One of my hobbies involves painting with the use of little paint brushes. I have a small collection of brushes, about a dozen. Some brushes I use a great deal while others I rarely use at all. I have found that those brushes that I seldom use will frequently become un-usable and will need to be thrown away. Frequent use seems to keep them in good shape, whereas neglect makes them useless.
This passage from Luke is one that may not make sense at first glance. What is the first thing that happens with the evil spirit (verse 24)? What happens when it returns to its original place? Why are things worse?
How does Jesus respond to the woman’s statement? How does it apply to his parable of the evil spirit?
This parable of the evil spirit and its return speaks of the void we can allow our lives to have. We may have difficulties in our lives. We may have hardships and challenges – illness, infirmities, emotional stresses – and we can turn to God and seek relief from these afflictions. And when these problems are taken away, what then?
If our problems are removed and our prayers are answered, we may be thankful and joyful. But if we leave our lives empty we may be opening ourselves to more troubles. If we are blessed by God through relief of our troubles and problems, we need to fill the void with a good relationship with God. Allowing our spirituality to rest idle – like the paint brushes – may result in more problems.
To avoid this we are encouraged to fill our spirituality with goodness and blessings. And how do we do that?
The woman who heard Jesus teaching recognized that Jesus was both blessed and a blessing. She called out that Jesus was blessed. But that was not enough.
Simply recognizing that God can bless us may still leave us with a spiritual void. We fill the void in our spiritual lives by hearing the word of God and obeying it. Believing in God and being blessed by God requires more than simply receiving God’s goodness or recognizing that it exists.
It requires that we ask for more of God’s presence and insight in our lives through prayer. It requires that we seek a deeper relationship with God through study, Christian fellowship, and service. It requires that we knock – we work to understand the teachings of Christ better – and we make them a part of who we are.
DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you make your spiritual house something that is filled and not just “in order”?