Luke 11:24-32 (ESV)

24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” 27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” 29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

In verses 24 through 26, Jesus explained the need to respond rightly to the work God had accomplished through him. Jesus had been teaching, healing, and delivering from demons as he traveled with his disciples. So he commented on exorcism in general. Jesus described an unclean spirit that was forced to leave a person. Perhaps he referred to the man he had just delivered from the presence of darkness. Whether it was that man or another, the person became an object lesson to all who were listening. One may be delivered from the power of darkness, but after the evil has departed, she must respond rightly to Jesus. When the demon comes back looking for a place to “live,” there will be nothing to prevent that same demon from returning, since the person didn’t respond to Jesus in repentance and faith and receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. If the demon were to return, the potential damage could be worse than the original problem. If the one delivered continues to live in an “empty house” devoid of God’s Spirit, more spirits may take residence in her, and it would end up harder to deliver her from darkness than if she had ever started the whole process.

Jesus used this thought-provoking illustration to show what it could be like for one who experiences an act of God but does nothing about it. We just can’t remain neutral about Jesus. We must do something as a result of what he has demonstrated about himself to us. If you have called out to God and said, “God, please save me, or help me, or get me out of this” and he has, you have got to make up your mind about him. If you have been rescued from Satan’s grip, you must make a decision. If you try to stay “on the fence” about following Jesus, you will end up worse off than before you began. Your conscience may become hardened, and you might lose sensitivity to the Spirit, until one day you aren’t even able to repent. Don’t play games with God. If he has revealed himself to you, turn to Jesus in honest and humble faith. If you have experienced the grace of the Lord, you should be following him as a result.