“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
In a blog from ten days ago I talked about strongholds and introduced the idea of “stronghold demolition projects.” When we were unbelievers, we worked with the flesh to establish strongholds of sin in our lives, but now as believers we work with the Holy Spirit to pull down these strongholds. This pulling down is what I mean by a “stronghold demolition project.”
What is the plan for “stronghold demolition?” How does the believer methodically and intentionally attack these strongholds so that we live holy lives of victory over sin? How do we “put to death” in our earthly body (Colossians 3:5) these strongholds we have previously erected?
I suggest that Step One is identifying your particular strongholds, the areas of sin in your own life to which you are especially vulnerable. While all are vulnerable to all sin, it is evident that there are certain sins to which you are especially vulnerable. What areas of sin are tempting to you, so that there are times when you can hardly resist them? Or in what unrighteous acts or unholy words do you engage without even noticing it? These are strongholds. Is lust or sexual sin a temptation for you? Do you envy other people or do you crave things that others have? Are you greedy for money or do you think about money a lot? Do you spend time worrying about money or planning for ways to get more money? Anger, fear, vicious talk, foul language, lying, laziness, addiction to pleasure, boasting, pride? There are many potential strongholds and you need to ruthlessly examine your life and discover all of sin’s strongholds. If you have a trusted Christian friend, discuss this with them and have them help you identify these areas of sin.
Once you have identified your strongholds, Step Two is developing a demolition plan for how to pull down, to break down, and to destroy those particular strongholds. Note that for all these demolition projects you will need a standard set of tools: confession, repentance, prayer, focused Bible study and accountability with another Christian, along with a commitment to persevere until the victory is won or life ends.
CONFESSION: This is agreeing with God that the specific stronghold is sin. Cry out to the Lord that you know that what you are doing is sinful and you are miserable because of it. Admit unreservedly that you are a sinner and want to be free from this sin.
REPENTANCE: This involves turning from your stronghold and making a commitment to stop doing that sin and stop NOW. In repentance you commit to doing whatever it takes to prevent the sin from happening again.
PRAYER: To demolish a stronghold, you must get the Lord’s power. Prayer calls on the Lord to come to your aid and to give you His power to resist the sin and instead to destroy all desire to sin again. Pray to the Lord to give you the power to conquer the flesh and to hunger for holiness and for righteousness.
BIBLE READING AND MEDITATION: To pull down a stronghold, saturate your mind with all that the word of God has to say about that stronghold specifically and about sin in general. The more your mind is filled with the words of Scripture, the more aggressively you will be pulling down strongholds. Reading and meditating on Scripture strengthens your spirit and increases your distaste for sin. In Psalm 51:7, David said, “Purify my with hyssop and I will be clean; Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”
ACCOUNTABILITY WITH ANOTHER BELIEVER: Find another believer whom you trust and ask them to keep you accountable on the demolition of this stronghold. That person can help you stay focused on the tasks and tactics that you need to do to gain the victory over the stronghold.
PERSEVERANCE: You must realize that, just as it took time and energy to erect these strongholds, so it will take diligence and perseverance to demolish them. Application of these tools for pulling down strongholds must persist for the long-term if there is to be victory.
THE ULTIMATE VICTORY: You will know that you have reached victory when you have built an altar to the Lord where there once stood a stronghold of sin. This is the ultimate victory, not only that you have demolished the stronghold such that there is no longer evidence of its existence in your life, but even more than that, that there is now a beautiful altar of obedience and holiness where there once stood a temple of wickedness. Saul the Pharisee, the enemy of Jesus Christ and the most self-righteous of all men, became Paul the bond-slave of Jesus Christ and became a man who sought holiness and the righteousness that is found in Jesus Christ. Just so, the believer can pull down a stronghold of sin in their life and in its place erect an altar to the Lord. This is the victory that we can have in Christ. SDG rmb 10/11/2015