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Seeds of the Kingdom

No Footholds

by John Berry

24 November 2014

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Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Ephesians 4:26-27, NIV

I don’t know about you, but I find God teaches me lessons through the everyday events of life just as much as from my study of the Scriptures.

We had a situation with a leaking shower in a cottage we jointly own with other supporters of the Ministry at Glyndley Manor. It didn’t seem a big issue at first – the on/off knob was a bit stiff, but then it started leaking. We asked someone to look at it and came to the conclusion that a part needed replacing. As it was a fairly new part we spoke to the supplier, who agreed to order a new one for us under guarantee.

On the agreed date the old part was removed and the supplier was visited to collect the replacement. However, on arrival at the store we discovered that the part hadn’t been ordered (or maybe it had been sold to someone else?) and the time and effort was wasted. Not good for the blood pressure for someone with recent heart problems!

The supplier apologised and a further replacement was ordered, which was subsequently collected, fitted satisfactorily (we hope) and the old part returned at no extra cost. There was three weeks of stress, wasted time and frustration to accomplish something that only took an hour to fix eventually. During all this, the toilet seat came loose, kept getting loose and was re-tightened several times, and eventually had to be replaced. But that’s another story…

The effect this had on me was not good. I got frustrated, tried not to be outwardly angry, but inside I was not happy. I was cross. Furthermore, lots of other things were going on, which built on my anger, and the devil got in. I didn’t sleep well. I got over-tired, and overwhelmed, (even though I teach on this!) and lost sight of the God who can do anything.

We often refer to Ephesians 4:27 in a general way about not giving footholds for the devil, but verse 26 gives us the context of it: ‘be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity’. Continuing anger, however justified or righteous, allows the devil to come in and cause us significant upset. His often-used tool is distortion, as things get out of proportion and build up to explosion point, or in my case despondency and defeat.

What is God’s response in this? The Psalmist says ‘I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me’ (Psalm 120:1). And Isaiah reminds us to ‘Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near` (Isaiah 55:6). In other words, rather than let the devil have an opportunity, we should just tell God about it and look for His answers to our problems. It seems simple really, but in the midst of difficulties we can so easily lose our perspective and let the enemy in.

So next time your taps drip, seek first the Kingdom answer, and please remind me to do the same!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You’re interested in the practical things of life, and particularly how we handle them. Please remind us to call on You in our distress and seek You while You may be found, so that, instead of anger and frustration, we may experience peace and optimism, and then we’ll see the devil flee from us. Amen.

John Berry entered the Baptist Ministry more than 40 years ago, and joined the Team at Ellel Glyndley Manor in 2007 with his wife Jennie. They have both now retired from the team but remain as part of the Teaching and Associate Ministry Teams at Glyndley. John and Jennie have seven Grandchildren.


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