“Nor give place to the devil.”
Boy Scouts, infantry soldiers, and wilderness explorers are required to have a working knowledge of topography. The key root in “topography” is the Greek word topos, or “place.” So topography is the science of place—as in the places laid out on a map. In the New Testament topos is translated “place,” “locale,” or “opportunity.” When it occurs in Ephesians 4:27, it means not to give the devil a place or opportunity. The New International Version translates that verse as “Do not give the devil a foothold.” That works—a “foothold” being a “place” where a climber can insert his foot when scaling a cliff. A foothold was needed by soldiers seeking to gain entrance to an enemy stronghold or fort.
So what gives the devil this place, opportunity, or foothold? Sinful anger, Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26. The longer anger remains in the human heart, the greater an opportunity, the more secure a foothold, it becomes. All the devil needs to get his foot in the door of the human heart is for us to nurture our hurt feelings, anger, or resentment.
Keep short accounts; fill in the footholds; erase the sinful places from the map of your heart. Give the devil no opportunity.1
1 Today’s devotion is taken from David Jeremiah’s Turning Point Daily Devotionals