I love the phrase, Do not give the devil a foothold (v. 27, NIV).
Most change in the world happens foothold by foothold. History is told in big stories, big events, heroic actions. Oskar Schindler saved 1,200 Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Rosa Parks refused to take a seat at the back of the bus and ignited a movement. We hardly ever get to hear about the tiny actions that shaped the hero’s character before the big public moment—a tough decision here, an inspiring word there, a small sacrifice, a moment of discipline. If we think about it though, we know that no one leaps to the top of the mountain. Greatness is a climb, foothold by foothold.
The devil also does his devious work foothold by foothold—a little bitterness here, a rage that simmers in the background, a hateful joke that gets a good laugh, a bit of slanderous gossip that helps us fit in with the crowd. We don’t sell our souls in one dramatic lapse of bad judgment at the crossroads. We sell them piece by piece, ounce by ounce.
This is cause for both caution and hope. Caution because we need to be aware of those moment-by-moment actions that give the devil a foothold. Hope because however far we have climbed in the wrong direction, we can always start climbing back, foothold by foothold.
Think about your last 24 hours. What steps are you glad you took? Which ones would you like to take back?
God, guide each step we take. Help us climb, foothold by foothold, toward the purpose you have for us. Amen.