Ephesians 4 is an immensely practical passage of Scripture for the Christian. Specifically, consider God’s warning in verse 27 to “Neither give place to the devil.” As Christians, we need to understand the devil’s agenda, be aware of his strategy, and be reminded of his defeat.
1) The Devil’s Agenda
Verse 27 indicates that his agenda is to gain “place” in our lives. “Place” is the idea of opportunity, or it means to “gain a foothold” in our life.
Luke 22:31 explains that his agenda is that he “desires to have you.” Metaphorically, his agenda is to “sift you as wheat.”
Luke 22:32 indicates that he wants a believer’s faith to fail. Interestingly, those words were spoken to Peter. While the devil wanted Peter’s faith to fail, Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. No doubt Peter was a follower who failed at times, but ultimately Peter’s faith didn't fail. God used him amazingly as recorded throughout the book of Acts. Further, Peter is the one who explains that the devil is “as a roaring lion who walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” Peter is saying that the devil’s agenda is to “devour you,” (1 Peter 5:8) and Peter knows this firsthand.
The devil’s agenda boils down to one main goal which is to make you self-centered as opposed to Christ-Centered.
He doesn’t have to get you to be Satan-centered for you to be a part of his agenda. Self-centered is enough for him. You don’t have to be a full-blown Satan-worshiper to make him happy; just a self-worshiper will please him very much!
The world and the flesh promote the same agenda as the devil. They’re all promoting SIN through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The devil’s agenda is to get you to follow the fleshly desires of your selfish heart, instead of following after Christ. But, how is he going to accomplish that?
2) The Devil’s Strategy
What is his strategy to gain “place” in your life? You might be surprised to know that his plan is to get YOU to “give” it to him.
Remember, Ephesians 4:27 says, “Neither GIVE place to the devil.” The only way he gets place is if you give it to him! Often we “give” him place by giving way to fits of unrighteous anger (vs 26). Anger is the specific issue Paul addresses in which people give place to the devil. But there are many more areas mentioned in the book of Ephesians.
We can give place to the devil through ungodly disunity (4:1-7). Sometimes Christians will give place to the devil in their marriages (5:21-33) or in their relationships with their children (6:1-4). Maybe we give place to the devil through our work relationships (6:5-9).
Specifically, the devil anticipants that you will give him access to your control room.
He wants your heart to be like the heart of the heathen. He wants you to “walk in the vanity of your mind.” (4:17). He does not want you to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (4:23). He does not want you to give yourself to the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new. He does not want you to walk after God, the One who “created you in righteousness and true holiness.” (4:24) No! Instead, his strategy is to manipulate your heart. Remember when Jesus said “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh?”
The devil’s strategy is to get you to give him access to the control room of your heart so that he can promote lying and corrupt communication (vs 25; 29). Further, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice are all issues of the heart. They’re all a part of the devil’s agenda (vs 31).
So what’s going on in your heart? Have you given him place?
When we give him a place in the control room of our hearts, he is sifting us as wheat. He is devouring us. He is gaining a foothold!
Remember, the devil can’t rob you of your salvation, but if you give him a foothold, he is thrilled to rob you of the joy of your salvation. He’s successful when Christians are not living like they’ve received salvation. Watch out for his strategy, but remember…
3) The Devil’s Defeat
Here’s the thing. You don’t have to give place to the devil! You don’t have to, and you shouldn’t!
Paul is telling us “Neither give place to the devil.” The verse implies that the choice is yours, and therefore, you don’t have to give way to him. Don’t forget that the devil is a defeated foe. The cross of Christ has defeated Satan. However, in this life we are still in a spiritual battle. That’s why Ephesians 6 is so important.
Ephesians 6:11 instructs us to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Notice this emphasis on standing. (Vs 11, 13b, 14a)
Why should you put on the whole armor of God? So that “ye may be able to withstand in the evil day!”
The armor of God is about truth, and righteousness. It’s about the gospel of peace, and faith. It’s about salvation, the Holy Spirit, and the word of God!
Give place to those things instead of giving place to the devil! Pursue those holy affections. Allow truth and righteousness into the control room of your heart, because when you do, “ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked” (vs 16).
This is a practical description of the devil’s defeat in your life!
By the way, the church promotes all of those things. Truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, etc. People don’t need less church, we need more. People don’t need less Bible reading, we need more.
Be aware of the devil’s dastardly agenda. Be wise to his strategy and schemes. And, remember his defeat. Ladies and gentlemen, “Neither give place to the devil.”