Strongholds…Satan builds them so innocently without us evening knowing it.
Like the proverbial “frog in the boiling kettle.” Once the stronghold is identified (and this only comes from honest inpsection of our lives through the light of the Holy Spirit), we must sincerely ask the Lord to show us the depth of the sin so that we may kill it. Pulling up a weed without yanking out the roots with it is useless. We know it will come back. But, how do we deal with sin? It’s as almost as if we treat God like a kid’s vending machine at Wal-Mart and we want to put in a quarter and get back what we want…an easy fix. Somehow we have cheapened our walk and are serving God only for what He can do for us. What did He do for us? He has delivered mankind from sin. He can deliver us from our sin…our strongholds. But, are you willing to truly look into your soul and see the blackness of the sin and then expose it? Ephesians 5 tells us that “everything exposed by the light becomes visible and by the light everything is made visible. This is why it is said, ‘Wake up O sleeper and rise from the dead and let Christ shine on you.'”
Here is the issue and the problem it that far too many Christians are concerned about being “happy.” I hear so many say these words…”All I want is just to be happy.” We become almost blind to the stronghold and we grow desirous of the world’s lie of “happiness.” Do you know what, (this will be hard to hear), but the truth is that perhaps you have not died to yourself and perhaps you have never truly experienced the joy of God, the purpose and the meaning in your life that He longs for you to have. As long as you and your “happiness” is on the throne of your life, you will never know complete freedom and joy in Christ and there will be a nagging emptiness in your life.
Please understand…God made you for His glory…not yours. He made you for His happiness and pleasure and you will only know true happiness (joy) and pleasure when you surrender to Christ and give Him your complete life…nothing held back. Until you put Jesus Christ on the throne of your life…you will never have joy…you will never have meaning and you will float through life aimlessly like a ship without a rudder.
Jesus calls us to take up or cross…to deny ourselves…to turn the other cheek, walk the second mile…to store up treasures in heaven, to value our bodies as his temple, to love our enemies to separate ourselves from this world. To be in it, but not of it. To NOT be empty…Jesus has to be first. If He isn’t…I promise you…He politely goes to the back of the line.
Read carefully these words of God through His servant Paul. Remember them twice if you need to. (Ephesians 1:17-20): 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.
We have the power of the resurrected Christ living in us…the Holy Spirit Himself…the third person of the Trinity. We have an obligation to live for Jesus, if you name His name as Lord and Savior. Paul tells us in Romans 8:12-14:
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Are you being led by the Spirit of God? If so, you are to kill the evil in your life. I am to ask God if there are any strongholds in my life. I am deceitfully wicked and I look back over my life and see my own self deception through the years. Do you?
We’ve got to get rid of the sin. Kill it. We must get serious about putting Jesus first. James 1:21-25: 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
I will be brutally honest. Most of us are just “listeners” to the Word and not “doers.” We’ve deceived ourselves and I’m afraid we’re simply lying to ourselves. Our human heart is so deceitful and corrupt that we don’t even know that we’re blind and deceitful?
Do you know what the real problem is? JESUS IS NOT EVERYTHING TO US. I love the song of the group Avalon entitled, “Everything to Me.”
Everything to me.
He’s more than a story.
More than words on a page of history.
He’s the air that I breathe.
The Water I thirst for,
And the ground beneath my feet,
Oh, He’s everything…everything to me.
Jesus is pursuing a relationship with you. He is determined to pursue you because He knows the greatest joy in your life will come from His plan for you. Ephesians 2:8-10 tell us:
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God has built in you a desire for Himself…an intimacy with Him. He fashioned and formed the earth to be inhabited by mankind so He could reveal His glory to man.
Dear friends, God has given you a gift…It’s called salvation and it was given to you and to me because God had mercy and grace on us. He loved us so much that He butchered His own Son on a Roman cross to satisfy the penalty of our sins so we could have life.
Jesus died to give you life so that you could do good works which he prepared in advance for you to do. That means your life has purpose. When are you going to start living like a Christian? When are you going to seek Jesus and get into Him (in His Word) and discover His plan for you? When are you going to stop living by the patterns of this world and truly get broken over your sin? When are you going to quit living a mediocre, aimless and empty Christian life and finally step out of the rut you’ve been living in? Dear friend, when is Jesus going to become your everything? When He does…your emptiness will be gone. You will plug into and have the resurrection power of Jesus Christ operating in your life and you will have the power to overcome anything. Don’t allow a stronghold to dominate your life. Give Jesus Christ your life…100%. Trust Him with your emptiness and you will be filled. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” The choice is yours…and mine…filled with Christ or emptiness…