During my sermon I intend to talk about cleaning house. Because that’s what I think Jesus is doing primarily in Mark 1:21-28. The bulk of this short scripture is a short story of a man who has an unclean spirit whom Jesus expels. In short, Jesus cleans the man’s spirit.
But how did it get dirty in the first place? That’s what I want to write about today. There are so many spiritual practices a man or woman can practice they cannot be counted. One can pray . . . out loud, silent, or written? One can read scripture . . . with or without a partner, using a particular structure, on a daily or weekly schedule? One can attend spiritual gatherings . . . a class, a worship, or a prayer group? Then there is mindfulness, meditation, singing, etc. The list goes on and on. But in how many do you often participate and how often? Because each one of those disciplines is like cleaning house.
If there is one thing I am certain of it is that darkness does not enter a person’s spirit all at once. Darkness enters a person’s spirit just like dust collects on a bookshelf. Slowly and over time. I’ve never met a child who was born bad. But I have met those who have made poor decisions and slowly–over time–begun to cover their spirits with grime. I believe most people who have dirty spirits are simply those children who have had years and years of neglected cleaning. They have layers of dust that need to be removed, and it can take a gigantic effort to clean it all at once.
That’s how a spirit becomes unclean. But unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. In some cases, simple uncleanliness can go too far. It can become hording even. It can be so messy that a person can give up altogether even trying to clean. And people like this believe they are beyond the grace of God. Certainly–just like an actual hoarder–a person with a hoarding spirit needs help; they cannot do the cleaning alone. And that is the situation in the scripture mentioned above.
I know I’ve probably triggered some of you to go home and clean your home after church, but forget your house and the state of its mess for a moment and simply look at your heart. At what stage are you. Do you need a bit of dusting? Do you need to crack out the 409. Do you require help with your mess? Do you desperately need Jesus to step in and relieve your pain and captivity? Regardless, take it to the Lord in prayer and ask for help cleaning your spirit. You can’t clean house without first obtaining a rag.