Worse Than Before
18 March 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matt 12:43-45 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
43 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. 45 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43–45 NLT)
Jesus continues addressing the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees and warns them about trying to make themselves righteous in their own sight by their own effort. Their religion was mostly about cleaning up their lives and keeping them clean by getting rid of bad habits and by avoiding the things on a detailed and extensive list of bad things people must not do so they could be good people! Jesus uses a kind of “physics” illustration in telling them that if all they’re doing is breaking bad habits and stopping bad behavior, they’re creating an empty vacuum in their souls. Souls, like nature, abhor a vacuum, so all sorts of other “bad things” come rushing into fill the empty space and the person ends up worse off than at the beginning.
There are certainly plenty of bad things circling around out there to rush in and fill an empty soul! There’s greed, lust, and envy. There’s pornography and violent video games. There’s gossip and criticism of others. There’s laziness and hours of watching TV reruns. There’s pride and arrogance. There’s lying and cheating. There’s hatred and racism and all forms of discrimination. There’s darkness, discouragement, and depression. Believe me, friends, there’s a lot of bad stuff out there to get into an empty life. And different kinds of “empty” in our lives attracts different kinds of “evil”.
That’s why Jesus emphasized filling our lives with good rather than emptying our lives from bad. Jesus recommended filling our lives with love for God and love for others. Filling our lives with living generously—giving of ourselves, our time, our energy, and our resources to bless and help others. Filling our lives with an active relationship with God and strengthening that relationship with prayer, worship, God’s Word, and uplifting conversations with our fellowship of believers. A full life hasn’t much room for the bad stuff! And we’re better off, not worse off than before!
Father, Fill us with your Spirit and your love so that there’s little or no room for evil to flood into our souls. May the life of Jesus fill us to overflowing! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!