Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phillippians 3:12-14
The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the town! Joshua 6:16
This week in Second Mile Pastor John shared some amazing truths, especially on the idea that leaders should have the spirit of push through. One of the cool things he said was that you can either push through to the top of the mountain or you can fall back down into the valley and allow life to overtake you. I want to talk on a subject that Pastor John alluded to, and that is the idea of strongholds in our lives.
A good definition of a stronghold is anything that is an attitude, habit, an emotional scar, a relationship or anything that can keep you from moving on in God’s purpose for your life. A snare or slippery slope to keep you from moving forward. Back in the Medieval times they would use strongholds to guard cities and to keep a waring nation out. The spiritual warfare is the same accept you have allowed the enemy to set up a stronghold in the middle of your backyard. Now I wish I can blame Satan for the strongholds in my life, but I can’t. To quote a new Casting Crowns song called My Own Worst Enemy:
God, help me get away
Break the chains and set me free
From the other side of me
I am my own worst enemy
I caught a glimpse in my rearview mirror
Of an old familiar face
Blurry image coming in clearer
Of a past I can’t erase
I could’ve sworn I put him in the ground
But looks like he’s found his way out
The interesting thing about strongholds is you cannot take one alone. In fact when they wanted to take a stronghold in earlier times, they would set up for a siege and try to starve them out. Once they opened up the gate, then the enemy was there to storm it. That strategy would take months or even years depending on how much provision they had in the stronghold. The other choice was direct attack. They would use catapults with large stones and also archers to soften the defenders, then storm the walls. Now how long do you think you would last if it was just you with a sword and shield going against a bunch of dudes behind a stone wall throwing everything they had at you. Not very long. It’s the same way in our spiritual warfare. The enemy wants us to be alone, then he can continue control over our own backyard.
How do we get this enemy out of our backyard? You might be thinking, “well I have God and God can do all things.” Which is true, you do have God, but you also have allowed the enemy to set up shop in your backyard. God loves us so much that He gave us a free will of our own. Sometimes God will remove the stronghold right away, but most times He will want us to use the best strategy and that is direct attack with brothers and sisters in Christ. The wisdom of this is that you really don’t learn much about yourself and others if it’s miraculously taken away. God wants us to use godly men and women to storm the stronghold in your life. Some of the strategies the enemy will use is fiery darts. They not only pierce skin, but burn you. This would be fear. Fear of sharing your pain with someone else. He will tell you, you will look foolish and not as put together as you portray. He will use hot burning oil to keep you from climbing the wall. Shame would be a great example of that. Shame and fear go together well to keep us from getting over the wall.
So, how do we destroy the stronghold and be able to shout like Joshua did in the above verse? By the way Joshua did not do it alone either when he faced the walled city of Jericho. He had to use people to get the job done. The first thing we need to do is to pray for God to show us the people that He wants us to choose as our own Peter, James and John. Then share your story with them and what you are going through and I promise you if they are God appointed they will love you and pray for you and get you to the point of taking down the stronghold.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16
James said it so right and it’s so true. I only tell you this because I have experienced this first hand. The push through to finish the stronghold is to surround ourselves with godly loving people that won’t judge or care what you did, but will love you and pray for you. It’s come as you are to Jesus, we all have things in our lives that need to be taken out. A godly individual will have this wisdom within them because they have the Holy Sprint there showing them how to love others the way God loves us all. Don’t let shame or fear keep you from the future God has planned for you. Push through the strongholds one at a time in your life and you will be amazed at His grace and favor that He has for you. You know God always has good plans for you.