Easter has deepened the way that God can speak to his people. The faithful and godly have always been God’s people. Now more powerfully, the LORD speaks to us not as people of the promise, but as people of the resurrection.
To add to that intensity, the LORD reminds his people that we are “created to be like God.” Adam and Eve were created in the “image” of God, but they lost their relationship with God. Since then every person born is in the “image” of Adam and Eve. God’s promise of the Savior certainly was true and all who trusted that promise had the blessings promised. Better than the promise was the completed forgiveness. Now the word “created” has the fulfilled reality of Jesus’ work attached. For every believer we are the recipients of a nature that is founded upon God’s forgiveness.
Because of the new self that is created to be like God, we are encouraged to live in “true righteousness and holiness.” Every time the Scriptures express the life of the Christian, God expands upon what true righteousness and holiness are to be.
The word of the Spirit that is at the end presents an important goal of Christian activity – do not give the devil a foothold in your life.
Every sin presents to Satan a foothold – all-be-it small – in our life. As so-called bigger sins take place, as some sins become habitual in the Christian life, as a Christian greatly weakens, those sins provide even bigger footholds for Satan in a person’s life. With those footholds the devil climbs into a person’s heart and being, and seeks to ruin a person’s Christian faith and life.
Three sins are particularly mentioned in the following word of God.
- Put off falsehood
- Speak truthfully
- Control your anger.
The exhortation to control our anger is the one to which is attached the specific encouragement that we do not give the Devil a foothold.
Certainly, there can be righteous anger such as when we are angry about something that greatly harms another person, or angry at our child for doing something dangerous, or, like Jesus, when we are angry about sin. Yet, in all honesty, is our anger truly righteous or more often, isn’t our anger filled with sin?
Sadly, all of us know someone whose life has been greatly damaged by their anger. Satan encourages people to let their anger fly and fly often. The Holy Spirit guided James to write. – for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:20).
Set aside your anger by realizing:
- Jesus forgave you an immense debt of sin so you can forgive the person, spouse, or fellow worker who does something that might anger you;
- You are not perfect either, so you do not deserve to get angry;
- Whatever events around you that activate your anger, Satan will try to use those events to get you angry. Yet, you are a Christian, not a slave to your anger or Satan. You are not obligated to give in to temptation, any temptation, even anger;
- You are not obligated to get angry. Your emotions are not what control you. Jesus is your Savior and Lord.
- Your anger is not a part of who you are, so that you are simply an angry person. You are Jesus’ redeemed man or woman first and foremost.
- You may feel that you deserve to get angry because of what was said or has happened. Not true. Ninety-eight percent of the time anger is your sinful nature in action. More importantly, you are redeemed by Jesus and deserve to act as a Christian.
- We cannot credit our anger with being so great that our anger goes on and on. We, our sinful nature, are who empower our anger to go on and on. You are not a slave to your anger. Jesus is your righteousness.
We are people of God who have a risen Savior. Do not give Satan a foothold in your life. As the Spirit had Paul write:
“… put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:24-27).