Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"No Vacancy"

The Word for today:
Matthew 12:22-50
Self-reformation (quitting sin) does not make a Christian.
If everybody in the whole world quit sinning today, there wouldn't be any more Christians tomorrow...just a bunch of empty houses.
But the houses wouldn't stay empty for long. Because a cleaned-up, unoccupied house is an invitation--a "Vacancy" sign to evil:
"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:43-45)
Jesus called self-reformation "the broad way:"
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it." (Matthew 7:13)
The broad way is works-based religion. The Bible tells us it never works. It just paints over sin. Pretty soon, the paint chips and fades and the sin shows through.
God's Way--the narrow way--is faith in Jesus Christ:
"Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:14)
His blood washes our sin completely away.
But that's not all. God in the person of the Holy Spirit takes up residence in all those who trust Jesus. When the Holy Spirit is inside, it's like a "No Vacancy" sign to the legions of evil. They cannot come in. They don't even try, because they know that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
When the Spirit lives within, our lives are reformed by the power of God--from the inside out. The image of God is restored on the outside because the Spirit of God is on inside.
You meant well. You've struggled with sin. You might have momentarily, here and there, even managed what looked like victory. But then they all returned, with a 'friend' or two besides. You took one step forward and two steps back, just like Jesus said you would.
That's because we are powerless against the supernatural world.
So stop fighting a battle you can't win. Take your sins through the narrow door and give them to Jesus. He will carry them to the cross.
Jesus gave an invitation to sinners like you and me:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28; cf. Isaiah 1:4)
He's promised to take that heavy burden of sin. For perhaps the first time in your life, you'll get some rest.

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