February 16, 2022
Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival each Wednesday. The Apostle Paul said, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9).
For Joshua and Caleb, it took 40 years before they got to reap the promises of God. That’s a long time to wait! They lived by faith without giving up and enjoyed the blessings of a new land.
Notice their first conquest upon entering the land: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30).
Those walls of Jericho were so formidable! This place was like a mighty fortress, an impenetrable stronghold, blocking them from the blessings of God.
The plan given to Joshua for the destruction of Jericho was not your normal military strategy. You can read in Joshua 5:13-15. It wasn’t humanly advisable, but it was God’s plan. When they obeyed God, the walls came tumbling down.
These walls required divine intervention. Human power was not enough. The Israelites were small in number and weak in comparison to their enemies. They had no means of scaling the high walls of Jericho. But they had God who was more than enough.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).
This needs to be our mindset!
What wall or stronghold needs to be destroyed in your life? With some it is a constant overshadowing anxiety that robs all the joy of life. It may possibly be a person who consistently causes fear or dread. It may be a long-standing temptation that seems impossible to overcome. It could be an anger issue, an eating disorder, a self-image problem, or a trust matter. As you realize, the list of possibilities is long.
But what should we do? Do we just grit our teeth and intensify our efforts?
I don’t think this is the answer. This is the way of the flesh. As our verse says, our weaponry is from God. It takes divine power to overthrow strongholds.
Let’s consider three useful and functional practices in overcoming strongholds.
Firstly, call it out! Name the problem. Identify what is lifting itself above you and seeking to control you. Our verse says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God.” It could be anything that has mastery over your thoughts and brings you into sin.
When you say it, the problem is identified and delineated in your mind. The ambiguity is removed and clarity is the result.
Secondly, confess it! Our heavenly Father is committed to a vibrant healthy relationship with all of His children. He knows we sin and the work of Christ has made provision for us in keeping us in a fellowship with God.
If this fellowship is going to be maintained, we need to bring our sins to Him and confess them. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Don’t sidestep it. Don’t minimize it. Don’t rationalize it. Just confess it!
Confessing sin to God is important, but so is confessing sin to one another. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).
God expects us to live in community. This is why it is so important to surround yourself with people who truly care about you. Bringing hidden things to light is not an easy thing to do. Especially for a quiet introvert type personality, but it is necessary.
When you are open with trusted friends and being held accountable by them, it gives you the added edge for success.
A few weeks ago one of the men in our men’s study suggested that when we pray, instead of praying for each other as we usually did, that we pray for ourselves. Wow, was that ever eye opening!
If you are going to pray for yourself you have to give voice to your weaknesses. It was not easy, but it was so good. It was good for me to voice some of my inward struggles and it was also good for the others to hear what my needs are.
Thirdly, claim it! Claim the victory in Jesus' name! Once sin is identified and confessed, then we invite the Holy Spirit to take control. We seek the help of God in overcoming. We lean into Him. We receive His strength. We walk in His might.
When writing to the Ephesian church, Paul said, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).
There is power in the name of Jesus! As we rely on His strength, as Israel did at Jericho, we, like them, can blow the trumpets of triumph, and our Jericho-walls will come tumbling down.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel