Don’t Give the Devil a Foothold – William Gurnall

May 24, 2010 at 9:51 am | Posted in Devotional, Quotes, Spiritual Warfare | Leave a comment
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I came upon The Christian In Complete Armour by William Gurnall at the end of last year. The subtitle, Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare also caught my attention. Many years ago one of the first sermons I preached was from Ephesians 6:10-20 on the armor of God. Not counting individual sermons, I have also preached through the entire book of Ephesians as a series. I have a number of good commentaries on Ephesians and books on spiritual warfare. But I’m usually up to adding another one.

This book is meant to be read daily as part of a Christian’s devotional or quiet time. Or personal study time for those who prefer that time. That is how we are using it. I am one who believes that a growing Christian will make time daily to be get to know God better and to pray. To me it is not about being motivated by guilt but by love. It is not about how one feels but about one’s self-discipline.  Enough preaching from me; let me step aside and let William Gurnall speak.

DON’T GIVE THE DEVIL A FOOTHOLD

Satan is an encroaching enemy. Therefore, you must resist him constantly. “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” warns the apostle; “neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). A soldier assigned to guard duty on the outskirts of a city must keep watch as faithfully as the king’s personal bodyguard, or the enemy will break through the outer limits and thereby gain access to the heart of the town.

If you yield to temptation along the perimeter of your heart, you give the devil a foothold from which to create havoc in your inner spirit. For example, you may become angry and thoughtlessly spew out some bitter words. At the very moment this unholy language spills from your mouth, the devil finds the floodgates open and enters. Then come gushing forth such things as you never dreamed of saying! He is a cunning opponent and will not easily relinquish any ground he gains. The safest strategy, the, is to give him no ground at all from which to work. If you so much as hesitate as you walk by the door where sin dwells, you give Satan more time to entice you to enter. Then you are on his territory.

Who will stop by a tavern to enjoy the company of drunkards, or frequent places of sin, and yet pretend he does not intend to partake? Who will prostitute his eyes to unchaste objects, and yet remain chaste? Who will lend his ears to any corrupt doctrine of the times, and yet be sound in the faith? Such a person is under a strong delusion. If a man is not strong enough to resist Satan in a lesser thing, how can he believe he will be able to repel a greater temptation? You say you cannot avoid being surrounded by deep waters of temptation, yet you think you have the strength to hold your head above water? The give careful thought to some practical advice: It is far easier, when in the ship, to keep from falling overboard than, when in the sea, to get safely into the ship again. (reading for May 22)

Those are still strong and good words for today. I don’t know when they were first written but I do know that Gurnall lived from 1616-1679. There was a strong Puritan influence in his life and he gave himself to pastoring. One has to wonder what he would think of the times and temptations we face today. Maybe he would have the same advice today as he did then. I recommend this book to purchase and use.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; JOHN 15:7

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