It goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself.

Whenever a government is overthrown,  there is always a question of what will rise up in its place.   Sometimes, a stable government is established that ushers in a time of peace and justice.   Other times, however, the power vacuum fills with factions and infighting—perhaps even violence.

This scenario of a political coup illustrates Jesus’ words in Scripture (Luke 11:26).   As we journey with him, Jesus helps us identify old habits and attitudes that are opposed to him.   In response, we try to “overthrow” them.   We go to Confession and we resolve to put an end to them.   But this is only one part of the solution.   We can’t think that confessing our sins automatically turns everything around for us.

After we turn from old ways and receive God’s forgiveness, we need to fill in the empty places with new ways.   We need to develop new habits, new attitudes, and new thought patterns.   Otherwise, the old ways will be able to sneak back in, and we’ll feel twice as guilty for having fallen to them yet again.

So what does this look like in practice?   Take a moment right now to identify a habit or tendency that you would like to overcome.   Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.   Then, along with saying,  “I don’t want to do that anymore,”  think about what should go in its place.   If you tend to complain, for example, ask the Spirit to help you cultivate an attitude of gratefulness.   Then look for opportunities when you can specifically thank God for his goodness.

Or if you suspect that you waste too much time on the Internet in the evening, think about other ways you can unwind and find refreshment.   Perhaps going out for a walk or calling a friend will help restore you even more.   Be creative, and be willing to try different solutions.

Throughout this process, remember to keep asking for the Holy Spirit’s help.   Ask for his wisdom in discerning the old corrupt habits.   Pray for his grace to help you overthrow them.   And ask him to show you new ways of living that will bring you greater peace.

Word Among Us