do nothing, retain nothing
"The result is that the last state of the man is worse than the first." —Luke 11:26
The man in today's parable was delivered from evil spirits, but then did nothing more. He was a spiritual sitting duck for Satan, and wound up in worse shape than he was before he was delivered (Lk 11:26). He was like a gardener who pulled up all the weeds from his garden, but then didn't plant any crops. Naturally, the weeds will grow right back.
Jesus is teaching us that it's good to clean house spiritually, but it's critical to press forward and grow in our faith. We can't be idle in the spiritual realm, or we'll be in worse shape than ever. A soldier on the front lines of the battlefield knows he cannot take a month off to take it easy. If he does, the enemy will soon realize he has no resistance. Soon the soldier will be overrun without mercy by the enemy (see Lk 11:22). This is why Jesus, referring to spiritual warfare, says: "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters" (Lk 11:23).
Repent! Let Jesus clean your soul. Then fight the good fight of faith by growing "in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pt 3:18; 2 Tm 4:7). Instead of being content with empty, let Jesus give you life to the full (Jn 10:10). Fill your mind with God's Word; fill your mouth with the Eucharist, the Bread of Life (Jn 6:35). Then fill the world with your godly teaching (Acts 5:28) and your praise of God.
Prayer: Jesus, even a child knows that a car gets nowhere if the gas tank is empty. May I never be content with emptiness but always seek to "attain to the fullness" You have for me (Eph 3:19).
Promise: "Christ has delivered us from the power of the law's curse by Himself becoming a curse for us." —Gal 3:13
Praise: When John was forgiven the sin of adultery, he changed his lifestyle to avoid sinning that way again.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2006
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