Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Stronghold Starters

I am back.  My winter was rough--I suffer from depression and have for many years.  Sometimes it gets the better of me, so I went on hiatus.  Spring has come to the mountains with wild flowers a-plenty and so I thought, Hey, it's time to blog again!  So away we go...

I have posted a lot about spiritual warfare.  I am no means an expert, but my studies have led me to ponder what allows Satan to gain a stronghold in our lives.

The word "stronghold" in Greek means "castle."  Let us consider a castle for a moment.  How do you start to build a castle?

Select a strategic area in the landscape.  Sticking a castle 20 miles way up in the hills would be useless.  You put it where you can control the surrounding area for miles around, with good views and a seemingly invincible structure to wow your enemies and comfort your people.

Excavate the land and prepare it.  Bring in local materials.  Build a strong foundation.  A castle that is wobbly or easily knocked over wouldn't be considered worth the effort.  Having the castle fall down after one or two onslaughts would be a waste of materials, time and labor, and would be laughable in terms of protection.

Build slow and sure.  Rome wasn't built in a day nor should a strong castle be.

Make it look intimidating.  No frou-frou.  Strong walls, tall ramparts, strong gate and lots of strategically located vantage points and attack points from which to engage and vanquish (that's the whole point, isn't it?  You don't build castles when all is peaceful) your foes.  Once vanquished, you keep them subdued with your mere presence in your castle.

You are safe inside this castle.  Your enemies do not just stroll in and you are able to survive their attacks.

Think about the Trojan War.  The Greeks attacked this city on a hill for ten years to no avail.  Then, hidden inside a peace offering of a large wooden horse to the Trojans, the Greeks finally got inside the city walls by stealth alone.  Then, once the Trojans had partied themselves into a stupor, the Greeks emerged (having waited quite a while cramped inside that horse) and BOOM! they attacked and vanquished the Trojans.

Many times we think about ourselves in Christ as dwelling in a strong citadel of His love, protection and forgiveness.  True.  But, Satan, even with us strong believers, still manages to sneak into our lives and wreak havoc.   Newer believers, despite wanting to follow Jesus, get broadsided so often that sometimes they doubt their salvation.

What is the "Trojan Horse" then?  How does Satan get into our castle and starts to erect his own?  Here are the stronghold starters and the attitudes that is contained within them (which no one sees but God and maybe you, if you are being listening to the Holy Spirit's voice):

1. Apathy/Judgement: Why should I care?

2. Knowledge: I am the smartest/most spiritual person in this place.

3. Not Forgiving: Show mercy? I don't get any.

4. Greed/Envy: I deserve more. Others? Less.

5. Insecurity/Fear/Lack of Trust: God is not reliable.  I take care of me.

6.  Lust:  I deserve to have my needs met, no matter the cost.  

7.  Doubt/Confusion:  "Did God really say..."  (Gen. 3:1)

8.  Past wounds, Physical & Mental health Challenges:  I am who they say I am.

9.  Offense/Anger/Hatred:  I only give people what they deserve.

10.  Hypocrisy/Denial:  Only my truth counts.

Now wait a minute, you might be saying, The world acts this way, but believers?  We are new creations in Christ.  He has cast such ugliness away.  

Yes, but the old nature wants to creep in, take over and the enemy of your soul is all too happy to help.  If we think we are immune to such attitudes, Satan has already established a stronghold.  What does His Word say?

"This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts." (1 John 1: 5-10)

Our pride is the way in for Satan into our lives.  Pride is the Greek soldiers hiding inside what looks to be, on the outside, respectable and Christ-like.  We appear to be a gift to others, when we are really hiding something deeper, more sinister inside.  That inner pride will someday disrupt whatever we are doing for the Lord, which is Satan's endgame.  Satan wants to render you useless to the Kingdom of God and all the while you are denying that you have any issues.

I am going to explore each of these stronghold starters.  Pride feeds each of the attitudes and then each of the attitudes feeds pride.  It's a deadly to the soul kind of exchange, and it starts very subtly.  Sometimes we are so deceived as to our own self-righteousness, (we would never call it "pride--that's what unbelievers have!) we don't notice we are compromised until we are losing our ministry, our family, maybe even the will to live.

Join me.  It's good to be back. 

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