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Do you want to change anything?

And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. Mark 1: 23-28 
“How are things with you?” Fine! “You wouldn’t want to change anything then?” I didn’t say that! 

This conversation took place at a hair dressing salon in St Helier a few months ago…. With you, as a complete person, is everything fine – at the same time as needing change? 

A man wants to watch child p***. Is anything needing change? Stephanie a 10-year-old, is terribly unhappy, convinced she would be happier as Stephen. Is anything needing change? Someone cannot avoid fault-finding another at every opportunity? Needing change?  Do obsessions, like alcohol or gambling or sport, or fitness, have us in their grip? Needing change? Self-conscious feelings of unworthiness, of not being like others, make me cover up my abnormalities but I fight hard to convince others there’s nothing wrong with me – only with others. I even end up bullying others. Is anything needing change? Or is all of this – absolutely all of it – fine? AOK?


‘Worst of all my foes I fear the enemy within.’ (John Wesley, preacher and writer, 1703-1791)
Mark’s eye-witness, first-century biography of Jesus Christ brings together, in its first few pages, several people whom Jesus greatly helped. The first of them was the “man with an unclean spirit” – see bold above. Was anything wrong with him? Yes. The uncleanness inside him was described as a “spirit”. A “spirit” is an “intangible”. Like methylated spirit and white spirit, no sooner used it has dissolved and disappeared. The “spirit” is there, doing, its work but is unseen and intangible. Jesus did not condemn this man – he greatly respected him. Jesus did not turn him away – not when his unclean intangible within, rightly, greatly feared Jesus.

Could it be that all of us human beings are actually very wonderful and “fine” and, at the same time, seriously in need of change? 

If so, that would accord also with the ancient Jewish canon of Scripture – 39 books known collectively as the Tanakh which are now the Old Testament in Christian Bibles.  In the first of those 39 books – Genesis - it’s on the record that the LORD God created human beings in the image of the LORD God. They were free, perfect, beautiful, able to live in happiness forever. And it’s also recorded in that book that it was the intangible part of every human being that messed up. The messing up took place within. Instead of focussing on the LORD God, who made them and gave them everything to enjoy, they focussed on themselves – on themselves individually, and on their own “good”. From then on, they could still maintain that things were “fine” - but they needed change.


‘After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the holy spirit.’ (John the Baptist, c. AD 30)
Mark also mentions unclean intangibles when a huge crowd was following Jesus everywhere. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

Jesus’ orders were strict. None of those who had unclean intangibles were to make it known to others that he was the Son of God.

I’m not going to tell you that either. Why on earth not? 

Well, if everything is “fine” with you but you still long to change things – to change the intangibles within – those intangibles within will already have identified him. Now you must decide how much you really long for things to change.

Sinner Syvret

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