Text: Luke 11:14-54
Event(s): A house divided cannot stand, An unclean spirit returns, Keeping the Word, Seeking a sign, The lamp of the body, Woe to the Pharisees and Lawyers
Luke 11:17 “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls.” Whether we’re talking kingdoms, nations, the Church, corporations, athletic teams, families, or even when considering our own minds and thought life, the principle remains. As James 1:8 reminds us, A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Luke 11:23 “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” There is a spiritual conflict that is all around us; and in the midst of this spiritual conflict, there is no neutral ground. To stand in the field of this life and not intentionally gather people to God, means we are instead participating in scattering them. If we’re not actively helping in whatever way we can, we’re actually making matters worse.
Luke 11:24 “he goes through dry places” A heart that is spiritually dry is like an open vacancy for an unclean spirit. Psalm 68:6 tells us, “God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”
Luke 11:24 “I will return to my house from which I came” Never doubt that unclean spirits always look for an opportune time to come back. It doesn’t mean we weren’t free from that oppression the first time, this is just the nature of evil – to try and reoccupy.
Luke 11:28 “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” The woman who spoke out was truly offering up a compliment. But she was drawing attention to a position that could be claimed by only one person, Jesus’ mother. Jesus instead redirected the crowd’s attention to His spiritual family – a position that was available to all people.
Luke 11:29-32 Instead of offering commentary on this section of our passage, I recommend reading this in the MSG Bible, as it really does paint a great picture of what Jesus meant.
Luke 11:34 “the lamp of the body is the eye” Even the brightest of lights cannot make a blind man see. Jesus is the light of the world, but when people reject Him, their spiritual eyes are darkened. Rebirth opens our spiritual eyes. Remember what we read in John 3:3 “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (cf Psalm 119:105, 130)
Today’s Takeaway: The removal of that which oppresses a person will no doubt bring a sense of relief as the choke of that oppression is released. However, we must realize that there is a vacuum that has been created by the empty space and many times this is why we don’t sustain our freedom – because we’ve not filled those empty spaces. There is no stronger “armed guard” at the door which blocks the entrance of what was old and familiar from coming in again.
We cannot leave people in this condition, and neither can we leave ourselves vulnerable in this way. The empty spaces must be filled with the good things of God so that there is no room for the old familiar spirits to find a place of habitation when they return (and never doubt that unclean spirits always look for an opportune time to come back). What does this look like practically speaking? Well, old lies we used to believe must be replaced with truth. The harmful things we used to reach for to comfort ourselves or to escape must be replaced with things that bring us life and that truly satisfy. Harmful relationships must be replaced with new, life-giving ones. We must find new means of entertainment and enjoyment to replace the reckless things we used to engage in. Do you see the pattern? To not replace the old with the new is to leave ourselves wide open to those temptations, habits, or even relationships from coming back and settling in. And Jesus provides a very clear warning that it’s even worse the next time around. The renewing work of God finds its truest completion not just when the old is cast out, but when God is invited in to inhabit and fill those vacant places. A great question to ask ourselves is if we’ve left any “open spaces” uninhabited and then ask God to show us ways to re-furnish those areas.
Additional (optional) reading: James 1:5-8 (AMP), Luke 11:29-32 (MSG), Psalm 119:105, 130