Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why can I write what I can't say...

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have the divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Spiritual battles are being waged in our lives. Including my family, my friends and fellow believers. Who is prepared to deal with it? We know there are obstacles keeping us from having more intimacy with God, but we are in the dark about how to recognize and conquer them. These obstacles are often spiritual strongholds.
What is a stronghold? The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, explained it in 2 Corinthians 10:5. A stronghold is any argument or pretension that "sets itself up against the knowledge of God." The wording in the King James Version draws a clearer image of a stronghold: "every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God." A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, "pretending" to be bigger or more powerful than our God. It steals much of our focus and causes us to feel overpowered, controlled and mastered. Whether a stronghold is an addiction, unforgiveness or despair over a loss, it is something that consumes so much of our emotional and mental energy that abundant life is strangled—our callings remain largely unfulfilled and our believing lives are virtually ineffective. These are the enemy's precise goals.
Where is the battlefield? In any warfare waged by the enemy against the individual believer, the primary battlefield is the mind. The goal of our warfare as stated in 2 Corinthians 10:5 is to steal back our thought life and take it captive to Christ instead. The enemy's chief target is the mind because the most effective way to influence behavior is to influence thinking. Our minds are the control centers of our entire beings. The enemy knows far better than we do that nothing is bigger or more powerful than God. That's why everything that "exalts itself" in our thought life is called a "pretension." Satan is a pretender. He can only pretend because he lost all rights to presume authority over the believer's life when Christ, "having disarmed the powers and authorities,...made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Col. 2:15). Unfortunately, Satan is very good at convincing us to believe his pretensions because he has had so much experience.
Repeat after me: nothing is bigger or more powerful than God! Absolutely nothing! Not even the strongest addiction or feeling of rage. The weapons described in 2 Cor. 10:3-5—those that are not of the world, that have divine power, that are associated with the knowledge of God, and that help us take our thoughts captive to Christ—help us downsize anything that has a hold on us until we have, in effect, commanded it to bend the knee to the authority of Christ. Spirit-led prayer and the Word of God, especially when combined, are our most effective weapons to demolish spiritual strongholds.

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