A lot of Christians have given a place to the devil, and they cannot dislodge him unless they legally dislodge him. Over time, these strongholds become certain habitual things in their lives. In order to dislodge the devil, there are going to have to be three legal steps, in order to get him out.
A text without a context is but a pretext. Let us look at the verses surrounding verse 27, which warns about giving place to the devil. What kind of things give place to the devil? What Gives Rise to the Devil?
In Ephesians 4:25 we read, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25). If you are a liar, or if your life is not based on absolute, total, impeccable truth, then you have created a climate where the devil will feel welcome.
The devil’s nature is lying. In John 8:44, Jesus said that the devil “is a liar, and the father of it.” If you really wanted the devil to feel at home in your life, then, you should live a lie, love a lie, and believe a lie. He is the prince of darkness, and lying is in the realm of darkness. God’s Kingdom, on the other hand, is built on truth. In John 14:6, Jesus said that He is “the truth.” In John 17:17, Jesus said: “Thy word is truth. “In 1 John 5:6: states, “The Spirit is truth.”
Is there any area of our lives-any area-that is not impeccably, indisputably, completely honest? If there’s an area of dishonesty of our life, then that will be the devil’s campground. Did you know that you can lie with the tone of your voice? Did you know that you can lie by just the arching of your eyebrows?
If there is thievery in your life, then there’s a climate there that Satan loves. Satan is a thief.
If we would steal so much as a 15-cent pencil and carry it home from the job then we made a place for the devil. You say, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute.” In Luke 16:10 we read, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is much: and he that is unfaithful in that which is least is unfaithful also in that which is much.”
“If we are unfaithful in that which is least, then we are unfaithful in that which is much,” because with God, thievery is thievery.
Are you a tither? You may say, “No.” Then, you’re a thief. The Word of God says, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). Everything we have belongs to God!
3. Filthy Speech
In Ephesians 4:29 we read, that filthy speech makes room for the devil. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
In Ephesians 5:4, it states, “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” Not only is the devil a thief, but also, the devil is filthy.
Paul is saying: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying” (Ephesians 4:29). There’s a certain kind of language, a certain kind of talk, certain kinds of stories, and certain kinds of things that are filthy things-they tear down. They do not build up, but they tear down; they destroy; and they desecrate. And, if you have a foul mouth and a filthy mouth, and you tell these kinds of stories, I’ll tell you why you have a foul mouth and a filthy mouth: because you have a filthy heart. A filthy heart is a place that Satan incubates and dwells in. He is there and he’s going to wreck and ruin your life and make a stronghold out of it.
Bitterness creates a climate for the devil. In verses 30 and 31, we read, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:30-31).
Did you know the devil is bitter? In Revelation 12: 12-17, you find the devil pursuing after the nation Israel. The dragon pursues after the woman. The devil has a bitterness-the devil has a vendetta-against God’s holy people. Are you bitter? You’re like the devil. Are you bitter? If you’re not careful, then, before long, you’re going to be full of the evil.
The devil loves to find bitter heart. If you’re a bitter person, then you’ve got no joy in your heart. You can sit in church with a smile on your face. If there’s bitterness in your heart, then your prayers are not getting through to God. If there’s bitterness there, then you’re contaminating the life ’round about you. And, not only are you ruining your own life, but you’re also contaminating the life of the people around you. You are giving a place to the devil.
In verse 31, Paul states, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you” (Ephesians 4:31). Bitterness often leads to slander, and, again, the devil is called “the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10). Do you know what the word devil means? It means “slanderer.” If you are a slanderer, if you are a gossip, or if you are speaking evil, then you’re literally doing the devil’s work.
In verse 31: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”
Let me show you how the devil works. First, there comes bitterness. Do you know what bitterness is? You feel wounded, as if somebody has done you wrong, and you feel that you have a right to be bitter. Bitterness, after a while, turns to wrath.
