“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” – Ephesians 4:26-27
We are going to become angry at times throughout our lives, but if you look closely at today’s key verse of Scripture, you’ll notice that Paul never says, “don’t be angry.” Instead, he says, BE ANGRY…but do it the right way. That is his second directive in these verses. The first verse: Be angry and do not sin. The second one: Don’t let the sun go down on your anger and don’t give the devil an opportunity.
The question is…How do we do that?
For many people, anger is something that reigns and grows within their hearts. The longer we allow anger to reside within us, the angrier we tend to become. What Paul knew was that unaddressed anger always leads to unrighteous anger.
So as a part of his discipleship, he was instructing the young believers from Ephesus, telling them it is okay to be angry, but you’ve got to address the anger inside of you. And you must do it in a timely manner. Because if you don’t, you are going to give the devil an opportunity to gain territory in your life, in your relationships, and in your church.
That’s what the phrase means, “and give no opportunity to the devil.” Other translations say, “don’t give the devil a foothold.”
A foothold is a rock-climbing term that defines a place to securely set your foot and gain leverage so that you can elevate even higher. If you’ve ever climbed a wall or the side of a mountain, you know that a “foothold” is necessary if you’re going to climb higher and eventually reach the summit.
That’s what we are trying to avoid as Christ-followers. We never want to give the devil a “foothold” or an opportunity to gain ground in our lives.
Paul warns us that when our anger goes unchecked and unaddressed, that is exactly what we’re doing. We’re teeing him up to exploit our anger and our bitterness for his purpose.