…don’t give the Devil an opportunity. ~Ephesians 4:27
Let’s not deceive ourselves. We give the devil a lot of opportunity to have his way. Mostly because we cave in to our ‘old man’ – unredeemed patterns of thinking. Often we do so willingly. Living the life of faith is described by Apostle Paul as a ‘fight‘ and a ‘war‘.
Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]. ~Ephesians 4:27, Amplified Version
I’m not going to hate on Olympic champion Michael Phelps. Nobody has a body like his, fashioned to accommodate his amazing swimming ability, without dedication and training. No doubt he has impressive knowledge about workouts, diet, and purposeful living. But for all of his accomplishments and ability, why is it that what we know about his personal life is that he was busted for smoking pot and now a second DUI? I don’t know if he is religious, but I can tell you that he has given the devil a foothold in his life.
He (and he is not alone in this) does give us a vivid reminder that no matter our determination to overcome, we are all likely to fall. Sometimes we resist successfully. Sometimes we catch it early and repent. Sometimes we go into a downward spiral.
The reason I’m not going to hate on Mr. Phelps is because I feel sure we all recognize the truth that we can so daily give the devil opportunities to drag us through the mud. Anyone who says, “that could never happen to me” is a fool.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. ~Ephesians 6:11
Reading through Ephesians chapter six gives us strength to fight back against the traps and deceptions of the devil. As we read through this list of weapons for spiritual warfare we recognize that this is a serious battle, not a Sunday School lesson.
Truth – We need to know the truth about the devil, yes, but also about the triumphant Jesus. We need to admit the truth about who we are and what our real weaknesses are so that we can wage war. Satan wins when deception clouds our vision of the truth.
Righteousness – We fight with confidence, knowing that the devil cannot steal the righteous place we have before the Father. It is sealed by the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus.
Readiness – In spite of all of his efforts the devil cannot keep us from readily bringing the gospel of peace to the world around us. We do not let our personal setbacks keep us from advancing the kingdom.
Faith – We continue to wage war by trusting God more than we trust ourselves and more than we believe the lies of the enemy. We do not lean on our own understanding but depend on God to direct our steps – even when we cannot see the path ahead.
Salvation - Christian, you are secure. This battle might leave us scarred, wounded, and I suppose in some circumstances may even take our lives. The devil has not won, even if that is what happens! Nothing can take you out of the hands of the Savior. (Although I do believe we can walk away and lose our salvation, there is nothing that can be done to us to rob us of our eternal assurance).
Scripture – Do not neglect the Scriptures … the sword of the Spirit… in your battle. Memorizing God’s Word, placing it down into your heart, will give you temptation resisting power. Praying the words of Scripture give you confidence and are able to overpower the enemy who is a liar and a thief.
Prayer - And yes, prayer … we cannot make it without prayer. Read all you can about prayer and study prayer. But most of all, pray. Pray when you are weak, when you feel you have let God down, when you feel the oppressive influence of the devil. Pray that God will tear down and root out the foothold of Satan in your heart. He will!
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. ~Ephesians 6:18
*What are the devil’s footholds in your life? Be honest with yourself and confess them to God.
*Are you willing to reject those and repel them through the power of God’s Spirit?
*When you feel the temptation drawing you away from God’s path are you willing to use the weapons at your disposal to resist?
*When you find yourself in the gutter, will you come running home to God assured of his forgiveness?
*When you remove the devil’s foothold will you replace it with God’s ministry to others through you?
Thanks for reading,