Monday, February 23, 2009

Pulling down material or financial strongholds

In yesterday's scripture, we looked at how to wage war spiritually against the strongholds keeping abortion practice thriving, while women suffer and their children die.

Today we'll look at one stronghold that is allowing abortion, not families, to thrive: material or financial concerns.

Let's look again at 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4, 5:

King James Bible
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

In particular, I want to look again at the word translated "strongholds" (Ochuroma a castle, stronghold, fortress, fastness; anything on which one relies, of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavours to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent) and the word translated "imaginations" (Logismos: a reckoning, computation; a reasoning: such as is hostile to the Christian faith; a judgment, decision: such as conscience passes).

Think of a stronghold as an entrenched idea that is holding the person prisoner.

How many of us are held prisoner by the idea that we don't have enough money, or enough of the stuff money buys, to accomplish what we need to accomplish?

The woman feeling driven to abortion might be trapped by a material stronghold.

It may be very concrete, in that she is lacking in basic necessities for her family because she is not tapped into God's provision. We can help her in concrete ways, by providing necessities, but we can also help her by praying for and with her that she move forward in faith, not in fear. If she is a believer, she might learn that tithing is a powerful weapon against material strongholds. In worldly calculations, it makes no sense for somebody who is already struggling to make ends meet to take a tenth of their income off the top and give it away, but remember we are not battling a worldly war. Our battle is also metaphysical. Taking the leap of faith -- putting ten percent in the offering plate when money is already tight -- turns your finances into a powerful weapon against Satan, rather than a foothold for him in your life.

Other material obstacles are not readily visible to outsiders. But remember that we're fighting "imaginations" as well as "strongholds". The woman who looks well-off to us might still feel just as trapped by material constraints. Watch "Dr. Phil" often enough and you'll see guests living in lavish houses, driving new cars, owning boats, who are in debt beyond the point where it looks they can ever escape. They are trapped in the stronghold of belief that material goods are the path to happiness. One need not be trapped in debt to be trapped in thinking that material goods are the path to happiness. For these women, prayer is our strongest weapon -- but we need also to be living lives that find joy in relationships, with God and with others, as examples to follow. We can encourage these women to restructure their lives in ways that are not dependent upon owning expensive, prestigious items in order to try to be happy and satisfied. And, again, if these women are women of faith they will find tithing to be a powerful weapon.

And for any woman feeling trapped, turning her back on the abortion table can be a turning point in the war over strongholds in her life. To commit to welcoming the child, whatever her circumstances, she is beating back the attacks of Satan, who is attempting to drive her away from trust in God and into fear and reliance on self. Stand on Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through He Who strengthens me.

And what of us? We might have material or financial strongholds in our own lives. We might be holding back a hand of material assistance to others because we fear there will not be enough left for ourselves. We might be holding back from reaching out as organizations because we don't have enough money. As if God is broke and can't provide for His children! If the task before us is set out by God, then He will provide the means. I recommend reading about the lives of faithful believers such as Corrie ten Boom, who always found God's provision sufficient, in order to break strongholds. For individual believers, again, tithing is a weapon. For organizations, prayer and stepping out in faith.

No comments: