In 1453 the city of Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey) was besieged by Muslim Turks. The mighty Byzantine capitol had resisted invasion for nearly a thousand years; and like the armies before them, the Turks could not break through the city’s defenses. Then one day some soldiers found a tiny entryway in the city wall that had been left unlocked and unguarded. Quickly the Turks poured through the opening and stormed the town. The last stronghold of a great empire fell, and the Muslims were in position to sweep across Europe – all because somebody left a door open.
I’ve often wondered about the fellow who was supposed to lock that door. Maybe he just forgot. Maybe he thought it was someone else’s turn. Maybe he was lazy and figured the Turks would never find that door anyway. Maybe he lost the key. In any case, his single careless act altered the course of history.
One verse of a popular hymn says, “Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul.” Perhaps the writer had in mind Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Perhaps the words were inspired by Romans 13:14: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” The thought is of utmost importance for every Christian: Don’t leave Satan any opportunity to snare your soul. Remember, one open door is all he needs.
1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” The citizens of Constantinople probably thought their city would never fall. That may have led to the very negligence that allowed it to be taken. Don’t ever forget that Satan is a crafty and powerful enemy (Ephesians 6:11-12) who has made it his mission to destroy our souls. We cannot afford to become self-righteous and overconfident; if we do, we set ourselves up to fall into the devil’s hands.
The poor fellow who left that door open at Constantinople probably paid with his life. And if we leave a door open for Satan, it can cost us our souls.