In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27
In Ephesians 4 a stronghold is described as a foothold. In the New Century Version, vs. 27 reads, Do not give the devil a way to defeat you. Other versions say things like not giving the devil an opportunity or ‘don’t leave room for the devil.’ In other words, we are leaving a door open for Satan to mess with us if we stay angry. Not much more is said there, but boy there should be!
Let’s take King Saul for an example. He had an anger problem. It would come out at David and it tormented Saul. In 1 Samuel 19 it tells that Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him. In 19:9 it says, An evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand.
First of all, it wasn’t directly from the Lord, but it was because a doorway was opened to Satan because Saul had disobeyed the Lord. Saul had anger that he had not resolved, as well as disobedience. In 1 Samuel 15:23 Samuel told Saul, Rebellion is as the sin of divination (or witchcraft) and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Presumption is defiance and seething pride. So this evil spirit came as a result of disobeying God. It opened a door to Satan.
The rebellion probably came first, then the anger. Then, because of the open door Saul was tormented by an evil spirit. In the end, Saul lost his kingship and died in battle, taking his own life. His sons were all killed on the same day. Not a happy ending.
Back to Ephesians 4, Paul goes on to tell us to Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice, in vs. 31. Not opening a door to Satan is a pretty good reason to get rid of it!
∇ So let me tell you my story on this: The last few months have been a really bumpy ride. I don’t want to exaggerate, but I would say there has been some demonic torment in there–especially with physical issues. And with the car accident I had a couple of months ago. It all was like a barrage of bad stuff.
This last Sunday God spoke Ephesians 4:26 to me, and I knew exactly what He was getting at. This last summer I, uncharacteristically, let my anger fly on a couple of phone service people. They were from two different companies, and I felt perfectly justified because of their poor service and undelivered goods.
No–I was not perfectly justified, and God spoke to me that this opened a door. I let the sun go down on my anger and I gave the devil a foothold. He showed me that a couple of times after that I had let my anger fly again and it had to stop. Yes, it had been uncharacteristic, but now it was becoming a pattern. A door had been opened and not it must be shut. This was the reason for the torment, the harassment.
I immediately left my spot in church, went to an empty bathroom and prayed out loud to renounce my anger sprees. I confessed it, asked for God’s forgiveness and then asked that He would shut those doors and seal them by the blood of Jesus. It was a costly lesson, but one I learned the hard way. I must get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger and not let the sun go down on anything that needs confessed. I will not give the devil an opportunity to steal, kill and destroy any longer.
What about you? Have you given the devil any opportunities, any footholds? Do you need to shut any doors by confessing fits of anger and having them covered by the blood of Jesus?
The good news: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Adrian Rogers, “Give Satan an inch and he’ll be your ruler.”
*Image from “Daily Tonic”