This is an old post, redacted from August 2005. I'm reposting it today because:
1. It fits in with Sheila Gregoire's wonderful weekly theme theme of a complaint-free week. Though this post doesn't speak directly about complaining, it does talk about where all kinds of negative speech and action spring from - our thoughts.
2. I need to read it again!
One thing I like about going on holidays is being able to browse other people’s book shelves. Matt and Sonia have some real treasures on theirs. In fact, they being family and all, I felt free to borrow one of their books, Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. I also borrowed the Study Guide. I knew, after browsing a few pages, I would benefit from them.
I’ve always liked watching Joyce’s TV program. I like her practical examples and her no-nonsense attitude. The book, which I read while we were on the road, is the same. It is built on the premise that who we are and how we live are determined first by our thoughts. She says in the introduction:
The mind is the leader or forerunner of all actions....Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. If we have a negative mind, we will have a negative life. If on the other hand, we renew our mind according to God’s Word we will, as Romans 12:2 promises, prove out in our experience “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” for our lives.
In the last couple of days I’ve spent some time reviewing Chapter 1 and doing the questions in the study guide. A section of that chapter deals with ‘strongholds’ based on its use in 2 Corinthians 10:4,5. (For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds. - Amplified). Strongholds are also translated “fortresses” in the NASB and “barriers” in the Message Bible.
J.M. defines a stronghold as “an area in which we are held in bondage (in prison) due to a certain way of thinking.”
Here my NKJV Holy Spirit Life Bible turned the light on for me in a little sidebar article called “Pulling Down Strongholds”:
Strongholds are first established in the mind/ that is why we are to take every thought captive. Behind a stronghold is also a lie – a place of personal bondage where God’s Word has been subjugated to any unscriptural idea or personally confusing belief that is held to be true. Behind every lie is a fear and behind every fear is an idol. Idols are established wherever there exists a failure to trust in the provisions of God that are ours through Jesus Christ.
(Oh my - that brings it dangerously close to home!)
Joyce, in Chapter 1, gives a fictitious example of how strongholds look and how they might be established. John and Mary are married. Mary is bossy and controlling. John is passive and avoids taking responsibility. Of course their marriage is in trouble.
She explains how their attitudes and habitual ways of responding are the result of things that happened to them early in life and without their permission – things like (Mary) being verbally and physically abused by a tyrannical father and vowing never to put herself in such a vulnerable position again and (John) not being able to gain his mother’s approval and deciding he isn’t worth much. (Of course this is simplified – there was much more.)
I immediately began casting about for what my strongholds may be. It didn’t take me long to come up with five. There are probably more!
So, how does one demolish these strongholds?
My Bible sidebar article continues:
“Some of the weapons that pull down these strongholds are: God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12,13), the blood of the Cross (Rev. 12:11) and the name of Jesus (Mark 16:17).
These “weapons” are the Word received through preaching, teaching, books, tapes, seminars and private Bible study....Two other spiritual weapons available to use are praise and prayer. Praise defeats the devil quicker than any other battle plan, but it must be genuine heart praise, not just lip service or a method being tried to see if it works. Also, praise and prayer both involve the Word. We praise God according to His Word and His goodness.”
(In the Study Guide, Joyce makes another telling comment about praise: “Praise and worship are really a battle position! They confuse the enemy...”)
So I’ve listed my strongholds, and now I’m searching the Bible for what God says about these issues. I will write down those verses on file cards and start putting them in my head – and hopefully my heart. I want to pull down these forts. I want to be free!
Jesus: If you abide in My word you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31,32
(The sand sculptures are from last year's (2004) sand castle competition at Harrison B.C.)