Defeating the Devil

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil. Eph. 4:26-27

This scripture is talking about anger and wrath. In the Swahili Bible, the word “wrath” is translated as “bitterness”.

Notice the scripture here warns us against “letting the sun go down upon your wrath”. That is not something we should take lightly. This is because the devil is mentioned right there. In fact, it says to not give place to the devil. That means the devil is pressing in against us. And the devil is not someone to tangle with. If we are weak, he will break into our lives – and destroy us!

If we “let the sun go down upon our wrath” we will lose the battle with the devil.

Anger and bitterness do not come out of the blue. They occur in our hearts when we have been offended, when we have been wronged in one way or another. But Jesus said, It is impossible but that offences will come…” (Lk. 17:1)

Notice Jesus’ use of language: It is impossible…” In other words, if offences do not come to challenge us, then we are outside of Jesus’ realm of operation! Of necessity, things will come to test our faith.

Now, if you tell me that you do not ever get angry, it will definitely be interesting to know who you are because even the Apostle Paul got angry (Acts 23:1-5)! We all come against situations that will make us angry, and sometimes bitter. The biggest challenge that we have as Christians is keeping our hearts pure when these offences come.

Let us take the example of the Christian who does not watch pornography, does not listen to worldly music, does not curse – indeed, someone who has kept themselves pure from the world. That is truly good and commendable in God’s sight.

But remember the devil is always looking for somewhere to latch a foothold in our lives. He will keep circling around us, looking for that “place”, or space.

My wife works as a nurse in a certain organisation in Dar es Salaam. I, on the other hand, live and work for our church in the town of Singida, 700 kilometers from my family. (Hopefully, by next year my family will have moved to join me in Singida, we are working on that.) That being the case, my wife and I get to see each other once in a blue moon.

Anyways, recently an opening occurred in the organisation where my wife works whereby some nurses were required to come to the very town that I am  in, to work for several weeks. My wife did not know about the mission – until the selection was done and the nurses were just about to leave!

Someone came to her desk and told her, “You were shortlisted for this project, but the manager vetoed against you going because she said she needed you here.” But this manager also knew (indeed, everyone within the organisation knew) that I was in Singida, and she knew  that this would have been as good an opportunity as any for my wife to be close to her husband!

And the lady who brought my wife the bad news added, “All of us who were involved in the selection process were very bitter when the manager crossed out your name. We all wanted you to go.”

My wife told me, “I knew it was a test of my heart, but God gave me grace. I stood steadfast. I told this lady it was okay and I went and bade my fellow workers goodbye with a good heart as they left. And I have not felt a tinge of bitterness in my heart.”

In other words, the devil wanted her to feel hurt, and to react.

I told my wife, “Flo, by keeping a pure heart in that situation, you have won a bigger victory in the Spirit than if you had come here. I am so happy you did not come.”

I felt a deep victory in my heart at the ‘loss’. I, too, did not feel any anger or bitterness at the manager. I am sure the Lord had prepared us long before against this attack of the enemy.

Much of the time, losing in the natural is the only way to gain in the Spirit. Sometimes, though, we are not so grace-full, and we are not ready to lose in the natural. Sometimes we lash out in anger or we harbor bitterness in our hearts, and when this happens we get robbed of the victory in the Spirit.

In such cases, we can chose to repent immediately, and regain our victory; or we can chose to “let the sun go down on our wrath” – and lose the battle. And when we lose the battle, the fruits are there. We begin ‘spreading the word’, an evil word. We want to tell people about our situation. We want to explain things. In extreme cases, we can even curse people, backbite – or even fight physically!

And when we arrive at such a place we suffer miserably at the hands of the enemy. Things like depression set in easily into our lives.

I am glad that God’s Word gives us the chance to not go through such a horrible experience.  We can easily walk in victory against the devil, 24/7, simply by guarding the purity of our hearts. This can only come about as we deliberately crucify the flesh and its lusts in our lives.

[Below: “My sister, guard your heart. And then the joy of the Lord shall fill you up!”]

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6 thoughts on “Defeating the Devil

  1. My, I relive a part of our life reading this. When our son-in-law deployed to Afghanistan we promised to help our daughter 2,000 km away. I thought I had a job with the military, but 2 weeks before we were to leave the job fell through. Margaret went and I stayed home to look for work, a futile exercise. We lived apart for well over a year, but we fulfilled our promise and our daughter was grateful and kind to arrange travel to get together once in awhile. Funny thing when you do what God asks no matter how it turns out; we survived, our marriage survived – God is good. May you be encouraged!
    Peace

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