Bar the Gates!
Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
John Bunyan, one of history's greatest Christian authors, wrote the story of a fierce battle to take control of a city from its rightful ruler. This famous allegory, Bunyan's second most popular work, is entitled The Holy War. His depiction of the human soul is a city, Mansoul, with five gates: Ear Gate, Eye Gate, Nose Gate, Feel Gate, and Mouth Gate.
The enemy of the city is Sin, who comes on a daily basis to attack at one of its five gates. Sin speaks to the Ear Gate; he presents vivid, alluring pictures to the Eye Gate; he tempts the other "Gates" as well.
The interesting thing about this battle is that Mansoul could never be defeated by outside attacks, and Sin could never win in his assaults against the five gates . . . except in one way: someone on the inside had to open one of the gates and let Sin in.
In reality, these five gates are not Bunyan's allegorical creations at all—they are for real! Bunyan had grasped what both Paul and Peter understood: that the soul of man is destroyed from the inside, not the outside.
This is why Paul urged the believers to stop presenting their members to sin. The word presenting in this verse is a military term, used in the transferring of weaponry or arms. Paul was actually saying, "Don't let the enemy use your body as his weapon. Don't let the enemy have your rifle or your sword so he can use it against you! Don't leave yourself unarmed . . . don't open the gates!"
Unquestionably, you cannot be a holy child of God while allowing your eyes to feast on unholy scenes. Most of today's new film releases contain scenes of adultery or fornication. It is a fact, according to recent statistics, that over ninety percent of all sexual content in the average film is between unmarried people or people who are married to someone else.
If you choose to watch sin on the big screen, whether in a theater or your family room, you have just opened the Eye Gate and invited Sin to come in.
If Sin can't get through one gate, he will try another. So, what are the lyrics to your favorite songs, and the lifestyle of your favorite artists? Most secular music today is filled with the same perversion that you see on the screen; merely listening to it may be as deadly as watching it . . . keep the Ear Gate closed!
You are in a Holy War, Christian, just as John Bunyan said. And you may be your own worst enemy! Sin is pounding at each Gate, but he can only come in if you allow him entrance. Sin can't win the battle from the outside.
Don't betray your Mansoul! By all means, reinforce the boundaries . . . fortify the walls . . . bar the Gates!
Prayer Point: Thank God for His available strength to enable your battle against the onslaught of sin. Ask Him to bring to mind any area of your senses where you might be allowing sin to gain entrance into the city of your soul. Confess the treason against His holiness and ask Him for strength to close the Gate and lock it tight.
Extra Refreshment: Read 2 Peter 3.
Are you thirsty? If so, some refreshing water is here. Not in another how-to book, but in the ever-flowing, ever-living fountain of God's Word. In this 90-day devotional, Stephen will take you to streams of conviction, encouragement, hope, and challenge, that only flow from the pages of Scripture. These waters of refreshment are prayerfully offered to refresh the despondent, restore the delinquent, and encourage every disciple who desires to know God more deeply.
God has given us many examples in Scripture of men, women, boys, and girls who experienced the same kind of trials we experience today, but the most important example is Christ Himself. So in this colorful children’s book, Seth Davey challenges us with the words of Hebrews 12:3 to “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” We have a High Priest who can sympathize will all our weaknesses . . . and that’s a powerful truth that we should never stop thinking about!