There are obvious and not so obvious open doors for demons to get a foothold in our lives. For those with a basic understanding of the Bible, adultery, stealing, murder and abuse, top of the list of major sins with serious consequences. But demons love anything they can use as leverage to broaden the gap between us, and a loving relationship with Him.
That’s why Jesus had to teach about the deeper issues of what murder and adultery were all about. It isn’t just the physical act that severs our bond with God, it’s the inner attitudes, the secret feelings and desires of our hearts that give room for demonic activity. What we allow to fester inside manifests outwardly in very tangible ways.
When we think of stuffy old church ladies wagging their fingers and telling us how to act and what to say, then sin becomes a religious joke. The devil’s done such a good job in conjuring that illusion, that Christians feel embarrassed to even mention the word sin. Sin in all its ugliness has become totally obscured. It’s anything that tears us away from God’s protection. It’s what tricks us into exposing our lives to Satan’s poison. Imagine carrying your innocent baby safely in your arms, to have a kidnapper snatch him away to molest in some way or another. We are that innocent child in God’s arms. As long as we choose to remain there, we’re always safe. But unlike a little child, we can choose to dabble in sinful behavior (which is obvious) and sinful attitudes (which aren’t obvious), giving permission for demons to molest us. It’s a horrific image, but sin has horrific repercussions. Just one act of disobedience was enough to bring death and suffering into the entire world, enough to require the slaughter of innocent animals as sacrificial substitutes for humanity for millennia, and finally the sacrificial slaughter of the Son of God Himself so that we could be free. Sin is not a joke, it’s a very big deal.
Sadly, Christians are oblivious to the many open doors they have in their lives, even though their lack of answered prayers should cause them to connect the dots. The devil loves to hold them up as proof that the Bible isn’t true and that God doesn’t fulfill His promises. He can point to their fine Christian resume of good deeds, and then point out how miserable they are.
So what inward attitudes is the devil using to molest us? As Jesus said, the sins of murder and adultery are already committed when we feel ungodly desires for others. Of course temptation comes to everyone, but entertaining that temptation takes it to the level of sin. How easy is it to feel contempt for someone who’s treated you unfairly? Especially if it keeps happening? How easy is it to also pretend that you’ve forgive them, while still harboring resentment and disgust? You can tell whether contempt (which is a form of hatred) is simmering under your façade of spirituality when you cringe at the thought of being in the same room with that person.
Again, how easy is it to fantasize about someone sexually outside of marriage? How easy is it to pretend that it doesn’t matter, that it’s just a little crush, that it’s about someone you would never actually meet anyway? Maybe you imagine you just admire this person because of their intelligence or talents or even their spirituality, that you want to learn more from them. What you may not know is that a large breach opens up in your life when these types of feelings are entertained. Not even your closest loved one may know what is hidden in your heart, but in the spiritual world, you are an open book. God sees the danger you are in, and Satan sees you as raw flesh to devour. And lustful thoughts and hatred are just the beginning of a long list of hidden sins that seemingly good Christians can harbor. (Doubts, fears, skepticism, cheating, fill in the blank…)
You’re not a terrible person because you have hidden sins – the answer comes in humbling yourself to identify and fight them. It doesn’t do any good to pretend they’re not there. The coldness of your relationship to God should be enough to connect the dots and alert you that something’s wrong. The great news is that there is much that can be done to close those breaches, to become strong and untouchable to the devil and to start to see God’s blessings return to your life. It begins with fighting the demonic forces behind these temptations and sins, realizing that they aren’t just “you.” You are under attack and need to attack back with a holy vengeance.
You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires. Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy. Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously? But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:2-6 HCSB)