Matthew 12:43-45 – “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 “Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” NASB
In the KJV verse 44 says, “…he findeth it empty.” Empty is this man’s problem. He has been cleansed but has not filled the house with another commodity, but it is swept clean but unoccupied. When we come to Jesus and are emptied of the old, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with the new.
This man has experienced a tremendous event. He was a demoniac. I am not saying that people who come to Christ have been delivered from demons but there is an applicable truth that can be seen. He had an evil spirit and because he did not fill his life with Christ, he left himself open to an even greater attack of the enemy.
Think of it this way, coming to Christ we are set free from sin. We need to fill our minds with the word of God and follow the directive of Paul to the Philippians and dwell on heavenly things. If we continue in our old stinkin’ thinkin’ we open ourselves to an even more brutal attack of the enemy and allow ourselves to face temptation and deception that do not need to come our way.
This man’s greatest sin was ‘doing nothing.’ He allows himself to remain empty. I would call him the idler. Why would anyone in this condition or anyone who has experienced the new birth remain idle and empty? Why? Was it laziness, probably not? Was it that there were not worthwhile tasks he could have become involved in, hardly? Was it from indifference, doubtful?
Then why? Why did he remain an idler? It is quite possibly because he, like many professing believers, had a mindset produced by a fatal misconception of what it really means to be a Christian. This man and all of us, need to be reprogrammed in our thinking and gain a right understanding of what being a member of the Body of Christ truly means. He may have been eager to reach that goal, but he went at it in such a way that made it impossible.
Many make the mistake that Harmlessness is Holiness. They confuse emptiness with godliness. They think that goodness consists of doing no wrong. They think that a Christlike character is made up of negatives. Touch not, taste, not, do not. His mistake was not uncommon. There are many whose greatest claim to Christianity is they do no harm, or they are as good as the next person.
Some expect to sprout wings and have a visible halo over their heads because there are so many bad things, they do not do. The list of sins that they do not do would fill an encyclopedia, but the list of burdens they carry and useful tasks they are doing would be a blank sheet of paper. The person who does not harm is as far from Christlikeness as the man who commits open sin.
The bee is not prized because it does not sting, but because it produces honey. The garden is not treasured because it has no briars, but because of its flowers and fruit. A rose is not sought after because of its lack of thorns, but because of the beauty and fragrance of the roses. Jesus told us that to be a follower of His we must take up our cross and follow Him. He instructed us to take His yoke upon us. Christianity is action in obedience to the directive of Scripture and the Holy Spirit.
If doing no harm made people saints, then we could make another Apostle Paul from a wax figure for it would do no harm. Sadly, that misconception refuses to die. Jesus found the religion of His day to be a religion of do nots… Thou Shalt Not! He challenged them by identifying that they bound heavy burdens on people that were too grievous to be carried. The list of things you could not do on the Sabbath was so voluminous that only the most astute scholar could keep up with them.
In fact, you could not even catch a flea or swat a fly without being guilty of hunting or working on the Sabbath. I do not find it amazing that the religious people of that day were so appalled at Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath. They were determined to hound Him to his death because He violated their traditions.
This misconception produced monasticism. In the dark ages, a man could become a saint by running off and hiding in a monastery or some den or cave and being a hermit. They were living a life of sanctified selfishness and that evil is two-fold. The world needs the light we have and to withhold it is a terrible thing. We are strengthened as we strengthen others and hiding denies them and us the needed strength of the Light of God’s Love and Grace.
I want to pursue this a bit more, but will pause here and say, God, bless you, go with God and He will go with you!