Occupied By God
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” Matthew 12:43-45
The problem of sin is not one reserved exclusively for the Christian. The unrest that any person feels in their existence can be traced back to sin, or the effect that another's sin has had on them. The world knows this, and efforts tirelessly by their own strength to correct the destruction that Satan still labours at injecting into this world. If only they could understand how futile their efforts are to fight a war of the spirit, when flesh is their only weapon. However, some small battles are won in this way. A compelling self help book or other morally sound experience can aide in the banishment of darkness from a frustrated heart, and provide a sweet relief to the sufferer. Unfortunately, Jesus issues a warning of what is to come of the self-reformer.
It was Aristotle who said "nature abhors a vacuum," but we can argue that Jesus said it first! The phrase suggests that any space that is emptied of its contents will not remain void of matter as it will willfully yield to whatever surrounds it, a frightening concept when applied to our hearts. Where once an impure spirit dwelt, either by choice of the invader or force of will by the self-reformer it departs and gives immediate rest to its former host. But the effects are short lived, because what is left behind is a clean and empty space just waiting to be occupied by sin. The void in the heart welcomes its return with no resistance.
The Christian heart is held by the Holy Spirit. Its nature is not that of an unclean spirit, because He will never depart from his occupant. When a human heart is cleaned out and regenerated in Christ, its void is filled forever by the Helper that our Lord Jesus sent to us from Heaven after he ascended to his Father so that we would never be alone. The unclean spirits of this world may try to tempt us, annoy us or even befriend us, but with the Helper, The Holy Spirit faithfully occupying our hearts they can never possess us.
This week, ask in prayer that The Holy Spirit, already present in you be made stronger. As followers of Christ, we are set apart from the world and although we remain in the world, we are not citizens of its territory. We all once were held by an unclean spirit of our own, upon hearing and accepting the Gospel of Christ it was sent out from us and was replaced by the Holy Spirit. Jesus urges us to embrace this new and good company so that we grow to become his true disciples and not just be temporarily reformed. By increasing in righteousness by the power of The Holy Spirit we provide living testimony to the truth of God's saving power.