Ephesians 4:27 – “nor give place to the devil.” NKJV
I grew up in the Flip Wilson era, where we thought it was funny to say, “The devil made me do it!” Flip Wilson, in his comedy show, did some stupid things, then he would say that the devil made him do it. There is a poster with him in a dress, and of course, the devil made him buy the dress. However, through the years I have realized that it’s no joking matter to give place to the devil and his bidding.
I’ve written several blogs to remind us that we have an adversary and he is out to get us. However, I would be remiss, if I didn’t write about the “flip” side of that picture. While it is true, that the devil is directly or indirectly responsible for the bad things that happen in our lives, we willingly or unwillingly participate in his schemes. It’s time to stop giving place to the devil!
A young lady approached me one day crying. I asked her what was going on? She said that it wasn’t fair that she was pregnant and she had only had sex one time, when she knew people who were far more active than she was and they hadn’t gotten pregnant. Can I just say that I was standing there looking at her with a “are you kidding me” expression on my face? How could it not be fair? If you are old enough to have sex, you should be old enough to understand that pregnancy can and might be the consequence of your actions. It’s not a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of consequence.
Consequence is defined as “a result or effect of an action or condition”. Stephen Covey had this to say about consequences: “While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” This is a truth conveyed throughout scripture.
When David slept with Bathsheba, not only did he father a baby with another man’s wife, but he killed the man to hide his sin. He chose the sin, but the consequences were costly. A warrior who served him with unwavering devotion died, the baby died, his son rape his daughter, her brother killed the one who raped her, and then he turned around and tried to take the kingdom from David. Did I forget to mention that he slept with David’s wives on the rooftop of the palace? David chose the sin, but the consequences were out of his control.
Achan was another person whose actions brought devastating consequences. The children of Israel had just finished rejoicing over the walls of Jericho falling. They were rounding up the treasures that were to go to God. Achan saw “a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels” and he took them. They were forbidden for him to take, yet he did it. The children of Israel went out to fight the battle of Ai. They lost. Joshua was so upset that he was crying about to God. God told him there was sin in the camp. Achan was exposed. Joshua had them take Achan, the treasures, his family, and all that he owned to the Valley of Achor. There Joshua had them all stoned and burned with fire. Achan chose the action, but he didn’t get to choose the consequence. And let’s not forget that lives were lost in a battle that should have been a cake walk.
Do you want a New Testament example? I have one for you. Ananias and Sapphira. They sold their property to be a blessing to the church. They decided that they would keep a portion of the money. It was theirs to do with as they wished. But when Ananias showed up to give his money, he lied and said that it was the total amount that he had received from the sell. It was a lie and he died on the spot. He was so not expecting that! Then his wife came in, not realizing what had happened to her husband and gave the same lie. Then she died. Wow! What an expensive price to pay for a lie. They chose the action, but God chose the consequence.
All of these are examples of people giving place to the devil. The devil could very much have whispered in their ears, suggesting these things. But he could not make them do any of it. They had to give place to the devil. He didn’t make Eve eat from the tree and he doesn’t make us do things. Unless he possesses us! That’s a different blog, altogether.
What about that couple I mentioned who had the yelling contest, allowing their anger to get the best of them? They gave place to the devil with their anger, and those spirits had permission to come in and wreak havoc and fear in their lives and their marriage.
When we sin, whatever the sin, we give place to the devil. We give him an invitation to come into our homes, our lives, our finances, and our children’s lives, by our choices and our actions. When we say “no” to sin, we shut the door to the devil and his demonic activity. We stop the negative consequences from happening in our lives and open the door to the blessings of the Lord. When we say “yes” to sin, we will reap the consequences God has laid out in His word, for our sins. God isn’t punishing us, per se, we are reaping what we sowed.
I can assure you that there are times, the devil just attacks us for no good reason, except that he can. But sometimes, we invite his attention with the things we do and say. We don’t have to be afraid of the devil, but neither should we give him access in our lives.
I trust that these past blogs have helped you to see that Satan really is your adversary. I hope you have also realized that you can help him hurt you, or you can stop him in his tracks! And no matter where you’ve been in the past on this issue, I trust that moving forward you have a made up mind to actively watch out for his activity, and to enforce his defeat in your life. Keep reading for weapons to defeat the devil. Wonderful Jesus!