Everybody’s got a weakness. When I mention a “weakness” I’m not talking about a basic hankering for chocolate or dessert all the time (can I get an amen, though!?). For example, Drew, founder of The Dirty Christian, speaks extensively cautioning others about the dangers of pornography because it’s a weakness, or a stronghold that a lot of people are bound by. A stronghold is a frame of mind that accepts a situation as unchangeable even though it is against the will of God. In other words your mind succumbs to the false belief that you can never overcome a certain sin, or sins, when the will of God is for you to do the exact opposite. So, as a result, you continue to go about your life with the presumption that you’ll never overcome depression or drugs or fornication or gluttony or self-infliction or a number or other things. When you keep running back to them because you believe you have to or that it’s a part of you and you’re lost without it, whatever it may be, those are bondages; those are strongholds.
Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will…”
— John 8, The Message Version
Oftentimes people blame their strongholds on other people, but it’s really no one else’s fault except for the one in bondage. For instance, a man might say that his wife made him hit her. No, she didn’t (nice try, though). It was his lack of self-control that simply expressed itself. He’s captured in his mind by anger and impatience. At the same time, when someone keeps thumbing through a porn magazine, it’s not the magazine’s fault. It’s just an expression that reveals how messed up they are. They’re captured in their mind by lust. Captured by what or who, though? God? Not hardly. Desires? Precisely. I know society will generally look for any and every reason to blame God for everything that goes wrong. However, the truth is (whether the ever-turning wheel of society‘s opinion agrees or not), we are tempted by our own sinful desires which leads to a state of enslavement. It’s the sinner’s fault, basically.
“You cannot fight a spiritual battle using weapons of the flesh.”
— Pastor Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
So how do you overcome a stronghold?! Countless hours of psychiatric help? Keep quiet and hope nobody notices? Try to control the weakness yourself (but to no avail)?
Remember your position in Christ. Col. 3:1 says to set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. There’s too many Christians looking for a worldly deliverance instead of seeing a supernatural healing, like in Eph 2:6. In other words, only Christ can deliver you from sinful habits. People of the world are going to tell you, “GUUUUURLLL (or dude :)) you was born that way!! Express yourself and be happy!” Consider the sense that makes for a second (or eight.) Even people who possess money and cars and international recognition and newly granted gay rights often kill themselves. So much for self-expression and happiness… There isn’t a cure created by the world that takes care of strongholds and doesn‘t lead to dead ends at the same time.
You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”
— James 4:4-6, The Message Version
You can commit to God at the alter in church, leave the building ten minutes later on a spiritual high, and then allow the same sin to smack you on your face again that night. If you’re determined to conquer your own strongholds of sin, you aren’t submitted to God. Plain and simple. You’re submitted to your own strength and will and way. Look at the last phrase in James 4 verse 6 once again. Humble yourself before the Lord and submit to Him. Why? Because surrendering puts God in the pilot’s seat to defeat sin for you. God, unlike us, isn’t affected or tempted by sin, so conquering what’s kept you bound for years is not a problem for Him. He’s been in the business for years.
Position and then submission, instead of self-supplication.
Lastly…. Be prepared for the moment you decide to submit yourself humbly to God and you suddenly find yourself in Satan’s crosshairs. But resist him. You don’t have to return to your sin. You don’t have to believe that you’re addicted forever. You don’t have to listen to the devil. You don’t have to live in hopelessness and enslavement. Jesus quoted Scripture when Satan was tempting Him. Jesus quoted Scripture because He made it a point to abide with the Father. Jesus set an example that His followers are to follow when Satan comes around by repeating God‘s Word. But you can’t quote what you don’t know. You can’t quote your pastor, your counselor, or your grandmother. The Truth will set you free and the Truth is in you. When David was confronting Goliath, David didn’t come in his own name or his father’s. He came in the name of Truth. Know God and know His promises.
“Right is right even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong even if everybody does it.”
— Rachel Joy Scott, first murder victim of the Columbine High School massacre