Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Exposing Strongholds

When we are in need, when we are in trouble, when we are in pain, when we sin, when we are under attack in any way--God's desire always is that we rely upon Him, turning to Him in prayer, calling upon other believers to pray for us, asking for help in practical and spiritual ways, speaking out against injustice, being bold.

Our "normal" reaction, sad to say, is to do what the first man and woman did in the Garden of Eden.  We hide.  And, having hidden, when the Lord seeks us out, we lie.  God immediately and continuously confronts us in our lie.  He pushed Adam and Eve out of the Garden.  He exposed Cain.  He brings truth and light.  This is an opportunity to be free and joyful once more.

Will you allow God to see you as you are?  Or will you retreat even further into lies and coverups?  if that is your choice you lock yourself into a "stronghold," a fortress of deceit and death.  God still does not give up on you, he "stands at the door and knocks."  He continues to offer his grace and forgiveness.  He offers opportunities to repent every day.  He says, "Come Out!  Be Open!  Live!  Be Real!"

How can you recognize a stronghold in your life?  Defensiveness is one clue.  When you are challenged do you consider whether your challenger is speaking the truth, or do you immediately reject it?  Immediate rejection of criticism is one sign of a stronghold.  Addictions and unhelpful habits are another.  If you are repeatedly doing something that harms you or others in any way, whether the harm is physical, financial, emotional--when you hurt yourself or your future--or when you lash out against others, that could point you toward some aspect of your life that you are guarding.

One spiritual stronghold that has only recently been revealed to me consists in how quick people try to make themselves feel better by spending money on things they do not need.  People impoverish themselves in this way.  Truly this is the devil's work.  It needs to be exposed for what it is.

O my people, come to the light!  Do not hide.  Come out and be free!  Come and call for experienced Christian friends or neighbors to pray for you.  Confessing your sins you will receive the forgiveness bought for us by our Lord Jesus Christ.  Speaking the truth about how you have been injured you will receive healing.  And the Holy Spirit will give you new life.

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