Do you ever open your Bible and BAM…there it is…a passage you know you are supposed to read? The words seem to come alive and jump off the page saying, “Read me!!”
This doesn’t happen to me all the time, but it happens often enough. It’s one of the things I love about reading God’s Word the most. I know it is one of the main ways He communicates with me to either lead me in a certain direction, answer an uncertainty, or provide a confirmation. When this happens, it’s not uncommon for me to feel the rise of goosebumps on my arms and a flash of excitement run through me.
It is utterly humbling and awesome to know that the God of the universe speaks to us…all of us if we listen.
This morning was one of those mornings. It was early, around 5:30 a.m. I had just sat down in the corner chair of my home office. I was sipping my coffee and settling in for a little quiet time to start the day off. I know I talk about my early mornings A LOT, so I apologize if this is redundant! My morning time is SO sacred to me though. It is often when I feel God’s presence the most. The rest of my family is still asleep, ha-ha even the dogs, and I can just sit alone…just me and God, and let my soul be nurtured and rejuvenated.
I HIGHLY recommend some early morning time with God. It is time not wasted.
I opened my Bible and found myself in Second Corinthians, chapter 10. Immediately, I saw several verses that were already lined and starred from a previous time spent reading here. I skimmed the lines, and instantly knew I had been intended to read those verses again.
“The weapons we fight with are not of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
“Divine power to demolish strongholds.” Yes, this resonated with me immediately.
I’ve been working hard to get rid of the strongholds in my life. The things that have held me captive and kept me from reaching my God-given potential. Things like anxiety, depression, fear, guilt, shame, and glass half empty thinking…just to name a few. 😊
I’ve also been working hard to let go of the strongholds of deep trauma. Things like PTSD and waiting for the other shoe to drop on a consistent basis. I have identified some pretty unhealthy thought patterns. Thoughts like, “When is the next bad thing going to happen??”, “Life is going so well, when will it fall apart?”, “You can’t do that…you’re not smart enough or equipped enough…you’re outside of your skillset.”
Each of these thoughts (and there are many more) have one thing in common. FEAR. At the root of each one of them is fear.
What I have come to realize is I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about what will go wrong, and the more people I talk with and/or coach, the more I see this is a very common mindset. I believe many of us are walking around with fear-based thinking. Worrying and often ruminating about things that could possibly go wrong. THIS IS A STRONGHOLD.
According to one biblical online reference, strongholds are set up primarily in the heart and the ultimate root of any stronghold is damage to our identity.
This makes total sense to me, especially if I look at the very things that have set up camp in my own heart and altered my identity. Fear can do this very thing. It can set up camp not only in your heart, but in every facet of your life. It can skew your perspective, and it can one hundred percent, alter your identity and personification.
Can you identify? Are there strongholds in your heart? Of course, there are because we ALL have them, in some shape or form. Fear is just one example. Some other examples are substance abuse, food addiction, jealousy, hate, bitterness, living in the past, and unforgiveness. Again, there are more…I am just naming a few of many.
So how do we break free? By understanding, and then applying the very verses speak to us, and by asking for help.
We CAN demolish these strongholds. I love the use of the word “demolish” because it makes me think of a big wrecking ball demolishing an old building. The building crumbles and falls to the ground and is no more. That’s exactly what we can do to these rotten strongholds that take hold of our minds, hearts, and spirits. We demolish them.
But we won’t be able to do it on our own. No, we will need some help. We will need some divine power. I’ve been reminded by my divine power lately. I know that probably sounds boastful, but I can say it because it is not just specific to me- we ALL CAN HAVE IT…if we plug into the source, that of course being God. He gives us what we need to demolish things of the enemy, to purify our hearts and to obtain our truest identity.
If we break these verses down and examine them a bit, it’s basically laid out for us on what to do. “The weapons we fight with are not of this world…” Meaning we don’t fight with ordinary weapons; we fight with spiritual ones. These spiritual weapons are things like self-control and self-discipline, love, compassion, patience, and forgiveness. I know these things don’t sound like “weapons” but they absolutely are when used in a spiritual sense. They repel the things that want to create strongholds in us.
For example, hate is a stronghold that will destroy you if you let it. It can be like a cancer that eats you up. The ultimate weapon against this is the exact opposite of hate- love. If your heart wants to hate, but you choose love instead, you are utilizing a true weapon and tapping into that divine power, because this is not easy or even natural to do. We all know negative emotions are often the path of least resistance…the ones that are the easiest to slip into. To break free of them, we must do exactly as this scripture says- fight with weapons not of this world, tap into divine power, take every thought captive, and then we will see the walls in our heart begin to crumble just like that old building. Our hearts will be set free, and as a result we will become stronger, better, and more beautiful human beings.
So, what’s the take-away? Examine your heart. Not just once, but on a regular basis. Find the strongholds and then work to break free of them. Ask for help from someone you trust if needed. This is an ongoing process for all of us, but one that will produce great benefit and reward…a free and open heart.