Have you ever gone rock climbing? I’ve never done extreme outdoor rock climbing, but I’ve done plenty of indoor climbing. It’s intense. It’s physically challenging and fun. If you have the right equipment and you’re being supported by people you trust, it can be a great time, and there is no better feeling than conquering a challenging wall.
One thing that’s necessary, though, is to have handholds and footholds. You can’t climb a rock wall of any kind without anywhere to grab onto or to step with your foot to push yourself up.
I remember one time I was climbing a really challenging section of an indoor rock wall and I was doing great until I got about 30 feet up and realized that I had positioned myself in a place where there was no foothold for me to use to push myself up to the next place where I could grab on with my hands to keep climbing. I had to go about 5 or 10 feet back down the wall and find a different route. It made things much more difficult because it took a lot of energy. I had to backtrack and make new plans. I had no foothold, and it derailed my plan of attack.
I came across a Bible verse today that stuck out to me:
“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
That hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m so bad at this. While I feel like I’ve come a long way in this area, I still sometimes have a bad habit of venting or taking my anger out on the wrong people at the wrong time in the wrong ways. But this verse clearly says that by letting anger get the best of me, I give the devil a foothold. I make it easier for Satan to conquer me.
So I started thinking about life as a rock wall. Think about that for a minute. If sin gives the devil a foothold, it makes it easier for him to conquer us like a climber conquers a wall.
So I asked myself some questions:
- In what areas of your life does Satan have a foothold?
- In what areas do you make it too easy for him to conquer you?
- What footholds do you need to take away from him?
The answers I came up with aren’t easy or convenient or ones I want to hear, but I know they’re the things God would point out in my life. Ask yourself those questions and don’t allow yourself to reason your answers away. You’ll know if you’re being honest with yourself. Pray for the strength to overcome those things and to remove those footholds so that Satan can’t win in your life in those ways.
If you do this, then you can be sure that where there was once a foothold, there will be a scar left in it’s place, a place where you’re vulnerable to future attacks. So how can you be healed and set yourself up to be successful in those areas long term?
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
The two keys in there are accountability and prayer. Find someone you trust and respect who you will allow to speak into your life to hold you accountable in the areas of life that you know you tend to give Satan a foothold. Ask them to pray for you, and do the same for them. I’m thankful for the people in my life who do this for me, because I know I’d be so much worse off without that level of protection, accountability, and network of support.
When things don’t go our way in life, it’s easy to get angry, upset, distraught, or hurt. When we’re hurt or angry, we’re vulnerable and defensive, it’s really easy to sin in that moment. I’ve been in that position many times and it is a constant struggle to not stay in the middle of all of that. But we can do this. We can take Satan’s footholds away. Through the strength and by the grace of God, we can overcome any temptation or any struggle.