â€œWhen an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, â€˜I will return to the house I left.â€™ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.â€ Luke 11:24-26 (NIV)
A young man stood up one night in the church I was attending and told his story about how he had been miraculously set free from alcoholism some years before. He began to attend church regularly, going to Bible study, and even played on the church softball team. He thought he had â€˜arrivedâ€™ in a spiritual safe haven. He missed a Sunday here and there. Didnâ€™t go to Bible study during the summer monthsâ€¦thought he would take a vacation and relax. â€œI didnâ€™t know what a slippery slope I stepped on!â€ He began to drink again, almost dying in an alcoholic overdose.
Too often in the last 13 years, since I made my commitment to Jesus, I, too, have stepped on to the slope that the young man described. My story may not seem as dramatic but my footsteps were no less scary! I thought I could relax and not take my spiritual health too seriously. I was a mature Christian. I knew my Bible. I knew what my Lordâ€™s voice sounded like. I KNEW.
Jesusâ€™ metaphor is very descriptive and clear. When I choose to clean my life and sweep out the junk in my life, I have to FILL IT with the Holy Spirit. I need to GROW fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) BUT if I am living a life like Christ then I am giving out that fruit and I have to restock my shelves! I have to stay actively connected to the Living Vine! I have to drink in the Spiritâ€™s Living Water and consume the Fresh Bread of Godâ€™s Word.
Let us take our spiritual life even more seriously than we do our physical life. If we are willing to make diet and exercise a priority so that we remain physically healthy for many years, isnâ€™t it wisdom to also have a healthy spiritual diet and exercise our spiritual mind and bodies?
My story of the young man has second miracle. He was set free again and is now a pastor with a beautiful wife and children. He is a spiritual coach in Godâ€™s Kingdom!
Spend some time today asking God how He wants you to improve your spiritual health. Take notes. Begin to take steps toward NEW LIFE and HEALTH that FILLS your spiritual life, leaving no room for unwelcome vagrants! J