by Tad Lindley
Did you ever know someone in a bad relationship? They finally got rid of the guy or the girl and you were glad to hear it, they were feeling safe again, had a restraining order in place, putting their life back together, when all of the sudden, BAM, there it is on Facebook and the social medias: they got back with their abusive ex. Maybe you’re the one who has been living like that. It gets so bad that you get out, but then over time you forget about how bad it was, and there you are, worse off than ever before. This isn’t just for the victim of abusive relationships though, this is for every ex-blackbuller, every ex-drug user, ex-alcoholic, ex-pornography viewer, ex-bingoer, and every ex-whatever: your ex wants you back.
The book of Proverbs says this, As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly (26:11). In the Message Bible it is translated, As a dog eats its own vomit, so fools recycle silliness. It doesn’t explain why it happens, but the Bible states this truth, that people keep returning to their bad decisions over and over again. No matter how vomitrocious it got for them, they will forget the bad and go back, because their ex wants them back.
Maybe you have an ex
Now the Proverb above wasn’t just talking about abusive relationships, it was talking about sin in general. When we break off a relationship with sin, it doesn’t go away easily. Jesus put it like this when he was talking with Cain way back in Genesis 4:6, …sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it. Paraphrasing it, the Lord was telling Cain, “Look, you can break up with sin, but your ex will want you back. Your ex will be waiting just outside the door, waiting for you to change your mind. You’ve got to take control of the situation.”
Your ex is patient
If you broke up with sin long ago, don’t pat yourself on the back too hard, because your ex wants you back. Your ex is patient. Your ex will wait an entire lifetime if necessary. Your ex will show up at the least likely moments, seeking to catch you in a moment of weakness. This is why if God delivered you from alcohol, or cigarettes, or marijuana, or heroin, it doesn’t matter how long you have been sober, you can never safely go back. How many of us have told ourselves, “I’ll just have one,” only to end up in drunken humiliation? Listen, your ex wants you back, and if you ever thought it was bad before, next time it will be worse than ever.
Jesus’ slam dunk preaching
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. (Matthew 12:43-45 NKJV)
House = you
For clarity’s sake I have bolded the word house. Understand that the “house” that Jesus is talking about is actually the person that had an unclean spirit. Using Jesus analogy, the man is a complete wreck, so they kick out the unclean spirit. They clean up the man. He quits whatever he was doing. But see, his ex wanted him back. So the unclean spirit came to check on him, and found that the man was cleaned swept and in order, but empty. So now the unclean spirit goes and gets seven of his boys who are even worse. This is why you can’t go back and socially use marijuana if you were a drug addict in the past. This is why you might tell yourself, “I’ll just lay one card at bingo!” and next thing you know, you just blew through your kids dividend at the card game.
Fill that house up
If we try to clean up our own lives, we may do well for awhile, but the fact remains, our ex wants us back, and if our “house” is not filled, we are an easy target for our ex. This is why scripture tells us, Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18 NLT) This is why Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from on high (Acts 1:4,8). It happened in Acts 2:4, And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Their houses were filled with the Spirit of God, and when the ex, sin, came looking at the house he saw that it was filled and there was no room for an ex.
If you are stuck in a cycle of continually caving in to sin, you stay sober for a while, but invariably you find yourself drunk again, then you know that you cannot get good enough to save yourself from sin. You need to repent, as you have done many times before, but you need to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:40, 19:5, 22:16, Galatians 3:27). If you will do that, you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a promise from God (see Acts 2:39), and instead of being clean, but empty, your house will be filled, and there will not be room for your ex, no matter how bad they want to come back.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.