“…do not give the devil an opportunity.... Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”.
You may have heard of investors who ‘flip houses’. The buyer will acquire a distressed property, make repairs and cosmetic upgrades, and sell for a profit. The concept is popular enough to warrant its own television reality show. “Flip This House” used to air each Saturday on A & E.
Today I will ‘Flip This Text’. I acquired a couple of verses and combined them with my distressed soul. I changed them around a bit, and put them back on the market for my spiritual profit. Stay tuned...
The larger passage, Ephesians chapter 4, is packed with sound advice and practical insights for successful daily Christian living:
- walking worthily
- preserving unity
- living peaceably
- speaking truthfully
- controlling anger
- resisting theft
- working hard
- talking well
- overcoming bitterness
- refusing slander
- acting kind
- forgiving others
When we fail to perform the above we “give the devil an opportunity” and “grieve the Holy Spirit of God”. In both cases the writer Paul says, “Do not” do that.
We know what not to do. Flipping the passage to say the same thing from a positive angle, we learn exactly what to do. Reverse the structure of both commands and convert the negative to achieve the same message positively. By substituting “the devil” with “the Holy Spirit of God” and removing “not”, we get…
‘Do grieve the devil and
Do give the Holy Spirit of God an opportunity!’
May I “grieve” the devil deeply because I gave ample “opportunity” to his competitor of my soul, the Holy Spirit, to work on me instead.
James, a New Testament writer like Paul, had a similar idea. He flipped the the text with the same positive results...
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
James 4.7-8a NASU
Nick Anderson is an editorial cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle and archives political cartoons from readers on his blog at http://blogs.chron.com/nickanderson/. I found the cartoon posted on Nick's blog. It was drawn by Kip Hurley of Bismark, North Dakota on 2/7/07.