FOREVER TRIUMPHANT, Day 15—Lenten Devotional
43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he 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 brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-46 (RSV)
My grandfather has previously argued that the life of the Christian is one of victory, not a victory that we gain for ourselves, to be sure, but the sharing of the victory that Christ won over evil in his life, crucifixion, and resurrection. My grandfather goes on to argue that the New Testament only admits of the existence of one kind of Christian—a victorious one. Christians who live defeated lives of guilt or self-condemnation are in the position of the one who having had his “unclean spirit” (bad habit, bad attitude, bad company, or bad lifestyle) expelled, ends up worse than before because he has not replaced the empty place left by the “unclean spirit” with God’s Holy Spirit.
FJ HUEGEL: There would not be such an emphasis on the need of victory on the part of the Christian if there were not great forces arrayed against the believer. The Savior’s call to the overcoming life in which the riches of Heaven are placed at the disposition of “him that overcomes,” has at its heart a deep implication; namely, that the Christian’s enemies are legion, that they are forever at his heels and constantly lurking ready to strike, persistent beyond words to describe. It is nothing short of war—“Drawn swords to the very gates of Heaven,” as someone has put it.
PRAYER: Dear God,
I admit to you that sometimes I like feeling defeated, guilty, and self-condemned, because the victorious Christian life seems like too much responsibility. Show me the urgency of sharing in the Victory of Jesus Christ, because there are many enemies that are eager to eat up the stragglers. Prod me on to victory I pray. In Jesus’s name. Amen.