Do you ever think about spiritual house cleaning? If not, you should. We have to take time to clean our homes, right? Even though we know where to put things and have our cabinets and closets organized, dust will still accumulate, spills will happen, and dirty clothes pile up. We can go through our daily routine for awhile, but eventually things catch up to us and we have to set aside a day to do house work. The same is true spiritually.
In Matthew 12:43-45 Jesus was describing the attitude of the nation of Israel and the religious leaders in particular.
“43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
Just cleaning up ones life without filling it with God leaves plenty of room for Satan to enter. The book of Ezra records how the people rid themselves of idolatry, but failed to replace it with love for God and obedience to Him. Ridding our lives of sin through Jesus Christ is the first step. We must also take the second step: filling our lives with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. Unfilled and complacent people are easy targets for Satan!
Jesus was illustrating an unfortunate human tendency — our desire to reform often does not last long. In Israel’s history, almost as soon as a good king would pull down idols, a bad king would set them up again. It is not enough to be emptied of evil; we must then be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s new purpose in our lives.
Just cleaning up some of our visible actions, and not replacing it with the love of God, is a work based religion… and we’re expecting others (and God) to bless us for our efforts, but when these blessings don’t come like we want them to, our sinful nature shines through… we make sarcastic comments, attack God’s people, run them down for not doing what we want, and all the while we justify our actions by placing blame on others! That is not Christ like!
You have to fill the house with something! Get in touch with the Almighty Interior Decorator! He will fill your house with the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, Galatians 5:22)
We must be filled with His Spirit. Don’t give the enemy the chance to invade! Anybody can get ill when they’re mistreated (you don’t need Jesus for that!) But He can replace that if we let Him. When we are filled with him… then we can be sure our responses will be pleasing to Him. It is Him speaking through us. That’s how we are a witness for Christ.
I pray, “Lord, fill me with with Your love, and let it flow over into the lives of those around me. Let others see Christ in me that I may be a blessing and an encouragement to them. Help me to remain mindful of my spiritual state, so that I may produce the fruit of the Spirit, and never be found empty.”
The Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.