Is Your House Vacant?

When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it roams through waterless places looking for rest but doesn’t find any. Then it says, “I’ll go back to my house that I came from.’ And returning, it finds the house vacant, swept, and put in order. Then off it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that man’s last condition is worse than the first. That’s how it will also be with this evil generation.    Matthew 12:43-45 HCSB

An empty house can mean many things. I can still remember when my house was brand new. Once the paint was on the walls and the floors were down it was finished and ready for us to move in. It seemed so big and empty, but exciting because we would soon began to fill it with furniture and rugs and paintings and mirrors and all those things that make it a home. It signified a new beginning.

When we emptied my parent’s house after Mom moved in with us, it signified the end of an era. It was the end of Sunday dinners sitting around the table with my parents and my siblings and in-laws and enjoying the playful laughter of nieces and nephews running around. It was the end of holiday celebrations with all the family present and enjoying time spent together. It was good-bye to many things we had grown to love and cherish.

In our Scripture passage today, Jesus speaks of a house swept clean and put in order. He’s using this metaphor to describe a persons’ heart who has had an unclean spirit removed. Maybe that person has made a public profession of faith and been baptized signifying their surrender to the Lord.

Baptism symbolizes the death and burial of our old, sinful selves and the resurrection of our new life in Christ. When we are baptized, we should have clean hearts having removed the evil, sinful ways that are human nature.

Jesus points out, however, that simply removing the sin is not enough. I can vow to not willfully sin, but I can’t do this on my own. I need to have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside of me. My heart must be filled by the Holy Spirit.

1 John 1:9 tells us if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God will sweep our hearts clean and help us put them in order, but we must allow them filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The key is to accept God’s Holy Spirit. Just as criminals commit home invasions, Satan likes to commit heart invasions. We can’t let that happen, we must be diligent. The Holy Spirit helps guard against this.

Paul said in Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ, does not belong to Him.”

We can publicly profess our faith and be baptized and that’s a good start, but we must accept God’s Holy Spirit and allow Him to fill our heart. When we do this, we are better able to imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1). We are able to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). We are less likely to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

Romans 8:14 says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. If we want to truly be children of God, we must not have empty hearts. We must have hearts filled with the Holy Spirit. This is what helps us to resist the temptations of the devil.

When the devil shows up, be sure the Holy Spirit is flashing the “No Vacancy” sign on your heart.

Have a great day!