“‘When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, “I will return to the person I came from.” So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits worse evil than itself, and they all enter and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.'” – Matthew 12:43-45
Jesus here makes a bold claim. He states, first of all, that demons and evil spirits are very real and can be dealt with by believers. But He also makes the amazing claim that a person who has been rescued from an evil spirit can be possessed again and be worse off than they were the first time.
Jesus is never one to mince words. He always goes straight for the heart of the matter. And this passage is no exception.
We’ve all been in a situation or have witnessed a situation where either ourselves or another person have a very nasty habit, sometimes seemingly (and quite possibly) demonic in nature.
All of a sudden, some life change comes upon them. They completely change their ways, repent of their evil habit, and their lives start to get better.
However, over time, you start to see changes that are very unbecoming. They become extremely proud of being free or overly judgmental toward those who suffer from the same kind of sin they were once captive to.
After a while, they restart the habit that they once gave up, and you see their lives spiral down, and they are, in Jesus’ words, “‘worse off than before.'”
So, what do you do to keep that from happening?
The answer is, once again, in Jesus’ own words, but we don’t recognize it at first. Jesus says that when the evil spirit returns to it’s old haunt, so to speak, it finds the place swept, in order, and (and here’s the key) empty.
The person cleaned house in their life and mind and spirit, but left it empty. They didn’t fill the now gaping hole that was their sin, habit or demon with anything. They simply cleaned up and kept living.
And that’s why it’s easy for the spirit to come back, and not just come back, but throw a party where the guests never leave.
When you change your life to follow Christ, when you are freed from your sin, when you are released from the demons that plague you, you must fill that void with something.
And that something must be Jesus.
There is no other answer. Another habit, another hobby, another relationship, is not enough to fill that void that your past sins. It is not enough to keep the demons at bay.
You must fill that empty void with Jesus and with following and obeying Him.
There is no other answer.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says.