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One-a-Day...for the Heart: Nowhere to Go

  “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came'” (Luke 11:24 NKJV).

Jesus explained the extraordinary dynamic that happens when a person is set free from a demonic spirit. As Luke and Matthew record the Lord's explanation of deliverance, they tell us that the Pharisees were again trying to catch Jesus in a false teaching or a blasphemous act. How dare He cast out a dumb spirit from a man who could not talk! When the man began speaking, the Pharisees accused the Lord of being in cahoots with the devil (Luke 11:15). Nothing was further from the truth!

     Matthew's recording of the event also includes Jesus' words, “Something greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:41) and “Something greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42). His following sentence is the explanation of what happens when a demon spirit leaves a person. Indeed, “something greater than” the wisdom of Solomon or the supernatural preservation of Jonah from the belly of a whale occurs when one is set free from the crippling clutches of the enemy! Diseases leave, blindness departs, insanity is dismissed, and God's peace and health return to the body, soul, and spirit of the person. God's supernatural intervention occurs in the most impossible situations when unclean spirits leave.

     During deliverance, as described by Jesus, evil spirits are cast out of a troubled person. Perhaps the individual is chronically depressed, mentally tormented, disease-ridden, accident-prone, or suffering some other form of oppression. Many people, including Christians, are under such oppression, and Jesus has the remedy. When the evil spirit is identified—for example, a spirit of fear, heaviness, suicide, poverty, anxiety, witchcraft, to name a few—and called out by a Christian who understands his authority as dictated by Jesus in Mark 16:17 and Luke 10:19, the evil spirit can be cast out of the person, and freedom from the oppression realized.

     Jesus said in Mark 16:17, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name, they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues...” Furthermore, in Luke 10:19, the Lord says, “Behold, I have given you authority to walk on snakes and scorpions, and authority over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Of course, we don't go on snake or scorpion hunts, but the emphatic phrase in this verse is that we have been given authority over ALL the power of the enemy.

     Where does the demonic spirit go? What are the “dry places”? According to the Greek meaning, they are desert areas, void of water. Life cannot be sustained there. Since the devil was ousted from heaven and took one-third of the angelic host with him, demon spirits have roamed all of creation—the heavens, sky, waters, land, and subterranean areas--looking for hosts to live in. Sadly, those hosts are human beings who knowingly or unknowingly surrender their free will to the devil, not God. They choose not to live life under the covering and Lordship of Jesus Christ. Their hearts are not redeemed and filled with the Spirit of the Lord, but rather they are polluted by the character and nature of the devil, not God. They have unregenerate, polluted hearts. Christians, too, can have polluted hearts if they engage in ongoing sinful behavior that does not please the Lord.

     Our opening verse tells us that when an evil spirit leaves or is expelled from a person, it will immediately go to dry places seeking rest. Regarding the idea of a demon spirit seeking rest, Adam Clarke's Commentary states: Seeking rest - or refreshment. Strange! A fallen corrupt spirit can have no rest but in the polluted human heart. A polluted human heart beckons the evil spirit to take up residence there.

     Jesus continues to show us the path of a demon, as evidenced in Luke 11:25-26, “And when it comes, [to the house or human heart it originally occupied] it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they come in and live there, and the last condition of that person becomes worse than the first.” That describes the heart of a person—even a Christian—who has not sincerely repented of sin and changed his behavior but rather continues in the sin that opened him up to the evil spirit in the first place. The tragic part of this hypocritical lifestyle is that the second time around, the evil spirit brings seven other demons more evil than itself. That spells M-E-S-S. Mental institutions, prisons, and asylums are filled with such tormented people, but the authority and power of Jesus can bring freedom and peace to such troubled souls.

     The proper response to being set free of demonic oppression is to fill the heart with the Word of God and begin living life to please the Lord. A heart filled with God's things—His Word, His actions, His desires—will have no vacant areas where evil spirits can reside. Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me Do not cast me away from Your presence. And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation. And sustain me with a willing spirit (Psalm 51:10-12 Amplified Bible).

© 2024, Chris Custer Werre

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