This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links may earn me a commission at no additional cost to you. For more information on affiliate links see my Disclosures.
I think it’s safe to say that we are all aware that as the saved in Christ, we are fighting a spiritual battle. Our enemy, the devil, is a wise, cunning, and downright sneaky adversary. The Bible warns us to be every watchful because our enemy is the devil, and he is on the prowl like a roaring lion, always looking and seeking who he can devour and destroy (1Peter 5:8).
But it’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives. So easy to forget that our enemy is not one who is seen, but can often be felt. So simply to think we are ok and let our guard down. Or to take our eyes off Christ and our minds off His word.
That is until we accidentally give the devil an opportunity.
Lessons From Ephesians
In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul is addressing the church at Ephesus. He is addressing believers. The church at Ephesus, it appears, had a problem with understanding the true value in their salvation. They did not fully understand the riches of the adoption they were given when they asked for their savior. Nor did they grasp that they were given abundantly both wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:8).
So it’s no surprise Paul decided to remind them, and in doing so remind us as well.
Now in my bible, there are subtitles throughout the scriptures and other information including relevant verses and a concordance. This can be helpful in learning and is one of the reasons I chose this particular bible. The book of Ephesians is no different and is filled with wonderful titles including Chosen by the Father, Redeemed by the Son, Sealed by the Spirit. Others include: Put off the Old Man, Put on the New Man, and Be Filled with the Spirit. It’s a high calling for such a small book.
But it was just the book I needed. See, earlier in the day I had received some really great news. News that our family had been waiting to hear. So when I received the phone call I had been anticipating I was overjoyed! I was so ecstatic in fact that I did a little dance after I hung up the phone and my daughter informed me that I was embarrassing her. However, I was so stinking excited, elated in fact, that I didn’t really care.
How Quickly Things Change
It didn’t take long, however, for things to come to a crashing halt. Less than an hour later a simple message came across that stopped my excitement in its tracks. Instead of rejoicing I was literally frozen in time. Still clutching to all those good feelings but feeling them slowly drain out.
Worse, I could feel the change as they threatened not only to leave but be replaced. Anger, bitterness, resentment instead were threatening to replace all those good feelings.
Now I know these are not feelings I should be harboring. And I know these are not feelings I should be allowing to take residence in my heart. I reached out in prayer to ask for guidance and strength because even though I know that I shouldn’t be allowing these feelings to take root, there was a part of me that truly wanted to hold on. A part of me that wanted to react in spite even knowing full well it was not right.
But The Heart Is Deceitfully Wicked
Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that we cannot trust our own heart and at this moment in time mine was betraying me.
Worse, a small part of me wanted to let it.
Instead, I reached out. I reached out to God Himself and asked Him to do what only He could do – give me strength. Strength to not be bitter. Strength to not let the anger in. Strength to deal with the situation as He would have us rather than as we would prefer. The verse that came to mind while I was asking was out of Ephesians.
Ephesians 4:26 reads: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath;”
Now don’t get me wrong, this is good stuff. Here we are told not to let our anger cause us to sin and to not allow it to muddle up another day. To clear the air as they say, and do it soon. Today, as a matter of fact.
And I’ve read this before. This particular verse happened to be circled indicating at some other point in time I read it and wanted to remember it. Wanted to be sure I could find it again.
But I didn’t just stop there. No, I kept on reading and found the next verse, also circled but apparently forgotten. Verse 27 reads: “neither give place to the devil.” Well, this one stopped me in my tracks. This verse beckoned me to dig deeper because I really wanted to know what “give place to the devil” meant.
It was upon digging into this verse that I found that it’s talking about not allow the devil the opportunity, not giving him a chance, not allowing the anger that is spoken about in verse 26 to allow the devil to take root in your life.
Don’t Give The Devil A Chance
Most of us are already aware that anger can often be a bad thing. Jesus compares anger to murder in Matthew 5:21-22 as a warning to be careful with where we place our anger. Yes, I probably could have tried to justify my anger. Wrap my mind around why I felt I had the right to be angry, but that is a slippery slope and one that I don’t want to go down. It’s so easy to talk ourselves into justifying our feelings rather than turning them over to God and letting Him handle the situation.
My question to you today is do you understand that your anger can also give an opening to Satan? That by being angry and holding onto your feelings of betrayal or resentment, you may be allowing Satan just a little more space in your life? Because until I read it and dug deep, I didn’t.
All I did know was that I didn’t want to follow down the path my heart was taking me. I reached out for help, and not a moment too soon. My eyes were opened to the gravity of the situation and I was quickly reminded why prayer is so vital. Why keeping that line of communication open is such an important part of my life. I knew exactly where to turn when things got tough, and thankfully, I was quickly given an answer.
So today, I want you to think on this. To think about if you are harboring any sort of anger or bitterness that might be allowing the devil just a smidgen of Real Estate in your heart or mind. As for me, knowing this, knowing just a little more about the dangers associated with anger, I am going to keep working on purging. Keep working on forgiving. Keep working on rolling with the punches and trusting in God. Because I would much rather go through life trusting in God than holding onto my anger and giving the devil a chance.