(For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
This is the true work of Satan and what he does to us, as well. He tries to keep us bound and drives us away into a wilderness alone and among the dead works of sin. He ensnares us and traps us to the point that we think there is no escape and no way out. There is no peace there, only striving and struggling and unrest. And we are bound with heavy chains and driven to those barren, empty places as long as we dwell in sin. But Jesus will come and free us from those chains and invite us back from that isolation into sweet fellowship with Him.
Sometimes the devil convinces us that we are still chained to our old sins and trapped in those old places and those old struggles. Sometimes we fall back into those hopeless mind-sets that cause us to wander about in the tombs, restless and alone. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we find ourselves locked in something we can’t get out of. But where Jesus has helped us once before, He can help us again. Just because we fell or we failed doesn’t mean Jesus has lost His power over sin or that He can’t rescue us now. Just because Satan has tripped us up doesn’t mean that Jesus doesn’t have the victory anymore.
Each one of us knows where we’ve come from and what Jesus has delivered us from. We all know our own weak spots and the things that we struggle with. And when we look back, we can see that dismal place so clearly and almost feel those chains upon our wrists. But can’t we also see that Jesus came to us in those places and reached out His hand so tenderly? Can’t we hear His voice more clearly above the rest calling out in love to offer us forgiveness and freedom and peace, a new chance, a new hope? Don’t we realize that in those times and those places where we couldn’t love ourselves that His love was enough?
Satan still seeks to destroy us, though we’ve been delivered from the grips of sin. But Jesus still seeks to forgive. Jesus is still breaking chains and casting out darkness. Jesus’ arms are wide open to us, and His mercy still finds us right where we are. Let us not allow past mistakes or recent mistakes to drive us back to that wilderness. But let’s instead fall again at Jesus’ feet and allow Him to touch our hearts and experience that joy and that grace that only He can offer us.