A house divided...
Luke 11:14-36 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. 22 But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. 23 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.
24 “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”
27 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
29 As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. 30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
33 “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. 36 If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.”
If you leave a jar empty in your basement or attic, over time it will become filled with dust, debris and possibly spiders or bugs. If you empty the jar but leave it as it was it will again become filled with those same things. If however you clean that jar, then fill it with something of value and seal it, it becomes a useful vessel to hold and distribute its contents. In today’s text Jesus says: “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” Like that empty jar, if we are not filled with something when we have been delivered from, emptied of something evil, we will return to that former natural state. We were made to be vessels of God’s Holy Spirit. Only as we are filled with the Holy Spirit can we be certain that evil will find no place in us. Often we go through much of our lives, focusing on one problem, one temptation at a time. We struggle to overcome that one area. We work hard to empty ourselves of all of that evil that is within us. Yet we find that when we have overcome one thing, there is always something else. We repeat the pattern of struggling to empty our selves, to crucify our flesh, over and over. There is another way to our victory over temptation and sin. In John 3:30, John the Baptist speaking of himself and his ministry in relation to Jesus says: "He must increase, but I must decrease.” Rather than repeatedly struggling to empty ourselves, we should instead ask that God would fill us. Each and every day we should begin asking God to give us a new measure of His Holy Spirit, so that we would be filled to overflowing with His indwelling presence. Rather than empty ourselves, we should displace anything and everything from within us through the filling of God’s Spirit. The psalmist says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm37:4) As we fill ourselves with God’s Spirit, as we delight in Him, as Christ increases in us, nothing that is contrary to the Spirit of God can reside within us.
In today’s text Jesus says: “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls.” If that is true of a kingdom or a household, how much more is it true of our own lives and our physical bodies? In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says: “No one is able to serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and he will love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and he will despise the other. You are not able to serve God and mammon.” Many translations say you cannot serve God and money, but it is really beyond money or wealth. It is really the world system which is opposed to God. If we try to serve both, we will fall. James 4:4-8 says: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. We cannot be double minded. We cannot serve God and serve the world system. There really can be no neutrality concerning our spiritual condition. If Jesus is Lord, He must be Lord of all.
Jesus says: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” He says: “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” 1 John 1:5 says: This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. In Leviticus 20:26 God says: You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy. It is not our own holiness or our own light that we are to be filled with and reveal to the world. It is the holiness and the light of God and Christ which must fill us. We must be filled to overflowing, so that the light, the love and the holiness of God flows out of us. We are not to be reflections of God. If the world sees and image of God which reflects from our flesh it will be a distorted image. We should not reflect the light of God as the moon reflects the light of the sun. We should instead be so filled with God’s light and love that we ourselves become transparent. We should be so filled with God that there is nothing of ourselves for the world to see.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of all; precious Holy Spirit I am amazed and thankful that through the finished work of the cross, I can be one with You. Abide in me. Fill me to overflowing with Your light and Your love. Increase in me causing me to decrease and make me a vessel fit for Your purpose. Amen.