Understanding Spiritual Warfare, Part III

“Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45).

Imagine, if you will, you are sick, perhaps even depressed, or emotionally bound in some area. Plain and simple, you feel miserable. Now what is causing this feeling to exist inside of you? Or, if it is a physical problem, what is causing this problem to exist? Very often, problems exist for a reason.

Perhaps it is lack of sleep, or lack of exercise that is really at the root of your problems. Perhaps it is a striving spirit (a desire to achieve and perform for the sake of trying to find “approval” in the eyes of others, this can often lead to sickness). Perhaps all wrapped up in it, however, is a spiritual matter that you may have overlooked. Let’s look carefully (again) at the above passage of Scripture. (Matthew 12:43-45).

The above passage of Scripture was written for a purpose. I think one of the applicable reasons is that (if we look at the context) Jesus was pronouncing a judgment of sorts on the unbelieving generation of His day. That is why He said, at the end of that passage, “That is the way it will also be with this wicked generation.” The idea was, really, that Jesus was using the statement about how unclean spirits operate to explain what would happen to these same people. Because of their unbelief and hardness of heart, their “last state” would become “worse than the first.” So the analogy is really just that — in its context, it is an analogy.

However, in the process of applying this wonderful analogy, let us not be quick to throw away what Jesus said about unclean spirits and how they operate! There is vital information. Jesus mentioned what He was talking about as fact, not fiction. So then, what can we learn about unclean spirits and how they operate from this passage?

(1) Unclean spirits can indwell human beings.

(2) Unclean spirits seek for places of rest.

(3) Unclean spirits would rather spend their time in bodies than outside of bodies (read the passage and you will see that this must be true, based on Jesus’ statement).

(4) Unclean spirits have the ability to associate on a relationship-based level with other unclean spirits and are able as well to “provide for them a path” to lead them to viable places or people whom they can indwell.

(5) Unclean spirits are not only able to do this, but they do it, as Jesus stated. This is one of the ways that they work.

Think about these things. We’ll talk a lot more about unclean spirits — and how to effectively and strategically deal with them — in the days to come. For now, please consider these things in prayer, as to how you might gain an even deeper appreciation of the things of God as pertains to this vitally important area of the Christian faith.