Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last.
Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
Rise to all eternity.
“Jesus, Lover of my Soul”, by Charles Wesley (1707-88)
Sometimes while we are out driving around, we see a house that has been left abandoned. Left to rot in the weather. Left to fall down at some point. We look at it’s details and see what a beautiful house it once was, or could be again. If we had the money and knew all the trades people that could make it beautiful again, wouldn’t we try and save it?
Now look at people the same way. We see someone who is down on their luck, sad, unhappy, and we think what happened to them, they could be a really beautiful person. They seem like an empty shell of someone they once were. But money or trades people can’t help in this situation.
The empty house, whether it be a building or a person, left empty is a welcoming sign for evil spirits to come a dwell. The nature of evil spirits is to occupy places where God isn’t present. They can’t resist to carry out their evil plots and bring harm to everything they touch. When an evil finds a place like a house, it says it’s empty and we can set up shop here. So it brings all it’s evil spirited friends, even more wicked, along, the more the merrier. We’ll bring in our drug addicts, homeless, and drunks to live here. Over time the house becomes so broken it could be beyond repair. As perhaps with a person, evil sees weakness and says lets make them an addict or a drunk. Lets make then lose their job and their family and home. We’ll possess them. We’ll destroy them. One of Satan’s favourite schemes.
Consider the parable of Jesus: Matthew 12:43-45, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
This parable tells of a man possessed by the devil with Jesus comparing his life to a messy and dirty house. But when the evil spirit was cast out, Jesus portrayed the man’s life as a clean and orderly house. However, after some time, the evil spirit returns to the man and finds him to be like a house, clean, well-swept, and orderly. The spirit enters the man and repossesses him along with seven other spirits. The man is now more greatly controlled by the demons than before, and the final state of the man becomes worse than he was before.
We think this generation is wicked, the next will be much worse. But regeneration is possible. A process of transformation by the Holy Spirit and the submission to Jesus. The presence of God should be an ongoing daily experience. If His presence is missing, it’s an open invitation for something else to take His place. “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”. Luke 11:28b. Jesus is saying to those who lay aside their personal agendas to follow God’s plan are blessed, happy, approved and lifted up.
Regeneration without repentance is short-lived. The Holy Spirit begins to dwell in us only when we repent and ask for forgiveness for our transgressions and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. This is the grace we don’t deserve, but is the core of a Christian, as we remember to walk in it every day. That joy is a feeling of good pleasure and happiness that is dependent on who Jesus is rather than on who we are or what is happening around us. Joy comes from the Holy Spirit, abiding in God’s presence and from hope in His word. “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 A soul that Satan cannot find to inhabit. “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.” Proverbs 10:28