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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Don’t Quit, Keep Pressing On!

February 16, 2010 at 11:11 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Sometimes circumstances or people can give us a swift unexpected kick. At times like that we have to remember some foundational truths. One being, Christians are involved in spiritual warfare. We live in a war zone, all day, and every day. But there is help and there is hope. They are found in the person of Jesus Christ and the promises of the Word of God.

“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12 NIV)

Second, those of us who are in Christ, who know Him personally as Lord and Savior, can be assured of His presence in our lives. Whether in good times or bad times we can be confident of His presence and provision. Our enemy may throw fiery arrows at us trying to get us to doubt the Word of God. But we need to remember that is part of the Christian life.

“But,” the doubting soul may ask, “what if I cannot grasp this assurance, or vouch for those evidences which I once thought to be true?” Then try the following prescriptions as a tonic for your ailing faith.

First of all, renew your repentance, as if you had never repented. Put forth fresh acts of faith, as if you had never believed, and you will beat Satan at his own game. Let him tell you that your former actions were hypocritical, or that they are old and worthless. What can he say against your present affirmation of faith? In this way, the very accusations he uses to drive you away from God, instead draw you closer to Him.

If he still haunts you with fears of you spiritual condition, then apply to the throne of grace and ask for a new copy of the old evidence, which you have misplace. The original is in the pardon office in heaven, of which Christ is the Master. And if you are a saint, your name is on record in that court. Appeal to God, and hear the news from heaven, rather than listen to the tales your enemy brings from hell. If you would argue less with Satan and pray more to God about your fears, they would soon be resolved. Can you expect truth from a liar, or comfort from an adversary? Turn your back on him and go to God. Try not to worry. Sooner or later you will receive your certificate of assurance. (from The Christian In Complete Armour by

William Gurnall, Feb. 16)

Third, my brothers and sisters, we have to keep pressing on. Don’t give up on your faith in God. Don’t believe the father of lies who tries to tell you that either God doesn’t care or He simply can’t do anything about your problem. Remember the words of Paul, Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Phil. 3:12). We have a responsibility to lay aside what easily entangles us and look toward Jesus and press on. He has overcome and in Him we are overcomers! Don’t quit, keep pressing on!

You Mustn’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest! if you must – but never quit.

Life is queer, with its twist and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won if he’d stuck it out;

Stick to your task, though the pace seems slow –

You may succeed with one more blow.

Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt –

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –

It’s when things seem worst that YOU MUSTN’T QUIT.

–         author Unknown, from Along The Road To Manhood

by Stu Webber, p. 92.

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