Monday, October 24, 2016
The Danger in Waiting
Luke 11:24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
The new believer repents and turns to follow Christ. The old is gone and the new has come, but instead of following Christ a period of waiting begins. Maybe there is a period of questioning and assessing the depth to which the new believer will follow Christ. While waiting, the person places themselves in terrible danger. What they need is to follow the passions of their heart headlong in following Christ. There is power in following the affections of the heart and soon the home is filled with the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. But if that home isn’t filled and the waiting game persists, there will be a relapse which may be worse than the original condition in which the person found themselves. The spiritual life will always be one of growth and ascent in the direction of Christ. The waiting game becomes a dangerous game.
This is one of those passages that probably makes most of us a bit uncomfortable. It seems unfathomable that a loving a gracious God would allow for seven more evil spirits to enter into an individual. But this message isn’t so much about evil spirits, as it is about discipleship. When we neglect to help people draw closer to Christ, we will have failed them. George Whitefield, the evangelist lamented his ministry which did not focus on discipleship. Whitefield commented, “"My brother Wesley acted wisely. The souls that were awakened under his ministry he joined in societies, and thus preserved the fruit of his labor. This I neglected, and my people are a rope of sand." (John Wesley the Methodist, Chapter 13) It’s this realization that without discipleship there is a disintegration of the spiritual life which helps us see the danger in waiting. There can be no waiting when it comes to our spiritual lives and any excuse to wait is simply a lie of the enemy.
Intentional discipleship was the secret to Wesley’s Methodism. It, quite literally, transformed the world. Jesus was trying to get the same point across. The more that people were simply “exposed” to Christianity, the more “immune” they would become without good discipleship. The example can be seen in the lives of many, including Joseph Stalin who studied at a Seminary as a young man, and later became an atheist. The same can be said of Karl Marx. Something went awry in their lives and instead of growing and embracing their spiritual journey they allowed the void in their lives to be filled with ideas and “spirits” which led them to becoming antagonists of the faith. Would the course of history have been different had someone invested in the discipleship of these young men?
Authentic Christianity is in high demand as there are those who are hungry to see real faith in action. Real faith never waits but embarks upon a journey of spiritual growth and development that continues throughout eternity. Jesus warned of the dangers of waiting and so, we never leave the house empty, but continually work to fill her with the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, please fill my life with your presence and lead me, always onward and upward. Amen.