His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.
Why did Paul command us to put on the breastplate of righteousness? Because the fourth way righteousness, or obedience to God, protects us is from Satan’s further entrance into our lives. Whenever I am counseling with a Christian who is battling a strong addiction, or who is involved in an immoral relationship that he cannot break free of, or whose life is filled with doubts about God and the Bible, I am always reminded of C. S. Lewis’s words. Lewis wrote, “The safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
When Satan wants to gain entrance into your life, he does not wage a full-scale assault on your mind and heart and claim victory immediately. He is too clever for that. Instead, he looks for an opening into your life. He is looking for a compromise, a rationalization of sin. Satan knows if he can get you to compromise the first time, it makes is much easier to compromise the second time and the third time and the fourth time. Maria Edgeworth put it this way: “The diminutive chains of habit . . . are scarcely ever heavy enough to be felt, till they are too strong to be broken.” Proverbs 5:22 says, “He will be held with the cords of his sin.”
Let me illustrate that for you. If I take a string and wrap it once or even twice around my fingers, I can get free very easily from it. It has no hold on me. I barely notice the string is there. But if I take that string and continue to wrap it around my hand, it gradually begins to control my hand until I can no longer just shake that string loose. In the same way, the first inappropriate conversation with somebody else’s mate makes the second conversation that much easier. The first five minutes spent on an inappropriate internet site makes the next five minutes that much easier. The first time taking an item that is not mine from my business makes taking the second item that much easier. The first time forfeiting my time alone with God in order to watch TV makes the second compromise that much easier. Pretty soon, I am so bound with sin that I cannot break free.
How do I keep sin from having a stranglehold on my life? By saying no the first time. That is what it means to put on the breastplate of righteousness–to stop the barbarian, Satan, at the gate before he ever gains entrance and control over your life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Stopping The Barbarian At The Gate” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
C. S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters” (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), 61; Maria Edgeworth, “Moral Tales For Young People” (New York: Routledge, Warne, & Routledge, 1863), 43.
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;