Sermon notes: Demolishing personal strongholds

16 11 2014

I thought I’d try something new in writing up my notes from this morning’s service today. As I was on projector I have the order of service, so I’ve put a YouTube playlist together of all the songs we had today, so if you like, you can listen to that while you read – although I think the music will take much longer to get through…!

“By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am ‘timid’ when face to face with you, but ‘bold’ towards you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be towards some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.” – 2 Corinthians 10 vv 1-6

The word stronghold is used both positively and negatively:

  • Positively: “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27v1.
    God is David’s security and protection
  • Negatively: “Wrong thought patterns and ideas, which Satan and his demons influence, and behind which they hide, that can govern or dominate individuals, communities, nations and even churches. Strongholds need to be taken, otherwise they continue that domination.” – David Devenish

Culturally consumerism is a massive stronghold. We are sent the message that holidays, clothes and leisure give us identity, provide us security, and ultimately make us happy.
These things aren’t wrong in themselves, but when good things become god things, that makes them idols.

Specific strongholds: Pride

The most effective means the devil has to keep believers from being full of the Spirit is to keep us full of ourselves.

Pride can be arrogance and self-righteousness, looking down on others and finding faults in anyone but ourselves.
Pride can also appear in those with low self-esteem. When we wallow in misery we invite pity and essentially ask people to tell us how great we are.

To demolish this stronghold we need to take each thought captive and demolish it with God’s word and prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“God opposes the proud, but shows favour to the humble.” – James 4v6.

This means recognising that we owe everything to God’s grace and mercy, that we can’t ever earn these, that we deserve judgement but Jesus has taken that for us on the cross. We don’t need to push ourselves forward in arrogance because God has given us ultimate status as His children. We don’t need to be miserable for the very same reason!

Specific strongholds: Rejection

Many people suffer from rejection from loved ones, and this damage makes it difficult to believe that God wouldn’t also reject them.

To demolish this stronghold we need to prayerfully meditate on what the bible says about God accepting us.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13v5.

If we receive Jesus as Saviour, then we can’t do anything to cause Him to reject us.

There are many other personal strongholds, for example: fear, negativity, lust, guilt, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, addiction, despair, rejection, pride, and so many more.

Psychologists say that it takes 6 weeks to make a thought pattern a habit. It’s going to take some pretty persistent prayer!

Each stronghold is a pattern of thinking which is a lie. A stronghold buster takes that lie, and lists verses to contradict it. You read these daily, renouncing the lies that the devil or our sinful nature feed us.

Maybe write a stronghold buster for a stronghold of yours with a friend who can also then keep you accountable.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12v2

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5v1

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8v36

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