Many New Year’s resolutions fail because it is not enough to simply stop harmful and habitual behavior. The vacancy formed must be filled with something good. Anyone who has gone on a crash diet and failed knows the truth of this.
The same principle is true in the spiritual realm, although the stakes are much higher. Jesus illustrated the principle like this:
“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.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 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.” (Luke 11:24-26)
Attempting to keep one’s soul “swept clean and put in order” may seem possible temporarily, but ultimately fails. What we need is a new “resident” living in the house of our soul. We need to hang a “No Vacancy” sign out for returning evil spirits. Which makes this promise of Jesus exceedingly good news:
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)