Changing Our Spiritual Locks
Luke 11: 24-26 "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, 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 swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." (NIV)
I have to admit that the key verses today always gave me trouble. I comprehended them but failed to understand them. What was God trying to say to us as believers with these verses? As usual when the Holy Spirit illuminates, the answer I was seeking contains several truths to consider when reading this brief illustration from the teachings of Christ.
The first truth in the key verses is that we must be vigilant against allowing ourselves to become spiritually dry. Jesus says that the evil spirit is seeking arid places to find rest. The dictionary defines arid as, "barren or unproductive due to lack of moisture." How often does that describe us in our walk? We can attend church religiously, serve in ministry faithfully, tithe accordingly yet still see stagnation in our walk before God. How so we wonder? This is what happens when we mix our service unto God with our walk. One serves the church and the other is where we grow as a Christian. One has to do with religion and the other with relationship. If we think hard enough we can find examples where we were serving God in ministry yet felt barren in our walk. It is this spiritual dryness that attracts the sin of the world the evil spirit. But Jesus promises to quench the dryness in our lives:
Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life." John 4: 13-14 (NLT)
Barren. Unproductive. Spiritually this means that we get lazy in our Christianity. Maybe our prayer life is not what it once was. We find ourselves at the end of the day, drifting off to sleep, wondering why we didn't talk much to God that day. Perhaps our prayer life has become the whine list. God give me this, God give me that. Jesus becomes our ATM and when we do not feel like we are being answered quickly enough, we forget the PIN number! Maybe we don't attend church as regularly as we used to, or quit our ministry efforts. I'm sure we have a self righteous reason. We assign levels of hypocrisy to people within the church while turning a blind eye to our own. We get "hurt" in ministry because at some point it became about man instead of God. The truth we need to grasp today is that if we serve in our ministries for God, then there is nothing man can do to hurt us.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1Corinthians 15: 58 (NIV)
But we let everything move us! We don't like the songs the choir is singing. We think the sermon is too preachy. We get offended at the fact that there are rules. We get selfish; we get hurt, and eventually we get going. We dry up spiritually. That dry condition is just what the devil is looking for to plant his lies into our thinking.