“Stop it! Don’t do that! Don’t go any further! Let it go!”
I say these words to myself almost every day as I battle the habitual sins I have enslaved myself to in this life. After I slip up, I frequently find myself asking why I keep making these choices that I know disappoint God. I don’t know why I keep doing things I know God doesn’t want me to do when I wholeheartedly desire to please Him. When the moment comes, though, and I’m faced with the decision, nine times out of ten I fail in this one area.
I have victory in many areas of my life. In fact, most people who know me would say I am a good, solid Christian. Yet, there are a few strongholds in my life where I keep missing the mark, and this leaves me feeling beyond frustrated. I wish I could push past these strongholds and live the life I was meant to live, fulfilling my high calling to live and love like Jesus.
A stronghold is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “a fortified place.” A military term, we usually think of it as a place where enemy combatants lie in wait to terrorize and destroy us.
When we apply this term to our daily life, strongholds can take many forms. Speeding is one of mine. It is actually pretty indicative of my life. I like to live life in the fast lane, where I am making decisions, moving forward, tackling goals, and then pressing on to the next thing. This is the way I approach everything; it is my modus operandi.
So, when I am driving a car, I tend to go five to ten miles over the speed limit. Of course, I rationalize this to myself, so that in my mind I have nothing to feel guilty about. “I’m just keeping up with traffic,” I’ll tell myself, or I might say, “I’m only going a little over the speed limit. I’m not going anywhere near as fast as that guy on the motorcycle who just passed me.”
Most of the time, though, I take the passive route and avoid a guilty conscience by not thinking about it. At least, I avoid thinking about it until my wife gently reminds me of it. Yes, my habit of pushing the limits in my life shows up in my driving, and my wife prefers to drive us around as a result.
Who’s in Control?
So, why do I keep on sinning? Why have I allowed Satan to have a stronghold over this particular area of my life?
It comes down to one thing. I want to be the one in control, not just of my car and its speed, but of the steering wheel of my life. Somewhere deep down, I am holding on to a false belief that God doesn’t really want what is best for me, and that only I truly know and want what is best.
When I speed, I am refusing to give up control of my life. God’s lovingly laid out plan is for me to yield to the authorities He set in my life—in this case, the speed limit set by the government. That limit is a little too slow, too tame, and too confining for me to follow (or so I think when I’m living out that false belief).
Of course, now that I am examining this so closely, I am convicted of my sin. I repent, not only of my yielding to the stronghold sin habit of speeding, but of my lack of trust in and submission to my Savior. The stronghold is broken. I am now free to drive the speed limit… at least for the rest of today.
Following God and overcoming strongholds is a day-by-day decision to take up our cross, deny ourselves, and make the right choice. So tomorrow, I will recommit to walking in obedience.
You Try It
Which strongholds have you in their grip right now?
Have you slowed down long enough to identify them on a sheet of paper?
How would life be different for you if you chose to overcome those recurring patterns of sin?
What are you doing about it today?
Please, write to me and let me know. I would be happy to stand with you as you allow God to break down that stronghold for you. All things are possible with God.
Standing with you,