Struggling With Strongholds

If you are like most believers there are areas of your life that are a constant struggle. The struggle may be a recurring sin we can’t seem to shake. The Scripture calls this a stronghold.  Every follower of Jesus, at one time or another, has a sin stronghold that seems to raise its ugly head just when we think we have it conquered. 

We say to ourselves; “Why do I keep doing that, I know it’s sin and it grieves/quenches the Holy Spirit every time I give in.  What’s wrong with me?”  We may have victory for a few days or even a few weeks but eventually we give in during a moment of emotional weakness and the cycle continues.

We have tried self-discipline, praying more often, memorizing appropriate Scripture and maybe even fasting.  If all else fails we just blame the devil.

How do we get out of this cycle and overcome the stronghold?  By giving up the struggle.  That’s right, give up trying to overcome the stronghold.   The Lord never intended for us to get in a fight with the devil  when it comes to overcoming and defeating sinful strongholds. Why get in the ring to fight an enemy that has already been defeated? Why write a check for a bill that has been marked “paid in full”.

When we try with self-discipline and good intention to overcome sin we are acting in the flesh.  We are saying with our actions, “God, your provision for our sin was not enough, you need my help.”  When we employ self-effort alone to defeat sin we are saying Christ is not enough.

Our dominion over sin is not based on self effort but on Christ’s finished work on the cross.  At the cross Jesus paid our sin debt. On the cross He not only died for us but as us, defeating the dominion of sin. Because of the resurrection he became our victor over sin.

How does this victory works in us.  At salvation, when we became a committed follower of Christ, His life was placed in us.  Not a life like His, but His very life. Notice the following Scripture.

“…the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations: but has now been manifested to the saints…which is Christ in you the hope of glory…(Colossians 1: 26-27 NAS))

“For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10 NAS)

God knew we would struggle with sin. He knew the devil would constantly remind us that we are old sinners and that we can never measure up to God’s standard.  So to remedy the problem at salvation He gave us the key to victory…that’s Christ within us. Christ is the ruler and authority over every element of life that we will encounter.

Therefore, the battle is not ours, it’s His.  He has already defeated our stronghold, all we have to do is admit that in and of ourselves we are powerless to overcome a  sinful stronghold.  But in Christ, we have the power of the risen Savior fighting the battle for us.

“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57 NAS)

Bottom Line

The key to every victory in the Christian life is Jesus.  We have been given the power of the living, risen Christ within us.  He is there to fight every battle, even our strongholds.  Give up your personal fight and let Jesus do it all for you. Our only self-effort is to willfully turn from the sin and then turn to Christ who is our victory.  “Inherent in who I am is my ability to perform it” (Jack Taylor). In other words, because I have the living Christ within me, “we are more than conquerors…” (Romans 8:37)

Years ago I heard Dr. Bill Gilliam give this little acrostic that helps emphasize how Christ is our victor in our daily sin battle.  Maybe it will help you also. Read each line and notice the underlined word. 

I will do it all for you. 

I will do it all for you. 

I will do it all for you.

I will do it all for you. 

I will do it all for you. 

I will do it all for you.

I will do it all for you. 

That’s how much Jesus loves you, He says:  I will do it all for you.”

2 thoughts on “Struggling With Strongholds

  1. I have just found your blog and I thank God for it as a Christian I have been battling a stronghold of anxiety and now I better know that the battle is the Lord’s. I must surrender to his victory and stop trying to fight the battle in my own strength. I hope I am understanding correctly. Thank you and God bless you.

    • Dawn, thanks for your comments. It is encouraging to know that you realize that the battle is the Lords. I sometimes picture God in heaven looking down at us with arms folded, saying, “When you get through trying in your own strength, then I will do it all for you.” You see, our biggest issue in the Christian life is learning to trust God to do what He said he will do. When we do the battling we are really saying with our actions, “God, I don’t think you are big enough to handle this.” I pray that you will learn a new level of dependance on Him in your journey. Blessing, Larry.

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