According to Barna research, around 74% of Christians in America agree that Satan “is not a living being but a symbol of evil.” What do you think? Do you believe that Satan is a real, living being? Consider this: if Satan does exist, do you think he wants you to think he exists? What advantage would an enemy have if you didn’t think they were there? How hard would it be for him to steal, lie, and deceive you? What if he could get you to withhold forgiveness from others, ignoring how much God has forgiven you? Wouldn’t you say you’d be in some pretty serious trouble?
- How might you live differently if you knew without a shadow of a doubt that there is a being with strength, genius, and abilities that far exceed yours, and that he is set on your destruction?
READ THE WORD: EPHESIANS 4:25-32 (ESV)
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- According to this passage, what does it look like to give an opportunity to the devil?
- There are several commands in this passage. How do they contribute to or hinder our ability to live, as verse 25 states, as “members of one another”?
- What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit?
- What steps must be taken in your life to live more in line with the commands in this passage?
RESPOND TO GOD
You’ve probably seen lions attack a herd of gazelles on the Nature Channel. The scene is pretty violent. One thing that always bothers me is how the lion goes after the weak gazelle, the one separated from the herd. Peter describes the devil as our enemy “prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8).
Today’s passage commands us to not give the devil an opportunity. How do we give him an opportunity? By being separated from the pack, being controlled by anger, lying to our neighbor, stealing, gossiping, holding bitterness in our heart, and not forgiving. How do we refuse the devil an opening? Forgive others the way God has forgiven us, give our lives to others the way Jesus gave his life to us—humbly, compassionately, and sacrificially.
- Ask God the areas of your life where you need to let others and Christ in, to close the gap of separation between you and close community, and to eliminate opportunities the devil may have against you.