Paul says, “Let all bitterness,” and then, “wrath” (Ephesians 4:31). Look at the word wrath. The Greek word wrath has the idea of something that burns on the inside. It has the idea of the internal heat. It’s like smoldering rags in an attic or in a closet.
When a person does not deal with their bitterness, they begin to have a slow burn. Then, the next word is “anger.” After a while, those moldering rags burst into flames, and it shows up as anger, and that which is internal becomes external.
The devil is not finished yet. The anger then turns to “clamor.” Do you know what the word clamor means? It means, “to speak loudly.”
Then, that clamor turns to “evil speaking.” It is the picture of a person who lets another person “really have it” with all their words. The devil says, “Yeah, tell him this, too, and tell him that.” And then, the person starts to evil speak-that is, he/she says things he/she doesn’t mean. The person says things that he/she never even really thought of. Such verbal expressions include: “I hate you”; “You’ll never amount to anything”; “I wish we had never gotten married. I wish I had never seen you. I wish you were dead.”
This path ends up with “malice.” Do you know what the word malice means? The term means, “a desire to hurt somebody.” I mean, after the evil speaking, then, you want to grab hold of him or her; you want to shake him or her. This path lets the devil come in. The devil can take no place, except what we give him.
All along the Holy Spirit is weeping. The Holy Spirit is heartbroken. Did you know that you can break the heart of God? Do you know what the word grieve means? It is a picture of parents grieving over their children? “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). Can you imagine being saved, redeemed, born again, and this purchased temple, bought with the blood of Jesus, becoming a nest of Satan?
We are not going to get that place back until we repent. There’s one thing God will not accept for sin, and that is an alibi or an excuse. There must be repentance, and repentance is not just being broken over our sin-it is being broken from our sin. The Bible says to put it away and to be done with it (Ephesians 4:22).
After there is repentance, there can be resistance. Now, even after we repent, the devil is not going to walk out. We are going to have to run him out. The Bible says, in James 4:7: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
If you don’t resist him, then he’s not going. Even if we repent, we still must clean house.
You have got to go in there with a power of attorney, which is the name of Jesus. I mean that when you take that land-when you say, “I clean it out. I repent of the sin. I cancel the debt. It’s all done, devil. You have no more right. You have no more legal authority”- then, you can take the blood of Jesus Christ as your authority and Christ as your attorney.
We can say to him, in no uncertain terms, “Satan, I have given you a place, but I take it back, in the name and the authority of Jesus. I bring Jesus Christ against you. You have no right; you have no authority. This body of mine is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. You are trespassing on my Father’s property, and, in the name of Jesus, whose I am, and whom I serve, be gone! He will flee from you!
If we try to resist the devil with unconfessed sin in our heart and in our life, and he will laugh in our face. He’ll make a mockery of you. You say, “Devil, leave me alone.” He’ll say, “Ha, who do you think you are? You gave me this piece of property, and I am not moving out.” There must be repentance, and then, there can be resistance.
In Ephesians 4:23-24, we read: “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man”-it’s not enough to put off the old man, but-“put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24). God wants us to know true holiness. Look in verse 30: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
In Ephesians 5:18, Paul states “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” We have a choice: We can grieve the Spirit of God and be filled with the devil, or, we can put the devil out and be filled with the Spirit of God. There’s no place for the devil when you’re filled with the Spirit.
When the Bible says, “Be filled with the Spirit,” what does that mean? The Holy Spirit is not some sort of a liquid, and you’re not a jug. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit in person. “To be filled with the Spirit of God” means that there’s not one room in this temple where He’s off-bounds; there’s not one closet he doesn’t have a key to.
When we are filled with the Spirit, He impacts our business life, political life, church life, social life, big things, little things, money, exercise, sleep, eating, lying down and waking up. “Jesus, I give you the keys to it all. I am filled with the Spirit.” When we are filled with the Spirit, there’s no more room for Satan. If there’s room for Satan, then the Spirit is grieved and we are not filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). We need a lifestyle of repenting, resisting and renewing of lives in Christ.