We’ve all heard it said, “Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemy.” To some degree that’s true. It’s the enemies within we must contend with, they’re just as subtle as the serpent at the Garden of Eden. These would have you believe you’re a victim, because they know if you stay focused on everyone and everything else, you’ll never zero in on them. These are the strongholds found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, mentioned in Part One. One of the things they do is trigger people into self-sabotage where they get stuck in destructive patterns. How many started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and bam, the tunnel collapses? Maybe some of you felt like you just crawled out of one pit, only to fall into another one, or it seems like someone pushed you into it. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another!” How do we break these cycles? How do we pull down the strongholds? Before going any further, be encouraged, you don’t have to do this alone. Remember, the weapons of our warfare . . . are mighty through God (2 Corinthians 10:4)! He will help you walk through this, wield the weapons, and help you realize the victory that’s already yours. Look at it from the standpoint of already having won the fight. 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we begin, it is vital to be extremely honest with God and ourselves. This requires getting rid of the victim mentality. As long anyone plays the victim card, he or she will remain stuck. Everyone has been wronged by others. There’s no question about that; however, your decision to remain a victim is up to you. It’s time to take responsibility for yourself, and do things God’s way, which includes forgiving those who wronged you. If you’re going to ask God for help, He may show you things about yourself you may not like. Honest assessments are fundamental to moving forward.
Secondly, as we move into renewing our minds, it is important to come into full agreement with God, which includes believing what He says. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (see Ephesians 6:17). It’s quick, powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates the very depth of our being, and brings to light the thoughts and intents of the heart (see Hebrews 4:12). Furthermore, it works like a mirror in that it reflects back to us what we need to see (see James 1:23). Another very important aspect of the Word is it actually heals our souls.
James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
The word, save in the Greek text means to deliver or protect; to preserve, and to heal or make whole. It pertains to the whole person (spirit, soul, mind and body). This means the Word of God can heal the mind and emotions, which includes bringing our thoughts and imaginations under the control of Jesus. Of course, it also pertains to being delivered or saved from the wrath to come. Reading your Bible and sitting in the presence of the Lord are not mere religious, pious acts; they are lifesaving!
Let’s start addressing some strongholds, and from where they came. Keep in mind they affect the way we believe, think, and behave as a result. For example, a deep seated hurt can trigger fear or resentment. Have you ever found yourself resenting someone you’ve never seen before? It may be he or she in some way reminds you of someone who hurt you. It could be his or her physical appearance, speech or mannerisms. Something about that person triggers you. It’s not him or her personally; it’s who they remind you of. That indicates you haven’t fully addressed the issue. That’s just one way relationships are affected; in fact, it could end a wonderful friendship before it could even begin.
Here’s one more before we close. Not to worry, we’ll continue to address strongholds and how to deal with them in the next blog. Unfortunately, numerous people have had parents who didn’t know how to love their children. Many were critical or even outright abusive. Children learned performance-based affection. If they didn’t perform well, they didn’t receive love or affection. In time, they believed themselves to be of no value. Several grew to become perfectionists. If mom or dad didn’t love them, they couldn’t see how anyone else possibly could, and that includes God. Most know this already, but the way some view their parents, especially the dad, is the way they view God. It makes it very difficult for them to trust anyone. A number of them put people on trial. Because they already have passed sentence on them, they’re already guilty before it begins. Any legitimate acts of love are rejected, because they decided no one loves them. They don’t believe it’s possible. The reality does not match their narrative, and their narrative is their reality. These people are very good at sabotaging relationships. They also tend to enter unhealthy ones.
If that’s you, change the story you tell yourself. Review the evidence with an open heart. Start with God. He is an amazing Father unlike anyone on the planet. If He didn’t love you, He would have never sent Jesus to die for you. That is not cliché: that is true! Stop and think about all the good things you take for granted -even the oxygen in your lungs. You may feel like someone should pay for what you’ve experienced in life. Maybe even God. Well, He did pay for it. Jesus endured the Cross, so you wouldn’t have to face a torment far beyond your imagination. He made provision for your pain. It’s up to you receive it. If you reject it, that’s on you. If you refuse a helping hand, that’s on you! Once you reject true love, you’re no longer a victim; you’re the perpetrator. Jesus is worthy for you to receive His love, which includes the love through other people. If you get honest, you’ll find a number of people of reached out to you. You simply slapped their hands, instead of taking hold of them. Read the Bible and see what God really thinks of you!