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“Give no opportunity for the devil”

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Paul penned these words in Ephesians 4:27. As I read them this morning, they smacked me pretty hard. This verse is seated within a series of highly practical commands regarding “putting off the old self.” The context instructs that we Christ-followers ought not to ever speak falsehood, but only truth; to never allow our anger to cause us to sin; not to steal, but to give; not to use “corrupting talk,” etc. Paul states that the “Gentiles” (which in the new Christian understanding is often code for “unbelievers”), are “alienated from the life of God” due to their ignorance and hardness of heart, both which cause them to do wicked things. Paul instructs us not to be like them, seeing we are recipients of God’s gift – Christ Jesus Himself! Through Christ we are made new, and it is our solemn duty now to “put off the old man” and to “put on the new man.”

With this background in mind, as Paul is describing exactly how to “put off” and “put on,” he seems almost interrupted by that thought: “give no opportunity to the devil.” In a way, this statement sort of sums it all up. As Christians, we are partakers of the Spirit who has taken up residence in us. It is His life which energizes us now, which empowers us to live a godly life. As Paul says elsewhere, “The law of the Spirit of life has made me free from the law of sin and death.” My basic interpretation – we have everything we need (and more) to live our lives as God intends. We have no excuse for our sins. We live under grace, and God does not deal with us according to our sins, but according to His mercy. However, this does not diminish our responsibility to live as He commands. And having been supplied with His great power, along with a new life, a new spirit, what is it that so often causes us to stumble?? Simply put: we give opportunity to the devil. We are tempted – and we give in. We are wronged – and we take offense. We allow wrong attitudes, impure thoughts and emotionalism to be our guides, instead of the strong, sure and steadfast word of God. We give opportunity for the devil.

The simple, and unfortunate reality is that Satan is always at work to rob us of our God – or more accurately – to rob God of His purchased possession (us). Satan’s temptations come like a flood, a torrent of evil thoughts and desires. Most of the time we stumble because we were caught off guard (even though we are told to always be on guard – 1Pet. 5:8). We get complacent and lazy, and that’s when Satan strikes.

In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to “give no opportunity for the devil” is to simply be so busy in Kingdom business, that you’ve got no time for the devil! You should be at your church whenever the doors are open, worshiping God alongside your brothers and sisters. Yet many of us decide to stay home instead so we can watch TV. You should be out sharing the gospel with the people in your neighborhood, or at the mall, or wherever you find yourself. Start a Bible Study, or a prayer group, or, for goodness sake, get in the Word for yourself!

Well, my thoughts were all over the place on this one, but the ultimate message is this – the devil is out to get you; to keep you from your divine purpose in Christ; to keep you in failure, shame and condemnation so that you will never be able to fulfill your calling. Give the devil no opportunity. Jesus said, “The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in me.” May we have the same testimony! I pray for myself and all of you, that Satan would simply be frustrated and enraged as he tries and tries to trip you up, but is thwarted at every attempt, because you give him no opportunity. God has supplied us with the tools, and the power to resist the devil steadfast, and to walk victoriously in Christ all the days of our life.

Blessings.

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