Friday, February 27, 2009

Spiritual strongholds

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

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).

In this final post on different kinds of strongholds, I'd like to look at spiritual strongholds. In a nutshell, they amount to not trusting God.

I'm gonna borrow a metric buttload of Scriptures from this page.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. —Psalm 9:10

Note here that we are to seek God, then trust Him to care for us. If we're out seeking our own ends, He'll leave us to our own ends. Isn't that how a lot of women pregnant when they didn't want to be ended up pregnant? By following after their hormones, or their loneliness, or their desire for earthly security, instead of seeking God?

I'm going to emphasize something in this next one:

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday. —Psalm 37:3-6

I can tell you from experience, this doesn't mean "Trust God and He'll act like Santa Claus and give you everything on your wish list." Trust in God, and delight in Him, and He will fill your heart with different desires. You won't want what you wanted before. He will give you new desires, desires He can fulfill. And they won't necessarily all be "holy roller" desires. You might find yourself with perfectly healthy, innocent desires for good things -- travel, nice food, friends -- that God will then fulfill. But the important thing is to let go of what you currently want -- what you currently think will make you happy -- and trust God to show you where your desires should be.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. —Proverbs 3:5-6

How many times does it seem like what God plans for you is utterly insane? When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I thought it was a disaster, that it was totally the wrong time for a baby. I was utterly and completely wrong. My son became the catalyst to fix many things that were screwed up on my life. Far from a financial burden, my son became the catalyst to fix some problems and to free up money that we didn't realize we had. We went from pawning keepsakes to pay for food, to being out of debt and being able to have guests over for meals. Had I trusted in my own understanding, I'd have ended up aborting and would have stayed broke and hungry.

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. —Isaiah 26:3-4

I can't count the number of times it looked as if things were a disaster, and turned out to be the gateway to blessing. Even after becoming a Christian, I've often fretted needlessly, only to see that God was steering me into something good. He just needed a 2X4 to divert me from where I was headed on my own.

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” -- —Jeremiah 17:5-8

How many post abortion women are there who can certainly vouch for the first half of this Scripture? Who trusted in the abortion clinic counselors, or in other people who told them abortion was the only way? Who found that it led only to heartache and anguish and despair?

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” —Matthew 14:23-33

I have to admit, I love Peter. He's so much like me, always going off half-cocked then losing faith, getting scared, and having to have his sorry ass pulled out of trouble. Peter's problem was that he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the storm. How often do we all need to take our eyes off the storm and turn them back on Jesus?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. —Matthew 18:1-6

There's a goldmine in this Scripture for an abortion blog!

First, Jesus tells us to be like children in being humble. Children trust the adults to take care of them. And we should likewise trust in Christ.

Then consider that Christ tells us that whoever receives a child in His name, receives Him. Can there be any clearer instruction for what to do when faced with the birth of a child? We are to welcome the child as we would welcome our Lord.

Finally, consider the warning, "whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea." This is a profound warning to Christians who get tangled up in youth programs that take a "they're just going to do it anyway" attitude. Yes, it's especially hard for young people today to resist sexual sin, since they live in a society that practically worships sex. But we're to be in the world, not of it, and that includes a responsibility to teach youth to be in the world but not of it. We should be arming them with the tools to live virtuous lives, not making excuses for sin and even facilitating the sin by providing birth control and abortion. Doing so is damaging their souls -- something you'll be called to account for when you meet your Maker. We just read in Proverbs 3 not to trust our own understanding, but to lean on God. Ask him to grant the young people wisdom and virtue, not merely to keep them from disease and pregnancy. Is that the most we dare to hope for? Or can God deliver more?

It's important to remember that we need to apply these Scriptures to our own struggles and strongholds, not just use them to address other people's struggles and strongholds.

1 comment:

keekee said...

GrEAT Blog. Very insightful knowledge on strongholds.