Every man battles with strongholds in his life that prevent him getting closer with God. These obstacles that satan places in front of us not only distract us from living the life that Christ wants for us but can be addictive. In his book, Demolishing Strongholds, Johnny Hunt identifies strongholds men face and presents us with ways we can overcome these things that get in our way.
The Battle for Your Mind
Satan would rather you think wrong than do wrong, because if you do wrong, you realize it and might want to get right. Prolonged reading and study of God’s word; helps expose the sins you are tempted with, you gain God’s viewpoint, once a sinful thought enters your mind the only way to displace it, is by studying God’s word. Finally, by putting your attention to God’s word, you are saying He is mightier than the power of sin. It is a matter of personal choice and our choices make all the difference in the world.
Dangerous relationships can deceive you. Bad company has a tendency to corrupt good morals. Anyone who hangs around with wise individuals will see some of their wisdom rub off on them, and anyone who spends a lot of time with fools will end up in the gutter. Billy Graham had a rule to never dine or spend time alone with any other woman than his wife. Many well intentioned meetings or conversations with the opposite sex will eventually lead to thoughts and attractions that end up being of a sinful nature.
The Distraction of Attraction
Attractions that often become strongholds are; bigger career, greener grass, specific personal weakness, money, pride, power, sex, corporate clout, titles, and notoriety. Paul says once sins gets a hold of you, it will never be satisfied where it is. Sin is never satisfied. It will always want to take more. That’s what drugs, alcohol, gambling, porn do. That’s the normal progression. Only when we become eager slaves of Christ, only when we willingly submit the members of our body to His Lordship will we win this battle. Only then will we teardown the strongholds that threaten to annihilate us. We have to focus on three things; Renew my faith. Reclaim God’s promises. Resolve to correct unhealthy habits and build new ones.
The Rationalization of Temptation
Don’t blame me. God made this way. Satan wants you to think I’m struggling with this, but I can’t tell my brother about it. He wouldn’t understand, I’m too ashamed (pride). There is no temptation, no sin that is so great, no man has ever done it before. We can’t escape sin. Prayer: “Help me God in the name of Jesus, to never become desensitized to sin. Remind me daily to remember that I have a spiritual enemy who wants more than anything to tempt me into sinning and thereby dishonor You and bring reproach on myself as one of Your children.”
The Devil Desires to Have You
No matter how many temptations Satan offers you, his ultimate intention is to ruin you. Your destruction is his highest priority. He is aggressively pursuing damnation of your soul. The devil is a killer and the father of lies. Whenever someone stands up says the Bible says… The devil immediately replies, Oh that’s not what God said at all. How arrogant to think that your interpretation is the only one. Satan does not mind if you live a good life, just so long as he gets your soul in hell.
Sex: The Drama of Seduction
Adultery and pornography are sins that have long lasting effects once the act is committed. Satan uses this sexual carnage to ruing many Christian men. The divorce rate runs pretty much the same within the church, as those marriages that are not of a Christian nature. According to a recent survey, 77% of Christian men have admitted to looking at pornography at one time or another. God didn’t put the wall of marriage around sex to rob us of good times, but to increase the pleasure of sex within the confines of marriage.
Money: The Lure of Greed
Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil and caused many good people to sin. Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy: Money in and of itself is neither good nor evil. It is in fact a tool, one we can use for good (caring for others and our family, mission work, supporting worthy ministries) or evil (buying porn, alcohol, drugs, gambling). The Bible encourages hard work and earning and enjoying the fruits of one’s labor, but the love of money is nothing more than greed. The devil doesn’t want us to focus on something so much, as he wants us to take our focus off of something else. Giving is an effective antidote to materialism. When you become a cheerful giver, you beat back the sin of greed.
Pride: The Devil’s Sin
Pride is the greatest of sins. It usually begins before all other sins. God wants us to know while pride brings death, humility brings life. Pride is the common denominator of all sin. All sorts of sexual immorality, profanity, gossip, hatred, anger, murder, lying and greed are all rooted in some way to sinful human pride. If we don’t like being around a bragging prideful man, how do you think a holy perfect God feels about human pride. As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. If you are looking down on someone, then it stands to reason you cannot see something above you.
Weapon 1: Confess and Repent
Every time you sin, you are offending God. We are more concerned about our victory over sin, than how our sin grieves God. But confessing your sins to God is the only way you will experience true joy and peace. Broken and humble people are simply grateful to be alive. A man with a contrite heart does not blame others, instead he will take the blame himself. Earth has no sorrows, heaven cannot heal. Once you repent your sins, you will begin to see a change in your heart. You become passionate about pleasing God and going in the direction He wants you to go. Most importantly you begin to believe your soul is no longer bound for hell, but now Jesus is taking you to heaven.
Weapon 2: Learn to Receive and Give Forgiveness
Two realities that we must understand are; we are fallen people, desperately in need of grace and God loves us deeply and accepts us in Christ. When Christ died on the cross, all your sins were still in the future, not just the ones you committed after you came to faith.
Weapon 3: Don’t Let Your Sword Get Rusty
In the spiritual battle against the devil we need go into the fight fully equipped with the armor of God’s word. Obedience is the absolute key word for the Christian life, not victory. Victory comes when you obey God. Pray that God will help you obey. When God says go, that is not a suggestion, but a command. How does a Christian maintain a desire for God’s Word? By; spending time studying God’s word, eliminating sin from his life, admitting his need for God’s truth, and pursuing spiritual growth.
Weapon 4: Practice Walking in the Spirit
As Christians we are sinners saved by grace. Even as believers, sin still dwells within us-that is in our body. We still have to fight sin, but the good news is that the enemy doesn’t win nearly as much as he used to. The key is to want God to help us feel before we sin they way we feel after we sin.
Weapon 5: Lean on Your Brothers in Arms
Find a mature brother in the Lord and ask him to become your accountability partner. Find someone who is in touch with God and ask him to pray for your struggles.