SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY
Matthew 12:43-45 (NKJV)
An Unclean Spirit Returns
43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 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. 45 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.”
“Just because you are TEMPTED BY IT, doesn’t mean you aren’t DELIVERED FROM IT!”
In Matthew 12:43, it says that the unclean spirit was CAST OUT of the man. This means that he had experienced DELIVERANCE. In vs 44, it says that the man was found “EMPTY, SWEPT, and put in ORDER.” In other words, his deliverance was made COMPLETE. There was NO RESIDUE of the unclean spirit left inside of him.
However, the unclean spirit that had been cast out of him had come back to tempt him. The man didn’t go searching for the unclean spirit. He didn’t go out their dabbling in his past life to see what he was missing out on. Rather, the unclean spirit went searching for him–to repossess him. For it has said, “I will return to my house in which I came.”
SIDENOTE: (When God’s mighty hand rescues you from your sin, and you begin walking in your deliverance, the enemy isn’t just going to let you go that easily. He’s going to attempt to repossess you! Consider Israel, when God delivered them from Egypt. Pharaoh and his army men didn’t just let them go free. They went out to pursue them–to hunt them down!)
So, we see that the man was fully delivered, yet he still faced temptation from the same spirit he was delivered from. The unclean spirit wanted to come back in his life, and the unclean spirit wanted to put the man in a condition that was 7 TIMES worse than the condition he was in before. (Sin is a hard taskmaster.)
A WORD OF KNOWLEDGE: When the man got delivered from the unclean spirit, and was “empty, swept, and put in order,” he was left vacant. When someone is vacant, that means they are vulnerable and open for anyone to access them. He should have occupied that emptiness in his life with the Word of God, and with the baptism of the Holy Ghost so that the unclean spirit could not come back inside. Once the word of God and the Holy Ghost are inside of you, the unclean spirit can tempt you all it wants to, and it can try to come back into you as much as it wants to, but it won’t be able to. There’s no room in your life to occupy the unclean spirit and the Spirit of God at the same time!
When the enemy tries to come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. When the devil tries to get you to bow down to his influences again, you should have enough word in you to say, IT IS WRITTEN: Serve the Lord God only. But you must be filled with the word and you must be filled with the Holy Ghost. That’s the only way you can fight against the enemy when he comes to tempt you with your past.
Many people feel guilty when they are tempted by their past life, because they think they have done something to cause the temptation to come. But not all the time is that the case. The devil brings temptation to us because he is “mindful of the things of man.” The devil knows what our flesh likes, and it is his job to feed us our fleshly desires.
WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT: It’s not a bad thing to be tempted. Temptation only comes to give you an opportunity to confirm your deliverance. How will you know if you are truly free if you are never put to the test? Tests come to help reassure you of what you know. You know you are delivered, because it is written: HE WHO THE SON OF MAN SETS FREE IS FREE INDEED. But you have to be tempted by the devil, and tested by God to confirm that. When you respond the right way, by denying yourself of your fleshly desires and casting down your ungodly imaginations, you have proved yourself delivered.
Jesus was tempted on every side, just like we are. Yet, he sinned not. It’s not a sin to be tempted. It’s a sin to give in to temptation. But the same Spirit that worked in Jesus and gave him the power to say no to his flesh is the same Spirit that lives in us.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: Deliverance does not mean the absence of temptation. Deliverance just means that you now have power over that thing that once had power over you. Temptation will always come to us. It’s inevitable. But greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world.