Last week, we concluded that God wants your WHOLE heart devoted to Him. Makes perfect sense that He would want total commitment, doesn’t it? We said that when we become a Christian, we are a new creation, and He puts His spirit in our hearts to give us a moral conscience and to help control our minds. But within our hearts, we have the capacity to allow part of it to be Satan’s playground. Not good. That is, if we are not careful, our emotions, attitudes, imagination, and will can all be manipulated.
So, you give your anxiety to the Lord, and two hours later you’re worrying about how you’re going to pay that bill, or perform on a final exam in school. You pray to the Lord about controlling your temper, and 15 minutes later your puppy tinkles on your living room carpet and you blow your fuse. You pray to get rid of those greedy thoughts, and then all of the sudden, they pop up again the next day.
Jesus tells us an insightful story to instruct us and illustrate how we can start renewing our minds and “break” the old nature. But there is a warning. In Luke 11:21-26, a man is inhabited by an evil spirit, and rejoices when the evil is removed. Unfortunately, the wicked spirit doesn’t find any rest and ends up coming back to its original house in the mind of the man. The spirit found the “house” was swept and in order. The evil spirit then found “seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they went in and lived there. And the final condition of that man was worse than the first”.
The moral of the story is that its’ hard to just verbally renounce your sin and have it go away. You have to replace sinful habits with thoughts on Scripture. That’s right, you heard it. Nobody can overcome evil by simply saying, “Go away”. Like Jesus’ story says, to try to simply repel evil is to make it grow stronger. Freedom comes with filling your mind with God’s thoughts. (quote from the emeritus Pastor of Moody Church, Erwin Lutzer)
So as a believer, we can be free in Christ, but still in bondage by the flesh and worldliness. This is just like the character “Brooks”, a lifelong prison inmate in the movie Shawshank Redemption, who gets his parole and total freedom, but his mind is still “trapped” in his old way of living when he was in prison. He can’t handle the change or adjust to his freedom, and sadly commits suicide.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8-9, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lively, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Next week: The Battle Continues……….