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Jump-Start Your Day

Saturday, January 5th, '19

All rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson

 

EMPTY, SWEPT AND GARNISHED

"...he finds it empty, swept and garnished" (Matthew 12:44)

 

Jesus said that when an unclean spirit goes house hunting he is looking for the heart that is empty, swept and garnished. These are the three major perils in people's lives. "Empty" is a terrible condition. An empty gas tank gets you nowhere. An empty heart creates a vacuum that can cause one's whole world to implode. Too much on the inside, whether anger, frustration, pressure, or whatever, can cause an explosion. But too little on the inside can cause an implosion. Many hearts are hollow. You can see it in the blank stare. Hope is gone. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, yet these live in muted silence because there is no "abundance" within. David cried, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me". He had a "within". Full of praise, he certainly was not empty. Soul-emptiness works just like gas in the car; you can only go so many miles on one filling. There must be periodic checkups and fill-ups. That is why we need worship and the Word.

 

"Swept" is the next peril. It implies that there has been a surface dusting off of the soul but no in-depth scrubbing and scouring of caked on grime. A swept house is not necessarily a clean house. Sweeping removes what is visible to the eye but remember germs are microscopic. Plus, many take the easy route of sweeping issues under the rug. That can breed spiritual contagion. Man is made of dust (Psalm 103:14). Adam was destined to return to dust (Genesis 2:19). So dusting is an important part of soul-care but it is not enough. Paul defined the new birth as "the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5). A spic 'n span job requires using some Spic 'N Span. "Now you are clean through the word..." (John 15:3)

 

"Garnished" then speaks of the soul that has been redecorated, tidied and all dolled up. Curtains are hung, mantelpieces are placed, the pictures on the wall are set to perfect plumb. A garnished house might even have air freshener sprayed throughout the rooms but even that is just a cover-up. Many today lean on religious props. It may be a Mother Mary statue, a family Bible on the end table or a lunchtime chant of "God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for our food". A Sunday bonnet is nice garnish, but just like in eating hotdogs, it is still the dog you're after, not the accoutrements. 

 

Is your tank empty? Are you content with a broom job when what is probably needed is a roach bomb? Is your life garnished with religious trinkets or adorned with the doctrine of grace (Titus 2:10)? It is not enough just to remove the bad tenant; we need to move in a whole new householder, Jesus. As Tommy Barnett preached, "The absence of the unholy spirit does not guarantee the presence of the Holy Spirit". As long as your heart-house sits empty it is a standing invitation to burglars and spiritual crack users. Take the "For Sale" sign down. Turn the keys over to Jesus, "whose house are we" (Hebrews 3:6). He built the house then purchased the house after He built it. Why are we so hesitant to sign over all rights? The New Testament believers were all "filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 13:52). They afforded no opening for depression or idleness. Leaving doors unlocked and windows propped open, as mentioned, invites the prowler. See that you "walk circumspectly" (Ephesians 5:15), that means, making the rounds, checking the locks. A wise man watches for who is snooping outside, but the wiser man makes sure that the stronger lives on the inside. And we know Who is stronger. "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).


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