“When a defiling evil spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return it finds the person spotlessly clean, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits more evil than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse off than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place. “That’s what this generation is like: You may think you have cleaned out the junk from your lives and gotten ready for God, but you weren’t hospitable to my kingdom message, and now all the devils are moving back in.” Matthew 12:43-45
What does relapse look like? Matthew 12: 43-45 gives us an excellent picture of what relapse looks like from a spiritual and a physical perspective. Relapse happens when we leave a home empty that was intended for Christ to inhabit. Evil finds this home too tempting to pass up, so it brings seven of its friends to reside with him in the vacant home.
Relapse is like this: When we come into recovery and clean out all the old junk from our past but do not invite Christ to take up residence, we set ourselves up for relapse. Here’s where scripture and what we know scientifically about relapse go hand in hand. When a person relapses, they don’t go back to the point where they stopped drinking, drugging, gambling, sexually acting out, or whatever other addiction they may have experienced that got them into recovery. No, when they pick up that old habit or act out, it’s as if they had never stopped in the first place. It looks like eight demons have taken up residence.
This process is called progression. Progression simply means that even though a person has remained abstinent, their addiction has not. In order to ensure that we don’t leave our home empty, we must invite Christ in and allow Him to take up residence. Darkness and light cannot exist in the same place, at the same time. When light enters a room, darkness flees. Relapse can only happen when we leave our homes empty and dark.
Written by Jackell
Jesus, inhabit my heart. The process of recovery calls for me to clean everything out of my heart that is not of You. Please come in and fill up every part of my heart. Protect me from relapse and the thoughts of anything that has to do with my old life. You are everything I need today. My life now belongs to You. Amen.