Maintaining a Clean House

Jesus said, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26).

Man was created pure and upright – in the very image of God. Then sin made its ugly entrance into the world and into man’s heart. The result? Sin pollutes. Sin defiles. Sin then made grimy what God had designed to be clean and untainted. Thankfully God has provided a means for us to be cleansed from the soiling effects of sin.

Repentance and the new birth of water and Spirit bring total purification to our lives. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5) We can be grateful to God that “the blood of Jesus Christ…cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:7).


But Jesus taught that clean houses must be kept clean. They must be maintained or they will get sullied again. After writing to the church at Corinth concerning the cleansing power of the new birth, Paul went on to caution them of the need to keep themselves dirt free. He said, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (I Corinthians 6:11-12) Once the flesh is brought under submission to the Holy Spirit, we must be diligent in our resolve to keep it there. Once the door has been slammed in Satan’s face we must make certain that no opportunity is given him to regain entry. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27) Satan is always looking for some means to tempt us – some way to regain influence in our lives. (See I Thessalonians 3:5). Our human appetites give him plenty of opportunity. (See James 1:14-15). The Apostle Peter warned us to be on the lookout for situations that could possibly give an opening to the devil: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; Whom resist stedfast in the faith…” (I Peter 5:8-9) Paul likewise gave us counsel: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (II Corinthians 2:11) We must avoid the beginnings of sin! For once the enemy gets a foothold – he is absolutely relentless! The Bible refers to these holds he attempts to establish in our lives as strongholds. As the name implies, a stronghold is something that has a “strong hold” on us.

The good news is that “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (II Corinthians 10:4) One of the weapons that God has chosen to help us keep our houses clean is the fast. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6).

Why is this important? First of all, fasting is a vital part of maintaining our own personal salvation. As we have already stated, houses can get dirty again. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning…it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (II Peter 2:20, 22). Paul knew well the potential of the flesh to rise up if not purposely kept under. Thus he said, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (I Corinthians 9:27) One way he achieved this was by being “in fastings often.” (II Corinthians 11:27).

Another reason, beyond our personal salvation, why fasting is important is because of what we, the church, have been called to do. In Mark 6:7, it is recorded that Jesus “called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits.” Despite this endowment of power, just a few chapters later we find these same disciples embarrassed by their inability to do what they had been empowered to do. Red faced, they asked, “Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:28-29). We are familiar with prayer’s part in this formula for success. We know that God moves in response to prayer. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth…” (Luke 11:9-10). We know prayer’s part – but what does fasting do? The answer can be found in II Timothy 2:20-21.“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” When God chooses to answer our prayers, He needs cleans vessels to flow through so that none of His power will be wasted. His disciples had been given power but somehow much of it was lost as it made its way through them. Jesus said the solution was to mix their prayers with fasting. Fasting keeps the flesh under so that the power can flow unhindered.

Years ago there was an article in Reader’s Digest about superconductors. The article stated that it was found that certain metals, if freed from all heat and taken to absolute zero (-400+ degrees Fahrenheit), would then offer no resistance to the flow of electricity. What came out on the far end would be of equal strength to that which went in. No power would be lost in the transmission because the metals would offer no resistance whatsoever. They had become superconductors. To impact our world as God would have us to requires that we too become superconductors. Fasting will enhance and bolster the effectiveness of our prayers by purging these vessels so that we can be fit for the Master’s use. “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning…Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am…” (Isaiah 58:8-9). We have been endued with power from on high! (Acts 1:8). Let’s not squander it. Let’s keep these houses clean!

Rev. Robert Stroup is the District Superintendent of the Indiana District, United Pentecostal Church International. He is Pastor of Pentecostals of South Lake in Merrillville, Indiana.

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