Jesus tells an interesting story that Matthew records in the twelfth chapter of his gospel. Here it is:
43 “When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it roams through waterless places looking for rest but doesn’t find any. 44 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. 45 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.”
Did you notice the punch line? When the demon returned, he found the house “vacant, swept, and put in order.” Clean, but empty. Does that describe any Christians you know?
For many of us, the gospel has become more about sin than Jesus. Here’s what I mean. We’re more concerned about NOT doing anything wrong than we are following Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand how serious sin is. I deal daily with its destruction. However, the way to conquer temptation and sin isn’t by thinking harder about NOT doing them, but in filling our hearts and minds with Christ.
Yes, we repent from our sin, but we also repent TO Christ. When we turn from our sin (repent means to “turn around”) we stop going away from Christ and begin to walk after Him. Being a disciple means becoming as much like the Master as possible. We learn to walk as He walked, think as He thought, love as He loved… that means we have to think a lot about Jesus to get all of that right.
And that’s the point. We have to think a lot about Jesus and when we do, we’ll think a lot less about everything else. Temptations will lessen because we have learned to simply ignore them as we seek after Christ.
Paul was always talking about “putting off” and “putting on.” As we “put off” the ways of the sinful person we were, we must “put on” the ways of Christ. Both steps are necessary. You have to put on and take off. We have to clean out our lives and then, fill them with Christ.
The old gospel song says, “It takes all of my time praisin’ my Jesus. Ain’t got time to die.” That’s it. It takes all of our time learning about Jesus. Takes all of our time serving Jesus. We really don’t have time for anything else.
Question: Have you ever tried to live your life this way? What was the result? Let me know in the comments below…