Do not give the devil a way to defeat you, a foothold, an opportunity, a loophole. ~Ephesians 4:27 [various translations combined]
One early crisp morning I was walking downstairs to perform my daily coffee making ritual, and as I made my way to the kitchen in the pre-dawn darkness, I was halted by what felt like a frozen, icy vortex hitting me in the face. “Why is it so cold down here??” I thought as I raced to the thermostat to see if the heat was off or, heaven forbid, the furnace was on the fritz. The heat was indeed on, and all seemed to be running well. My next immediate thought was that someone must have left the front door wide open last nite, judging by the steady breeze still hitting my chilled body. Front door shut tightly and locked. That’s not it. This is weird. There is definitely a steady stream of cold air blowing in the living room and no obvious reason for it. Finally, I decided to just stand still and feel and look around the room slowly. Calmly, I felt the air, scanned—And there it was! An open window! As I quickly closed it, I remembered that the previous day saw an unusually warm afternoon, so I had opened a window about 10 inches so that our doggy Atticus could enjoy the smells of the outdoors for a few minutes. And I obviously forgot to close it.
Pretty much immediately the Holy Ghost impressed upon me the spiritual metaphor: Do not leave any openings for evil influences to corrupt you; these are not always obvious and easy to detect. Now, sometimes we do leave the front door open. I think of wide open doors as the easy-to-see ajar portals allowing in a hurricane of dark forces. For instance, if you’re sleeping with your next door neighbor’s spouse, it doesn’t require a rocket surgeon to figure out that there’s probably gonna be some trouble up ahead for you. Or if you punch people right in the mouth whenever they don’t agree with you, or sell meth to children on playgrounds, you’re probably at least halfway aware that you’re doing something wrong and that there’s gonna be some hell to pay. But again, these are those big gaping wide open doors that are easy to notice and understand how the toxic draft is getting in.
What about open windows–those more subtle openings which can equally allow in so much poison and give the devil a foothold? I think open windows can represent habits of thought that are far from healthy, as well as far from detection. One of these habits of thought can be the toxicity of comparison, tempting you to see how your life measures up against the lifestyles of others, giving much energy to how you appear, or perhaps prodding you to look down your nose at those who are “clearly beneath you” socially, intellectually, physically, or even spiritually. Another open window may be harbored resentment or held-onto anger. This dangerous venom can course through your veins, distorting how you see everybody and everything, if allowed to steep long enough. Like the old saying about unforgiveness goes: It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. And then there’s gossip, that not often preached about but clearly ruinous evil in the Scriptures. If you want to give ample opportunity for spiritual cancer to spread–this is it!
I’m sure you can come up with plenty of other “open windows” through some healthy examination. Hopefully this is a helpful springboard toward taking a critical look at how you might unknowingly be giving evil influences a handle to grab onto and steer you in the wrong direction.
Also, kinda cool, the Holy Spirit, as has happened so many times before, affirmed this experience the very next day–through this sentence I read by Henry Scougal in his book The Life of God in the Soul of Man:
There are still some worldly desires lurking in my heart, and those vanities that I have shut out of the doors are always getting in by the windows.