I tell myself all sorts of things, but I rarely do what God wants me to do. I rarely fight back with the power He has given me. 

I bet your memories, with their accusations, come to visit you, too. Maybe something happened to you in your past. It wasn’t your fault, but you hear that you are a lost cause. It’s possible you walked away from a life that didn’t honor God. Today, He calls you to be a light, but those memories deem you a hypocrite. Perhaps you hear the accusations: you are unlovable, unworthy, and you don’t matter. You might know these accusations are from the pit of hell, but they spring up when your defenses are down, and if you are like me, instead of fighting back, you allow them to take you down. 

Years ago, I sat and told my problems to a priest. When I finished, he asked, “How are you fighting these attacks?” I replied, “I don’t know, Father.” He responded, “It’s a fight, girl; you need to get up and fight.” 

Yes. He was right. I, we, need to get up and fight. But how? 

In Mark 1:21–28, Jesus enters the synagogue to preach. The audience immediately noticed that Jesus spoke with complete authority. As He was teaching, a man with an unclean spirit shouted, “'What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!' Jesus rebuked him and said, 'Quiet! Come out of him!'” (Mark 1:24–25).

The spirit obeyed and came out of the man. People could not believe what they had witnessed and began asking themselves, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him” (Mark 1:27).

Why does it matter that Jesus wielded such authority?

Have you ever thought about what life was like before Christ? In his gospel, Saint John referred to Jesus as the light. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). This means in the time before Christ, the darkness ruled. We had turned away from God through sin and sold ourselves into the slavery of the devil. Although we tried to break his power over us, we couldn’t. The darkness seemed to have won. We were stuck in the bondage of unclean spirits that prowled about the world, seeking to ruin us.

And then Jesus, having been given all authority on heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18), came onto the scene. He was the light that finally broke through the darkness—so bright that the darkness was powerless to overcome it. As we read in the gospel, His presence forces demons to reveal their hidden tricks. His spoken command compels the evil one to flee at once. He has the power to rid us of the unclean spirits that plague us, and the authority to silence the accusations that come at us as a result of our sins.

Because of Jesus Christ, you no longer live in a world dominated by the enemy’s power. You have been rescued from the power of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). 

Sister, you do not have to live in bondage any longer. And yet, the enemy is working overtime to ensure you never figure that out. He uses the memory of your sin to convince you of his lies, hoping you never realize you can fight him with an authority much greater than his. 

Don’t fall for it. God has given you His power. 

The glorious truth is that the same Jesus who commands the demons to flee with a word has made His home in you. You can stake your claim on Christ’s authority and fight back against the temptations and lies that come your way. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you can dispel the darkness that creeps in. One question remains. Will you use the weapon you have been given?  

So what does this look like? It looks like paying attention to your thoughts. When you recognize accusations and thought patterns that don’t sound like they are coming from God, take a moment to claim God’s authority out loud. For example, you could say:

  • In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I rebuke the lie that I am defined by sin, and I claim the truth that God has thrown my sins farther than the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). 
  • I reject this feeling of jealousy in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept the truth that God has given me all I need to live a good life in a relationship with Him (John 10:10). 
  • In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I reject the accusation that I am unlovable because of my past; I claim the truth that He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). 

Philippians 2:10 says, “At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” He has given you His name as one of your greatest weapons; speak it out loud and watch your accuser get quieter and quieter. 

Standing up and fighting with you,

P.S. For more ways to stake your claim on God’s authority through His Word and fight the enemy, check out Lisa Brenninkmeyer's I Declares.

Food for thought or journaling…

Take a moment to think of the most common accusations that enter your mind. Are they true? What does God have to say about them? Now write out a response to those accusations using the authority of Jesus Christ. Then say that response out loud and stake your claim on His truth. 

Dear God, You have more power than any sin I have ever committed. I ask You, in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, to give me the confidence to stand on Your authority. Please quiet any accusations that seek to take my eyes off You and help me to live in Your truth. Amen.

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