Putting Out The “Not Welcome” Mat

Putting Out The “Not Welcome” Mat

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
–Proverbs 4:23

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Jordan Rubin, the author of the best-selling Christian nutrition book “The Maker’s Diet.” We were in Atlanta to appear together on the same television program, and we were sharing a cab to the television studio. As we whizzed along the freeway, I explained to Jordan a dilemma that I had to see if he had any advice. Here was my dilemma: Every winter, even before the pandemic, some well-meaning but disease-infected church member would want to communicate their warm feelings through a handshake. So I would shake their hand and then try to wash my own hand as quickly as I could. But invariably I would still catch a cold and lose my voice for a week. It happened every year. So I asked Jordan if he had any suggestions for me. He said, “Robert, the truth is you’ll never be able to prevent yourself from being attacked by germs unless you want to isolate yourself from everyone and everything. But what you can do is create an environment in your body that is inhospitable to germs. Through certain hygiene habits, diet, and exercise, you can make germs feel unwelcome in your body. When they try to gain entrance and they realize they’re not welcome, they’ll flee and set up residence in a more friendly environment.”

There is a spiritual analogy there for all of us. The fact is, we cannot prevent temptations from coming into our life. We have a powerful adversary, Satan, and his demons, who are doing everything they can to attack us from without. If that were not enough, we have a fallen nature inside of us that, even though its power has been destroyed, still stirs up temptation from within. We cannot prevent temptations from coming into our life. But we can create an atmosphere in our spiritual life that is inhospitable to sin–that is, by certain spiritual practices, we can make sure that when Satan and his demons try to tempt us, they realize they are unwelcome and they move on to someplace else. I like to call it putting out the “not welcome” mat at the entrance to your heart. Paul called it putting on the breastplate of righteousness.

In Ephesians 6:14, Paul wrote, “Stand firm therefore . . . having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” For the Roman soldier, a breastplate was essential in battle. It was a large piece of molded metal that was put over the torso to protect the soldier’s vital organs. In the same way, Paul said we need to make sure before we go into battle with the enemy that we have protection for the essential parts of our life: our mind, our hearts and our will. We need to put on the breastplate of righteousness. That is what we are going to talk about as we continue our series on spiritual warfare.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Putting Out The “Not Welcome” Mat” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org;