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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cleaning Out the Bad

I just read an interesting devotional based on Luke 11:24-26.  These verses refer to the time when Jesus cast a demon out of a man.  Jesus went on to say that the demon was cast out, but still existed and was searching for a place to rest.  When the demon could find no suitable place to rest, it went back to the person it had left and found that the person had removed all of the bad, so now there was plenty of room for seven more evil spirits, more evil than even it was, to live inside the man.  Now, the man has more trouble than before.

Ever feel that way?  You got rid of one bad thing only to have seven more show up at your door? 

I know I have!  Sometimes it feels as though we can never win.  We can never get ahead.  Like we are getting rid of the bad, only to have more and more bad take its place.  My husband says regularly that we have too much stress in our lives and we just keep adding more.  And he's right.  So, what do you do?  How do you stop this vicious cycle?

The teaching here is to replace the bad with the good.  Phil Ware says, "We must replace the old bad things with God's presence, power, and purpose in our lives. Let's pursue Jesus and the character and concerns of His kingdom, letting the Holy Spirit fill and empower us and make us truly instruments of grace in God's Kingdom."

"...instruments of grace..."  What does that really mean?  I've often heard the acronym, God's Riches At Christ' Expense.  Merriam-Webster defines grace as unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification and goes on to say:  approval, favor, privilege, reprieve.  The thesaurus also says that grace is a quality that gives something special worth.  Christ's death on the cross certainly gives us special worth.  I believe God expects us to treat others as though they have special worth as well.  After all, He died for them, just as much as He died for us.  Treating others as if they have God's grace, helps further His Kingdom.  But, we must also remember to treat ourselves as if we have special worth.  Filling our hearts, minds and bodies with things that support and encourage that grace. 

You see, if we simply clear out the dust, dirt and cobwebs from our homes we leave room for the dirt, dust and cobwebs to return - along with much more.  We have to add the air purifiers, fresh flowers and scents to make our homes pleasant.  We must continue with daily cleaning and maintenance to keep the dirt and cobwebs from coming back.  We must "pledge" the surfaces to keep the dust from sticking.  The same applies to our hearts and minds.  We must fill our hearts and minds with the things of God to keep the evil from returning - and bringing its friends!

ChristinaLynn }i{

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