As you may know, I am going through the Gospel of Matthew – as you might have noticed, I’m going through it very slowly lol… It seems that every sentence I read that Jesus uttered is teaching me new things and I can’t help but sit upon 2-3 verses each day. It gives me hope that I can learn to be like David and the one of whom who spoke in Psalm 1:2 when he said, “but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night (ESV).” The Word of God can be read and no change can happen within the heart of the reader unless we read intending to hear God and meditate on His Word with the prayer that the Holy Spirit will use it to teach and refine us. Over and over David and many of the Prophets and NT authors tell us to meditate on God’s Word; meditating is so very different than just quickly reading just to read. In order to allow Scripture to change our lives, we must begin our time with prayer, asking God to speak to our hearts through His written Word; we must also spend time thinking about the words- meditating on them. The more we think on His Words, the more chance we have of understanding them and the One who spoke them; the more time we give God to change us through them. Not to mention, when we are mulling over the words of God, we have so much less time to think unholy thoughts, get angry, impatient, think ill of others. I think that will be my prayer today – that God will give us a heart that seeks after Him like David. ❤
If you think back to my last post, you will remember that Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and compared them to a fruit tree that bears bad fruit, saying it is by their words that they will be judged (Matt 12:33-37). After this, the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign and Jesus tells them that the only sign they will receive will be the sign of Jonah- which is Jesus’ first explicit prediction of his own death; as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for 3 days before bringing the Ninevites the message of redemption, so Jesus would be in the ground for 3 days before bringing salvation to all . However, Jesus goes on to say that the Ninevites would judge the Pharisees because the Ninevites repented when the Pharisees would not (vv38-42). It is in this context that we turn to the next portion of Matthew 12:43-45:
43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
This parable is about a person who has been released from an evil spirit, but they left the space empty and clean; therefore, it was ripe to be filled with even more spirits. Jesus went through the land releasing people from evil spirits so they could be forgiven of their sins and reconciled with God; however, the Pharisees and Jewish leaders discouraged people from following Jesus – the only path to total reconciliation with God – and therefore, taught the Jewish people to leave that space previously filled with evil empty. So, as Jesus came along and freed people from evil, the Pharisees discouraged them from filling that space with God and left it empty so evil could move back in 7 fold.
This is what happens when we accept Christ as our Savior; we ask for forgiveness and profess to follow Him. In that moment, the blood of Christ pours over us and grace purifies us to become holy and innocent. However, if we do not then go forth and fill our hearts and minds with God through the learning of His Word, through the growing in relationship with Him through prayer and time spent in His presence and the presence of our family in Christ – if we do not do these things, we leave ourselves wide open for evil to move back in. I am not saying that we are not “saved,” this is not a theological discussion about salvation. What I am saying is that, like those freed from torment by demons, we are freed from the shame, guilt, addiction, and burdens of our past when we accept Christ. If we do not grasp Jesus and hold on for dear life, we are inviting each one of those “demons” to come back with a vengeance. We will never be totally free from the demons that haunt us until we seek God “with all [our] heart, mind, soul and strength (Deut 6).” As I remember the demons from my past, I am desperate to never go back there – the actions, the consequences, the emotions, the guilt and shame – why would I not do everything in my power to stay as far away as possible from that? If you are like me, you have to know to the depths of your being that you have been SET FREE from the demons of your past; and then you have to seek God with everything in you, diligently, every day, without ceasing, and you will live a life in freedom!
Praise you God that you are a warrior like no other! Praise you that you went to battle for us, that you died a horrific death bound to a cross so we could live a beautiful life in freedom. Where would we be without you, God? You are so good. I pray that you call to us throughout the day, that you write your Word on our hearts and remind us to meditate on you all day. Give us a supernatural love for you and your words. Thank you for our freedom, God. We love you. In Your Name, amen.