Back to the Basics: Closing the Door to Sin
I walked into our garage the other day and saw the strangest thing – a box turtle going head-to-head with the lawnmower. Although its clawed-feet were moving ninety-to-nothing, it was a draw. This ornate box turtle was making no headway at all against my 24 inch-cut, Honda push mower.
Even so, this headstrong and very determined reptile was not giving up. It was humorous, yet painful to watch.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I picked up the feisty intruder, all four feet furiously dog-paddling in mid-air the entire way, and carried it across the backyard. Then I gently released it behind the fence into a lush wooded area.
My work was done here…or was it? How did this little domed friend get into my garage? Easy. I had left both garage doors opened just a crack to let the hot air out and the cool air in. Made sense at the time. However, in doing so, I left enough room for this turtle to wander into the garage.
Opened and Closed Doors
Evangelist and author Jentezen Franklin wrote in his June 2, 2017 blog, Open and Closed Doors: “Doors in the Bible are very important. Open doors give you access to something. Shut doors means you don’t have the access. The Lord is your doorkeeper. He opens doors and He shuts doors. And if you trust Him, He’s going to let you have the access to His plan and His purpose for your life…Sometimes a shut door is for protection, but sometimes a shut door is for privacy. He opens doors to give you access to something or someone. Almost all sin can be traced to an open door that you opened to someone or something that moved into your life because you opened the door.”
Put on the Whole Armor of God
Sin in your life is an open door to the enemy. Putting on God’s spiritual armor helps us be vigilant against temptation, both to recognize and resist it.
In Ephesians 6, Paul is emphatic about putting on the whole armor of God’ (Ephesians 6:10-17 NLT). In verse 11, Paul says, “Put on all of God’s armor…”. And in verse 13 he stresses, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor…”.
Leave no opening for the enemy to enter. If you do, he will find it, enter in through it and will take full advantage of that specific breach in your spiritual wall. I know. I have been guilty of that form of spiritual oversight and believe me, the onslaught that ensued has not been pleasant.
I have the battle scars to prove it.
Don’t Give Satan a Foothold
Just like the turtle in our garage was headstrong and relentless at trying to move the lawnmower, Satan too is relentless in trying to penetrate your life. He will look for any crack, chink in your armor, or open door he can find to move in and establish a stronghold.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT) is a verse I have been convicted by for many years, usually doing it wrong, and occasionally getting it right. “And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” I found repenting for the anger as quickly as possible and closing that door reaps ample benefits.
Free and Innocent
When I was growing up, I could never hide anything from my mother. I mean NEVER! She would always find out what I was up to, especially if I was up to no good. Somehow, some way, she knew.
A typical mother’s intuition, I guess.
While my mother was intuitive and just plain street smart, she was no match for the Lord’s ability to know everything about me. I couldn’t then and can’t now hide anything from God, nor do I want to. Believers should never try to hide or keep secrets from the Lord.
In Psalms, we are reminded of this: “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.” Psalm 19:12-13 (NLT)
“This Is A Football”
In his best-selling book, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, author David Maraniss tells the story of Lombardi’s training camp speech during the summer of 1961.
“He took nothing for granted. He began a tradition of starting from scratch, assuming that the players were blank slates who carried over no knowledge from the year before…He began with the most elemental statement of all. ‘Gentlemen,” he said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, “this is a football.’”
That 1961 season began Vince Lombardi’s era as one of the greatest football coaches of all-time. Focusing on the basics has been a hallmark of many successful coaches in different sports. However, it is not just sports where this strategy is useful.
Throughout our lives, a focus on the fundamentals is what determines our results.
Our Daily Walk
Mastering the fundamentals is extremely important to the believer as well. Whether you are a seasoned Christian, new to the faith, or somewhere in between, establishing the discipline of Bible reading and prayer is vital to our victorious walk as a believer.
When I don’t take time to fellowship with God through talking to Him and reading His Word, seeking His guidance and strength, my day can be tumultuous, scattered. I’m considerably more “colorful.” The day is simply more challenging, and I don’t overcome temptations as well. God’s grace covers me (I’m still saved) but spending time in His presence fortifies me to remember who and whose I am.
However, on the days I purposely choose to spend time with God reading His Word and praying, I am better prepared for the spiritual warfare I know is coming. I still may have difficult situations and temptations, but the way I respond to those situations is completely different. God helps me make wise and tough choices.
A Final Word
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will be standing firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13 NLT)
Friends, let’s get back to the basics...
“This is a Bible.”