Monday, November 2, 2009

The Promised Land - Breaking Down Personal Strongholds

Series on The Promised Land

1. Send Out a Spy

As we saw last time, the first step to defeating the enemy of God’s people, as Moses had done, and then Joshua once he succeeded him, is by first sending out spies to determine how well they are fortified in the land.

Our personal enemies lie deep within our hearts and only one Man can go there. Only one Man has the vision to spy out that land, and He is the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Holy Spirit has always known your heart and is waiting for the appropriate moments to reveal to you the enemies that lurk within.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart..” (Jeremiah 17:9-10a)

What are the enemies that can stand between a believer and his or her ability to enter into a promised land - a land where the believer is free to fully love God and be loved by Him; a land where nothing keeps the believer from following Him and serving Him in whatever way God calls him; a land that is free from the bondage of sin; a land that is flowing with the fruits of the Spirit that abound from your thriving and intimate walk with Him?

There are many enemies that we contend with in these weak vessels of ours. These are but a few:

“For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15)

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8)

So what are the enemies of your heart? Has God revealed them to you? If you listen closely, He will tell you. God has been revealing my enemies to me. I’ve had a glimpse of them before, but I am getting closer to my Promised Land, and the Lord daily comes to me with increasingly detailed reports regarding my enemies. My enemies have lurked in this land almost all my life, and their strongholds have become very fortified over the years.

But they’ve seen that my Spy has revealed their existence, so their assaults have increased to try to entice me to attack them in the flesh – and I’ve tried that, and lost many battles. But the war is not over.

2. Choose to Retreat or Move Forward

Just as the Israelites believed that the enemy was too great for them to defeat, my carnal mind and my flesh see no way to drive these enemies out. But one Man says we can. Now, I have two choices: 1. I can follow the loud voices that say, “No, I can’t drive out those enemies, they are too strong and too fortified for me." And at this point, I can grumble, like the Israelites did, that it would be better if I had stayed in Egypt, otherwise known as the world apart from God; or 2. I can follow the one, still, small Voice, who says, “Yes, We are able to overcome it” and move forward.  Because I know the blessing is not in Egypt, but it is in walking with Christ, I’m going to follow that Voice and move forward in faith. Will you?

3. Enlist Troops

Once the enemies have been identified, the next step to waging war against them is to enlist troops. Troops in the army of God consist of our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. God has formed us to be one body for many purposes, and one of those is so that we can support one another as we fight the enemy. Ask other believers to pray for you as you enter in to this very difficult process of bringing down your strongholds.

4. Cut Off the Enemy 

The next step to fighting the enemy is to cut off their supplies of food and weapons. One way that armies would do this is by constructing a wall around the city to be seiged.

The first city that was destroyed by the Israelites in their quest of taking the Promised Land was the city of Jericho. Do you remember the way they built a wall around the city of Jericho before they attacked it? It wasn’t a physical wall, but they surrounded the city with trumpet blasts both announcing their intent to battle and their resolution to victory, along with the Ark of the Covenant – the presence of God.

We will only see victory in the pulling down of our strongholds when we are walking with the Lord and being obedient to Him. The order to march around the city of Jericho once each day for six days while blasting on trumpets and then to march around seven times on the seventh day and then giving a loud shout must have seemed strange warfare indeed, both to the Israelites and to their enemies. God may also ask us to do something that to our reasoning minds may seem strange or even impossible.

For example, if your stronghold is fear, you can feed the fear by running from whatever God wants you to do that you’re afraid to, or you can cut off its food source by praying through the fear and asking God for the strength to follow through. If we’re obedient to what He calls us to do, He will be with us and the victory will be ours.

5. Wage War in the Power of God

Walk with the Lord through the process of breaking down your strongholds through prayer and reading His Word. Those strongholds have been built with lies and we need the truth in God’s Word to refute them.

Another suggestion I’d like to make is to fast for period of time.

“And He (Jesus) entering into a house, His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why could we not cast him out?’ And He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer and fasting.’” (Mark 9:28-29)

Now, I realize that in these verses (which is just one scriptural reference to fasting among many) Jesus is talking about prayer and fasting in order to cast out a demon, and I am in no way suggesting that strongholds are demons, nor can a believer and follower of Jesus Christ be indwelt by a demon. Although I do believe satan loves it when we allow our strongholds to remain firmly in place. What I am saying is that there are times in our Christian walks when we are facing difficult decisions or impossible situations, such as the breaking down of strongholds, when we need to get alone with God and be still before Him. The type of fast and length of time is between you and the Lord. But when we use that time to focus our priorities and attentions on the Lord for the purpose of hearing from Him and allowing Him to do the work necessary in our hearts, we can become one in purpose with Him and His Spirit will be strengthened in our lives. 

If you are struggling with a stronghold and need someone to pray for you, please do not hesitate to email me by clicking on my little postcard over in the sidebar. I would consider it an honor.

God bless.

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Thanks for sharing!