Close the Door!
Eph 4:27 (KJV): “Neither give place to the devil.”
Job 1:10 (KJV): “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.”
Ecc 10:8 (KJV): “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.”
Eze 22:30 (KJV): “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
The word “hedge: used in the Old Testament Scriptures above means fence or wall. In Job chapter one, the devil complains about a fence or a wall that God has put around Job and all that he has. In Eze 22:30, God said that He was looking for a man to stand in prayerful intercession and build a wall of prayer.
I believe that we have an invisible wall or fence of protection around us. I believe it’s made up of angels that are like spiritual bodyguards that go around protecting us from danger and the traps of the enemy.
The terrible thing about every fence is that the gate can be left open, and then the fence is useless for keeping things out. Eph 4:27 says, “neither give place to the devil.” You may be thinking who would give place to the devil? Well, there are a lot of ways we can give place to the devil. One of them is disobedience.
The most significant example of this is in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve’s disobedience allowed the devil to come in and take the authority God had given man on the earth, and it also led to their spiritual and later physical death.
In Gen 4:7 (NKJV) God told Cain, “sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you.” We know that Cain didn’t listen, and through jealousy and anger opened a door that led to the murder of Abel.
We can open the door to sickness by how we treat our bodies. Our bodies are a gift from God, and He expects us to take care of them and not abuse them. We can abuse them by overeating, abusing alcohol or drugs, smoking, not getting proper rest, ignoring the doctor's instructions, overwork, sexual promiscuity, and any other number of ways. When we abuse our bodies, we open the door to disease, injury, and death.
One of my old Pastors, Dwayne Freeman, said, “at funerals, we need to stop saying, ‘God took him.’ We need to say, ‘the cigarettes took him’ or ‘that alcohol took him.’” What he said makes sense. People open the door to the devil by abusing their bodies, and the devil brings cancer or liver damage, and then they say why did God allow this to happen to me? Or if they die, their loved ones say why did God take him so soon?
I remember praying for a man in my office in the early 1990s. Everybody believed he would pull through. The Holy Spirit, however, showed me that his intense bitterness and hatred of his ex-wife was the source of his sickness and that unless he repented of it, he would die. I was, as were many coworkers, aware of the feelings he had towards his ex-wife. He displayed great passion and anger when the subject of his ex-wife came up. When he died, it was puzzling to most, but I remembered what the Holy Spirit revealed to me.
Mom, I do not believe in relying on stories and personal experiences. All doctrine worth standing on must have its foundation in the Word of God. Our personal experience and the stories of others can reinforce or confirm the Bible, but we can’t let our faith rest on personal experience alone.
Heb 12:15 (KJV): “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
In Heb 12:15, the Greek word “miaino: is translated defiled. (BlueLetterBible, n.d.) It means to stain, pollute, contaminate, defile with sins. The English word “fail” in the phrase “fail the grace of God” comes from the Greek word “hystereō.” (BlueLetterBible, n.d.) It means: “to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end, fail to become a partaker, to be in want of, lack.” (BlueLetterBible, n.d.)
Wow. Mom, that means that if I hold onto bitterness in my heart, it causes me trouble, stains my heart, and defiles it with sin. More importantly, that sin may cause me to miss and fall short of the grace of God that I need to deal with that sin. This falling short is an open door to Satan that allows him to come in and cause us trouble, to steal, kill, and destroy in our lives.
Acts 8:22-24 (Berean Study Bible): “Repent, therefore, of your wickedness, and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive you for the intent of your heart. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and captive to iniquity. Then Simon answered, Pray to the Lord for me, so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
In Acts 8:23, we see that bitterness is equated to poison and tied to sin’s captivity. We can’t afford to keep bitterness in our heart and leave the door open to Satan. We must repent of bitterness just as Simon the sorcerer did so that nothing that devil has planned for us will happen.
Medical science has also discovered the truth of the Bible as it relates to bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and our health:
“Whether it’s a simple spat with your spouse or long-held resentment toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict can go deeper than you may realize—it may be affecting your physical health. The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.
There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.” (Karen Swartz, n.d.)
“Chronic and intense anger has been linked with Coronary Heart Disease, stroke, cancer and common physical illnesses including colds and flu, and generally poorer health; as well as increased risk-taking, poor decision-making and substance misuse… “Anger has also been linked with mental health problems including depression and self-harm.” (Kirkpatrick, n.d.)
“And studies suggest bitterness, and the feelings of anger and depression that accompany it, may be linked to health issues like cardiovascular problems and a weak immune system.” (Koerner, 2012)
Mom, the last open door that I want to talk about may be the most important. The door that I am talking about is the door to fear. 2 Tim 1:7 (NKJV) says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
The reason closing the door to fear is so important is that fear flips everything in that Scripture around. It steals our soundness of mind and makes us worried and anxious. It robs us of our power and confidence as we try to stand boldly against sickness and even death. Finally, it makes us doubt the love of God for us and question whether He is helping us as we believe for healing.
Jesus cautioned Jairus not to be afraid in Mar 5:35-43 (NKJV): “While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’ As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe.’”
Jesus knew that one of the greatest enemies of healing was fear, so He helped Jairus confront that fear first, before going to heal his daughter. Later in that story, we find that Jairus’ home was filled with people that did not believe that his daughter could be healed. In fact, they ridiculed Jesus.
Jesus kicked them all out, but it’s easy to see how they could have fueled Jairus’ fear if Jesus had not dealt with it beforehand. The faith of Jairus and his wife was key to their daughter’s recovery. Fear in Jairus’ heart could have spread to his wife and stolen the miracle of their daughter’s recovery.
One of the best books I have found about the open door of fear is “Uprooting the Spirit of Fear” by Dr. Creflo A. Dollar. I want to share some of his wisdom here:
“Fear gives place to the devil, thus allowing him to operate freely. That was precisely what took place with the disciples in the storm-tossed boat. Their fear in the beginning stages of the storm gave Satan room to really start tearing things up.
Fear allowed the storm to get to a point where it might have destroyed them. That is why Jesus exclaimed, “where is your faith?” when He woke up…
There's no way for Satan to operate destructively in your life unless you give place to him. You may ask how do you give place to the devil? You give place to the devil by paying attention to his words and thereby beginning to operate in fear...
Unchecked and unreversed, fear will open the door for the devil to come in kill steal and destroy…your fear has given place to the devil to do his destructive work.
Fear comes by hearing, and hearing means “by words” …Fear may come through the devil's words directly into your mind or it may enter through the words of other people. For example, fear may enter through your paying attention not only to a doctor but to a friend or relative speaking negatively... Guard the “gates” of your soul. Your eyes and ears are gateways to your mind and spirit...
For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. Job 3:25 Job's fear caused God's hedge of protection around him to be lifted. God did not lift the Hedge; Job's fear did.” (Dollar, 1994)
The Bible says, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luk 6:45). If fear is in your heart, fear-filled words will come out of your mouth. If you hear yourself saying words of fear and doubt coming out of your mouth, just repent and close the door.
Fear magnifies the sickness and tries to make it more powerful than the Word of God. Through fear, the devil tries to make it seem like your illness, and your condition are too bad for the Word of God to work on it.
My pastor, Dr. Michael Maiden, said, “pray the answer (from Scripture) don’t pray the problem. Prayer is not informing God about the problem; it's praying the answer to the situation from the Word of God.”
Fear gets you talking more about the problem and how big it is instead of how big our God is and how powerful His Word is.
Close the door to fear today! And keep it closed!
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