Have you ever heard it? That soft knock at the door to your heart? You know the one I’m talking about. That little temptation that says, “Go ahead. It’s all right. Nobody will ever know.” When you hear it, it sounds so seductive, so easy. Opening that door, just a crack seems far easier than standing our ground and asking Christ to help us bar the door shut. Too often easy wins out, and we open that door-just a crack, just to see what that demon has to say. The problem is that when we open the door just a crack for one demon; we open wide for them all.
After reading several books including Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness”, I began to think about how and why the demons get their talons into our lives. It took me a long time to realize why and how, and the key I found is summed up in one word: Power.
Lucifer, as you know, was the most beautiful angel in all of Heaven until he decided that God’s job looked better than his. He became prideful and jealous of the power that God had. So, his solution was to try to knock God off His throne so that he, Lucifer, could take over-thus attaining his ultimate goal of having all the power.
If you know this part of the story, you know the next part too. God’s legend of angels battled Lucifer and his cohorts, and eventually flung the whole lot of prideful, jealous angels down into the fiery pits of Hell. That was the commencement of Satan’s plan to find a way to get to God through us.
I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with someone bent on attaining power at any price. I can tell you from my experience, these people are scary! They will stop at nothing. They will run over and trample anything and anyone in their path. They will even hurt and kill those they profess to love to get to their ultimate goal: power. And so it is with Satan.
Now, Satan is pure “not love”. There is not an ounce of love in his being even for himself. He is like those characters you see in the movies-the villains who claim loyalty to their followers as long as it’s expedient to their own desires and plans. One movie I saw there was a scene in which the villain shot someone in cold blood as two of his henchmen looked on. One of the henchmen was obviously disturbed by this action and moved to protest. The villain looked at the man and said, “If you want to go, there’s the door”. The man looked at the villain, looked at the dead man lying on the floor, and sat back in his chair. He made his choice and thus sealed his own fate.
If you are an analyzer of human behavior like I am, you know the end of this story just by reading the beginning of it. Eventually this same henchman came face-to-face with the villain’s gun, and there was no decision on the villain’s part as he pulled that trigger to kill this one who had pledged loyalty to him in the act of complicity. That is how Satan is.
When you analyze it from the outside, it’s so obvious. Unfortunately this lesson is deathly difficult to remember when that first quiet little knock first raps on your door.
So, knowing these two points: that Satan is bent on power, and power-hungry beings will destroy even those who pledge loyalty to them, leads us to this. Satan is smart. He is a watcher of human behavior. He cannot see what is in your heart, but he can watch you and surmise where your soft spots are. Do you need money to make the next rent payment? There’s that knock saying, “I have an easy way to get some. Look at this person over here. They followed me, and look at all the money they have”. Have you had a stressful day and you just want to be left alone? “Mommy, could I have a cookie?” It doesn’t sound like it, but there’s that knock.
The truth is that just because that demon is knocking, we are the only ones who can make the choice to open that door or to leave it closed. The demon cannot break down the door. It can feel like he has that power, but in reality, the only power he has is the power we give to him by choosing to open the door. However, the second we choose to open that door, we have extended an open invitation for that demon to come into our house. You have given him the power God gave to you. Maybe the first one is the demon called Greed, or maybe the one called Dishonesty. Maybe it’s the demon called Lust, or the one called Impatience. Whichever demon it is (chosen especially to knock on your door by Satan himself after analyzing your weakest spots), once you let it into your life, you have given that demon power over that area of your life, and you can bet, his friends will be showing up at your doorstep in droves. Every demon that you let in will sink its talons into your life, and shaking them on your own is impossible.
This is what it means to “commit a sin”. It means that we voluntarily open that door and we voluntarily invite that demon to come live in our lives. In truth the demons have no power other than that which we give them. You’ve heard of “free will”. This is what that phrase means in its most frightening grandeur.
No doubt this all sounds overwhelming when you are facing these demons on your own. I mean, how are we as weak, susceptible human beings supposed to keep watch over that door at all times? How are we supposed to have the strength to keep it closed when it feels like the demon on the other side may break it down at any moment? How? By remembering that when we stand at that door, we are not alone. There is one standing next to us, ready to help if we simply ask. And this person is not just a friend who is weak like we are. No, this friend is the One who has already crushed Satan for us, the One who has already won the victory, the One who has hung on a cross so that when we stand by that door, we are not alone.
But here’s the most wonderful part: Demons get bored easily if you never let them in. They would much rather go find someone they can have some control over, some power over, than stand there knocking at a door that they know is not going to open. So, when you invite Jesus to stand with you by the door to your heart, to stand between you and the door, to take your life and make it His-that’s when the demons say, “To heck with this. I’m outta here. I’m going to find someone who might actually open that door”.
And so we pray: “Deliver me from evil, Dear Lord. Stand with me on as an ever-vigilant guard at the door to my heart. Alone I am afraid, alone I am nothing, but I can do all through God who strengthens me – including keeping that door to temptation locked and bolted shut. You are the true Power. Satan’s style of power is empty to the core. I know that now, and I ask your help in kicking him and all of his little demon henchmen out of my life forever. Amen.”
© Staci Stallings
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