"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 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. 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.
In this statement, Jesus hits us with something that we all tend to do: Cleaning up the outside.
How many times have you heard someone say “Man, I’ve got to clean up my act?” And then they’ll commit to stopping some habit, or they’ll decide to start doing a good deed. But when you check in with them a few months later, things are worse than ever!
What happened? That person focused on changing the outer person, without first changing the inner person. They took a broom, went through the house, swept everything clean, stood back and thought “great, everything looks clean!” But let me tell you, as the father of two young boys, one sweep does not clean the house! Ten minutes later the ‘twin-tornados’ come back through, and it looks like a bomb went off!
Jesus is telling us that we cannot just “clean house,” we have to “clean heart!” And there is only one way to a clean heart. It’s not a program, or a new regimen, or a new outlook: It is the person of Jesus Christ, who came not to “reform” but to “regenerate!”