DAY 15 - THE INNER-MAN: STRONGHOLDS
As we identify blindspotsin our lives, we are preparing to be strengthened in the inner-man. Keep up the good work - You're doing great! But there is another area we must look at if we are going to drop the weight that loads us down and experience the spiritual freedom we long for. That area is STRONGHOLDS.
A stronghold could possibly be a blindspot, an issue you simply don't see -OR- it could be a sin; a problem, you've been struggling to overcome. Strongholds do not belong in your life, and God will be removing them as you hear His voice and quietly surrender them to Him.
WHAT IS A STRONGHOLD?
The word "Stronghold" was first used in the Old Testament. When the nation of Israel conquered the Promised Land, they displaced peoples and nations more powerful than themselves. God told the nation of Israel to utterly destroy all of the people who had previously inhabited the land. This may sound harsh, but the tribes that lived there had performed vile rituals, including infant sacrifices, for centuries. Unfortunately, the leaders of Israel disobeyed Jehovah’s orders. Although they conquered many powerful and well-defined cities, they left some heavily fortified places. These areas were called, strongholds. These strongholds were pockets of resistance – areas they allowed to remain. Some of these strongholds were well-defended cities. The city of Jerusalem, for example, remained out of Israel’s control for several hundred years. In other cases, the strongholds were small desert hideouts for small bands of marauders. In every case, the strongholds caused endless misery, bloodshed, and heartache, eventually bringing Israel to defeat.
In the New Testament, stronghold is used to refer to areas in our lives not fully under Christ’s control.
For example, In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Paul writes, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (NKJ)
Like the people of Israel, we are engaged in warfare, but we are not fighting with our will power and personal resources only. We use powerful God-given weapons, like the truth of His Word and insights provided by His Spirit. His weapons have the power to set people free and bring them fully under Christ’s Lordship.
WHAT DOES A STRONGHOLD LOOK LIKE?
When we receive Christ and surrender our lives to Him, there are almost always areas not yet completely controlled by Him. Although we sincerely seek to follow Christ with all our hearts, there are hurts, habits or long-standing attitudes that still need Christ’s healing and freedom. Sometimes, the strongholds are tiny pockets of resistance. At other times, they are long-standing fortified areas.
As you grow in Christ, you will probably discover sins and habits you have allowed in your life for many years. These might include bitterness and anger toward someone who hurt you, occult practices (horoscopes, fortune telling, idol worship, etc.), habits which destroy your health, addictions, fears or shame from traumatic life experiences, pornography, masturbation, or other lustful habits.
THE VICTORY IS YOURS
Even after World War 2 ended, pockets of Japanese troops continued to fight viciously. That’s similar to what goes on in a Christian’s life. The war is over, we have definitely surrendered to Christ and there’s no question about the final outcome. But pockets of resistance remain that must be captured.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57, NKJ)
As you examine your life to see where strongholds exist, realize that victory isn’t ultimately dependent on you, but upon what Jesus did for you on the cross. Victory and healing are already yours!