“Know your enemy” is a strategy of the military, businesses, and sport teams, yet few Christians know the strategies of their archenemy, Satan.
Satan is a created being, an extremely powerful angelic being who has chosen to exalt himself above all that is God. He is not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent, thus he cannot read a person’s mind—-only God can.
His primary power is a suggestion, but he is limited. He tests us for symptoms of accessibility to our minds and reads us for our openness to his ideas.
Paul warned, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Eph 6:11NLT).
One of those strategies is to suggest false ideas or justifications for destructive reactions in relationships: “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons” (1 Tim 4:1NLT).
All Satan needs is a receptive host. This does not mean that a person must be intentionally open to satanic power or influence. It merely means Satan can plant suggestions in the mind of the undiscerning or susceptible person. One of the symptoms he looks for is anger.
The negative, “not,” is a continuative conjunction that ties this command to the preceding commands about anger. An additional reason to keep your anger short-lived is to avoid “giv[ing] the devil an opportunity.” J. B. Philips’s translation paraphrased this verse: “Never go to bed angry . . . and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Anger is fertile ground in which to plant perfectly timed thoughts that will justify the propagation of damaging and destructive actions against others.
Nothing attracts demons like an angry person: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8). Let’s avoid giving Satan an opening into our minds.
“May the fear of being influenced by demonic suggestions keep me from emotional reactions. Give me insights into Your word to strengthen my self–control.”
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