Before and during the Middle Ages, the north face of a church was considered to belong to the Devil and to people considered heathen. Churches were invariably built to the north of roads and tracks, to ensure their main entrance was on the south side. A later, and more common, purpose was to allow the Devil to escape from the church. A widespread belief in the Middle Ages held that the Devil resided in an unbaptised child’s soul; at the baptism the Devil would be driven out of the child and had to be able to leave. Accordingly, a door was often built into the north wall for this purpose.
But, the purpose of this post is not to consider how we may drive the Devil out, but how we might be letting him in.
Where does the idea of “opening a door for the enemy to enter” come from?
Perhaps it comes from here:
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:7
I’m not sure we can make any conclusions for this verse alone, because, for one, Satan or his minions are not omnipresent. Secondly, it is sin which is crouching at the door, and not necessarily the enemy. Let’s continue.
Perhaps it comes from here:
“And do not give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:27
Again, I’m not sure we can make a solid conclusion yet. It’s interesting here that “opportunity” carries with it the ideas of areas, locality, occasion, parts, passengers, place, reef, regions and room. All of these “footholds,” NIV are given to the enemy by sin being given permission to operate via our own anger.
What does it mean to “open a door for the enemy to enter” or “to give the enemy a foothold?”
For some it’s a conviction not doing something wrong that might lead to an even greater or more frequent wrong or nibbling the bait of an addiction. For others, it’s a genuine and conscientious concern over self-control in matters of personal weakness. I think, in most cases, it’s a phrase coined and canonized to control a communities behavior. Certainly there are bad behaviors which lead to even worse ones, and other behaviors which widen the cracks of our weaknesses like unforgiveness, fear, worry, anxiety, anger, negative thinking, and unhealthy infatuation, but most often this idea is applied to the “sins” others that we simply don’t like or have propensity to commit. In most cases, it has become law which opposes the freedom and grace of the Gospel.
I do not want to encourage you to go around kicking open everyone’s doors to prove a point, but likewise, I do not want you to stay cooped up inside behind closed doors for fear of “letting the enemy in.” So, a few questions:
- What kinds of behaviors would you consider “door opening” for the enemy?
- Is it even a Biblical concept?
- In your experience, how has the idea of “opening a door for the enemy,” been applied?