What stronghold is dominating your life?
What area is your sinful self still defending, justifying, in bondage to?
Where are you undisciplined?
Where are you struggling?
Where are you still living unholy and unhealthy?
For me, the Holy Spirit has been quietly encouraging me to shine His light upon these dark corners. Like so many, I live laden with several recurring strongholds. Places where the enemy knows how to breed havoc in my life. Places where I fall short physically, mentally, spiritually. Fortresses positioned around my heart where I have not allowed Jesus full access in order to completely liberate me into His healthy, holy newness.
To break free from these "old familiars" would drastically change who I am as well as further glorify my Savior's Name. For it is clear to me that I could never be free of these chains without Him. Yet, still knowing this... still saved by His grace, repentant of my sin, and claiming Him as my Lord forever... I struggle to bow down and let these strongholds go. I hold onto what hinders. I cling to my sin, my guilt, my shame, my weight, and my bondage rather than embrace ALL that my King has offered me.
For some time now, one of my major strongholds has completely overwhelmed me. Without going into personal detail, let me just say that Satan has continued to hit hard and tear me down further and further in this particular area. (I hate how the enemy capitalizes on our weaknesses, don't you?) Of late, Satan has encouraged me to feel defeated, helpless, and stuck. Of course, knowing that God's Word is always my best and only defense, I have prayerfully immersed myself in scripture pertaining to this particular burden. However, I saw no change... no newness... no complete liberation from my chains. Then, this week God asked me some very important questions.
Victoria, what does my salvation cover?
What does my deliverance and redemption encompass?
Is not my grace sufficient, offering you divine assistance and power in order for you to be reborn, renewed, and sanctified in all areas of your life?
If so, why are you not embracing all the privileges of this freedom?
Why are you still carrying these strongholds of slavery when I have offered you immunity from bondage in my Name?
Why have you not completely believed that I am able to bring lasting change in these areas and positioned your life so that I may do so?
Wait, why am I carrying these strongholds?
Why have I not believed?
(I shutter at the thought.) Lord, am I the problem?
Have I chosen to hang onto certain "old familiars"?
Have I tucked these strongholds away in my back pocket preventing my own freedom?
Why would I do this when I truly hate these issues?
Has my addiction to sin (especially these sins I hate the most) blinded my spiritual eyes?
Have I withheld from you my complete surrender of all selfishness, lustfulness, gluttonousness, covetousness, and greediness?
Teach me, Master.
Then yesterday, the Lord reminded me of my late grandfather's testimony. You see, before my grandfather knew Jesus, he was an excessive smoker, eater, drinker, gambler, etc. His life held no balance or moderation. His heart knew no peace. He too was laden with many different strongholds that camped around his heart. However, once my grandfather fully accepted Christ as His King, all the excessiveness... all the distractions... slowly began to cease. He chose to believe what was possible and changed his ways. Opening one door at a time, he bowed down and obediently lived God's way, ultimately allowing the Savior to completely change His life. In time, my grandfather's invitation to fully welcome the Holy Spirit into ALL areas of his heart made it possible for him to lay down stronghold after stronghold until all that was seen in him was Jesus. And now, God was using my grandfather's life as a lesson to teach me to bow down... to let go... to obey... to find freedom in the places I had yet to surrender my sin and/or disbelief.
Ladies, how easy is it for each of us to ignore God's graciousness by refocusing our attention on our earthly selves and the grip of our own ugly, tragic burdens. Sure, we can study God's word, hoping and praying for Him to perform a divine miracle to change us - a remodeling, if you will, in His holy name. But if we fail to actually unlock ALL the temple doors surrounding our heart, Jesus will not force His way in where He is not welcome. So, rather than be washed clean in all areas of our new life, some rooms will stay messy until we repent and relent to His perfect authority. This is why salvation is both immediate and a process. This is why it is necessary for us to abide in Him always... to walk in His ways rather than cling to our own... to daily receive and believe ALL that He promises!
I have learned that it is indeed paramount to consider what God's salvation really does encompass. Do we really believe He is able to free us from every excess in our life? Do we really believe He is able to unchain us from every form of bondage? And if we are still living imprisoned to a particular stronghold, have we considered that it may be because we have not obediently surrendered ourselves completely to His grace? What a lesson to learn, right?
Our Savior's wise advise in John 8 to "go and sin no more" never rang more true. For it is possible for the once broken to move out of every darkness and be completely free in the light of Christ. We are able because He is able and benevolently ready to do a good work in us. But we must bow down to Him, ladies. Let me say that again... WE MUST ALWAYS BOW DOWN TO CHRIST IN ORDER TO BE FREE OF EVERY STRONGHOLD!
I encourage you to embrace the NEW of Jesus today... the complete triumph of Christ's salvation that has the power to overcome every prison, every burden. Let us choose to give our highest consideration to the One who has proven His ability to overcome sin and death. Let us open the temple doors and welcome Him in rather than fester in the "old familiar" of sinful defeat. Believe this unchanging truth: nothing can overshadow the King of kings! Nothing! Our Redeemer is ready to win our battles and transform our whole house into His holiness. So let this day be THE DAY to open every temple door and grant Him complete access to change your heart... to renew your life. Let us bow down and embrace the freedom we have been given so that all that is seen in us... so that all that remains is sweet, wonderful Jesus!
If my house were not right with God, surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part; surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire. (2 Samuel 23:5)
This is the day!
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