Breaking Strongholds

(The following is taken from “10 Steps Toward Christ: Journey to the Heart of God” by Jimmy Evans)

OUR CORE NEED

Mankind was created in the image of God. We were created to walk in fellowship with God but sin entered and brought death and separation from God. There is a God-shaped hole in everyone of us that only He can fill. When we look to people or things to meet these needs we will be disappointed somewhere in the journey of life. Jimmy Evans prefaces in his book, Marriage on the Rock, that everyone of us has four core needs that only Christ can truly satisfiy…

Acceptance: knowing you are loved and needed by others

Identity: knowing you are individually significant and special

Security: knowing you are well protected and provided for

Purpose: knowing you have a reason for living.

When the object of our trust is misplaced in another person or thing problems begin and may develop into strongholds.

APPLYING TRUTH

Sin brings bondage and strongholds into our lives. Jesus Christ dealt with the core issue of these problems, that is the power of sin. We now have the ability to tear down the negative strongholds that may have been built in our lives over the years by applying the truth of God’s Word.

 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. –2 Corinthians 10:4,5 MEV

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.— Romans 12:1-2 MEV

Sin’s power has been broken over our lives, but we need to take three simple steps to applying God’s Word to our situation so we can enjoy the freedom He has purchased for us.

Face REALITY—God is not the problem, people are not the problem, the problem begins with me and my perspective.

Take RESPONSIBILITY—My attitudes and beliefs determine my actions, my actions determine my outcomes and consequences—Galatians 6:7-9

RECONCILE the past—past relationships, decisions, events that have robs you of freedom and keep you in bondage.

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS

If we want to see change in our lives then we must grant forgiveness to others and ourselves for whatever has transpired in our lives.

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. —Mark 11:22-26 MEV

RECONCILING OUR PAST

Iniquities:

Iniquity means to bend, twist or distort. The scriptures (Deuteronomy 5:9-10) describes iniquities as generational sin. Sin that has been passed on from parents to children. Examples of sin include anger, gossip, prejudice, bitterness, un-forgiveness, sexual abuse, substance abuse, fear, pride, negativity, manipulation, moral impurity, verbal abuse, anti-social behavior, co-dependent behavior. To break free from the iniquities of our past we must forgive. Here are the steps to breaking free from iniquities…

Recognize the sins of our parents and grant them forgiveness

Recognize your involvement, repent and forgive yourself

Surrender to God by renewing our minds to the Word and cultivating a prayer life.

Exercise authority in Jesus name by declaring what the Word says about you.

Inner Vows:

An inner vow is a commitment we have made ourselves in response to hurt, because of a person, experience, or desire in life. All vows (commitments) should be made to God. Inner vows influence and shape our attitudes to be independent from God and they become a stronghold challenging the Lordship of Christ. We must acknowledge and forsake those inner vows and then entrust that area of our lives to God.

Un-forgiveness:

When we judge and condemn others for their actions or attitudes it always returns upon our own heads. (Luke 6:37; Matthew 7:1-2) Un-forgiveness brings torment, resentment, bitterness, and anger. —Matthew 18:34-3

Anger:

We experience anger because of a personal loss or hurt. We may set ourselves up for disappointment and anger because of unrealistic expectations not being met. Anger can be a result of self centered thinking, stress and unresolved conflicts, or relying on ourselves and not God. Unresolved anger opens the door the devil to take a stronghold in our lives. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Depression:

Abuse, rejection, divorce, business failure, personal failure, guilt, long term grief, and chronic stress can lead us into depression if we don’t resolve the issues. Learning to take a Sabbath restores us from emotional exhaustion and helps us bring balance into our lives. The story of David (1 Samuel 30:6-9) at Gilgal reveals how we should handle crisis, trauma, or personal discouragement. We must place them in God’s hands for resolution. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Addictions:

No one wants to be an addict on purpose. Addictions comes as a result of experimentation with drugs, alcohol, pornography, homosexuality, etc. This season of experimentation brings with it a change of friends and associations to accommodate these new behaviors. These new behaviors increases the appetite for more and soon becomes an obsession dominating a person’s thought life and actions. This becomes a stronghold where we find ourselves no longer in control but now under the control of a physically and emotionally self-destructive behavior.

Misconceptions:

Misconceptions about God and others that have been brought on by abusive relationships can prevent us from enjoying healthy relationships. We can view God as angry with us because of the way we were parented. We might deal constantly with guilt, shame, condemnation, because of what we have done or what was done to us in the past. We can’t be close with others because of fear, insecurity, manipulation, because we may have misplaced our trust in others to meet our core needs and ended up disappointed or disillusioned.

Abuse can actually shape our personalities so that we are unable to have a healthy life giving relationships with others. Personalities such as….

  1. The compliant—peace at any price.
  2. The controller—self-centered, manipulative, violating the boundaries of others.
  3. The avoider—fearful of negative feelings and relationships that could hurt you.
  4. The loner—keeps everyone at a distance.
  5. The performer—fear of failure, insecure lacking identity.
OVERCOMING TEMPTATION

The Gospel reveals that Jesus began His ministry by being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation as a man. He was filled and led by the Holy Spirit. This is the pattern we are to follow as His disciples. First the Holy Spirit wants to empower us to overcome the world, the flesh, and our adversary the devil.

Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted by the devil for forty days.—Luke 4:1,2 MEV

Jesus as a man overcame the same temptations that we will all face as believers.

The lust of the flesh

The devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”—Luke 4:3,4 MEV

The lust of the eyes

The devil, taking Him up onto a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this power and their glory, for it has been delivered to me. And I give it to whomever I will. If You, then, will worship me, all will be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”—Luke 4:5-8 MEV

The pride of life

He brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge con­cern­ing you, to preserve you,’ and ‘In their hands they shall hold you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”—Luke 4:9-12 MEV

After overcoming the temptation, Jesus began His ministry in the power of the Spirit. He overcame by speaking the Word and being filled with the Spirit. This is what is necessary to walking in the freedom that Christ purchased for us!

Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. And His fame went throughout the surrounding region. –Luke 4:14 MEV

DAILY STEPS TOWARD FREEDOM

To break free from these negative strongholds we need to establish new daily habits. These daily habits will be the key to securing your freedom:

  1. Renewing the mind to God’s Word
  1. Confess God’s Promises over your life.
  1. Pray in the Spirit (in other tongues).
  1. Commit every day to forgive and walk in in love towards others.

Summary:

We all have the same core needs that only Jesus can truly satisfy. We all must learn to make Jesus Christ the object of our trust, not the people or things in our life.

Discussion Points:

Discuss the problems that arise when we expect other people or things to meet the core needs of our life.

Why are the 3 ‘R’s mentioned in the curriculum such a necessary step to break free from the things holding us in sin?

What are the things listed that you have overcome or are in the process of overcoming?

What did God do in your life when you forgave someone from the heart?

Next Step:

Choose to forgive! If we are to break strongholds in our lives we must take responsibility to forgive those who have hurt us, reconcile the past, and put our trust in the only one who can meet our core needs.

Prayer Focus:

Father, I embrace your royal law of love. I choose to forgive those who have offended to me and I pray that you bless them. I thank you I am forgiven! I declare that Jesus is Lord over every area of my life! I have acceptance, identity, security, purpose through Jesus Christ. I declare he whom the Son sets free is free indeed!