Joyce and I decided we wanted some birds in our back yard, and our neighbors told us about purple Martins. We asked, "How do you catch the Martins?" They said, "You just have to create the right atmosphere, and they will come." So we got the specific kind of bird house, put it up on a long pole; and now we have purple Martins. They nest in our yard because we have put out a welcome mat for them.
Many Christians have unwittingly given a place to the devil by creating an atmosphere where he feels at home. It's as if they've put out a welcome mat for Satan.
But be encouraged; you are not a helpless victim. Satan can never take any ground that you do not give him. And there is a way you can remove Satan if you have given him a place. You can take back lost ground.
The Removal of Sin
Remember Satan wants an atmosphere in which he can live comfortably, and that atmosphere is sin. Look at Ephesians 4:25, and begin reading about some of the sins Paul mentions specifically that make a welcome place for the devil in your life.
- Lying — Paul says, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth...." Satan is very comfortable in a person who is a liar. John 8:44 calls the devil a liar and the father of lies. Every time you tell a lie, you are acting like the devil; and you've given a place to him.
- Anger — In both Ephesians 4:26 and 31, anger is mentioned. The devil is filled with anger (see Revelation 12:12). And if you are an angry person, you have definitely given Satan a beachhead and a campground in your life.
- Stealing — Verse twenty-eight says, "Let him that stole steal no more...." In John 10:10, Jesus referred to Satan as a thief. And if there's a spirit of thievery in your life, you've built Satan a nest.
- Filthy Speech — And then look in verse twenty-nine: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth...." In verse four of the next chapter, Paul adds, "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting...." Filthy speech is a haven for the devil.
- Bitterness — Paul warns of bitterness. In verse thirty-one, he admonishes, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice" Few things will make the devil feel more at home than bitterness.
- Slander — "Evil speaking" is just another way of saying slander or gossip. Satan is a slanderer. He's even called "the accuser of our brethren" in Revelation 12:10. Slander is a vicious tool Satan loves to use.
- Malice — Malice is the desire to hurt someone. Is there somebody you want to get even with? Then, the devil is sitting in the corner smiling. You have given a place to him, and you need to take it back.
The Renewal of the Spirit
After the removal of sin, there must be a renewal of your spirit. Verse twenty-four instructs us to, "... put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
While Satan feels at home in sin, the Holy Spirit does not. The Holy Spirit is just that — the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, holiness makes him feel at home, but unholiness grieves Him (see verse thirty).
Put away those things that have caused the Holy Spirit to be grieved, so He may feel at home in your heart.
The Resistance of Satan
Even though you've removed sin and invited the Holy Spirit to come and fill you, Satan has to be evicted. He's not going to just walk out. James 4:7 instructs us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Now, if you haven't submitted to God, don't try to resist the devil. You haven't got what it takes. You have to resist him in the name of Jesus. But when your heart is clean and Christ is enthroned through the Holy Spirit, you can say, "I belong to Jesus Christ. My sin is under His blood. There is no unconfessed, unrepented-of sin in my life. I have enthroned Christ, and I am filled with His Spirit. You are trespassing on my Father's property. In the name of Jesus and with the authority of the Word of God; I command you to leave."
Jesus gives us power over our enemy (Luke 10:19). But you have to learn how to use it. It's time God's people took back lost ground!