Illustrating a Truth of Spiritual Strongholds
Jesus is our true stronghold, the One that we run to when threatened by sin or danger. David couldn't say enough about trusting the Lord as his powerful Protector, Provider and Pardoner.[i] Shielded by the love and mercy of the Lord, we can take our walls down, becoming like little children all over again with nothing to hide and nothing to fear. This magnificent new way of living is ours so long as we keep our spiritual eyes focused on the Lord and our hearts full of trust in Him.
However, we all know that it's not as simple as it sounds. We get tripped up by habit patterns of the old life which can rob us of our peace without a moment's notice. At the core of these patterns are emotional reactions to people and events tied to things we grew up believing, based on a) our experiences, and b) our own (faulty) understanding. Believing truth always works to set us free,[ii] but the negative emotions that so often ensnare us spring up from deep beliefs within us which seemed true at the time. However, they don't match up with what Jesus now shows us to believe.
Such habit structures of the heart don't disappear just because we gave our life to Christ. Like ancient strongholds, they were built stone by stone and are pulled down the same way--one false belief at a time. Counterfeit strongholds are un-surrendered, un-healed or un-crucified areas of the old nature or Self-life. They rise up and resist the Spirit-given life--also called the life of the Spirit, Christ's life, or the life of the new creation in us.
Self-protection and self-promotion built and maintain them, aided by the lies and temptations of the enemy. We are to resist these strongholds of the flesh by pulling them down. The walls we built may make us feel secure at times, but they trap us inside loveless strongholds always. Let's do some holy demolition!
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 ESV
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV
Father, I have lived inside the walls of my strongholds for so long they have become a part of me. I hardly know how to begin taking them down. But I do want to find out what life in Your Kingdom is like on the other side of these walls. I desire that childlike life of simplicity and trust. So, I ask You to help me take down all of my strongholds stone by stone, untruth by untruth, and rebuild with Your truths the godly walls of love, mercy, faith and grace around the renewed heart You are giving me. What I can't tear down, will You? Come charge my walls! Send, allow, withhold. Do whatever it takes so that our two hearts can meet and live as one--in this life.
[i] Psalms 18:2: The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
[ii] John 8:31-32: So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
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