Strongholds Good and Bad part2

Nick   November 17, 2017   Comments Off on Strongholds Good and Bad part2
Welcome to part 2 of strongholds
So first of all to sum up what we talked about last week.
1. Last week particularly focused on the “Lord is our stronghold” – he is our refuge, he is our place of safety.
2. We also talked about the church being a stronghold – a place of safety, a stronghold of righteousness
3. We talked about how we can build our own strongholds – we get hurt or disappointed we say we’re not going to let it happen again and so we put up a wall. But the very wall that we put up to protect ourselves becomes a prison that traps us.
Today I’m going to look at some particular strongholds that can have a negative influence on our lives.
So this is not about “you are failure because there are strongholds in your life.”
It’s recognising strongholds that stop us from fulfilling our potential. Also thanksgiving for strongholds that we have already overcome.
When Israel came into the promised land – it was a place of blessing and abundance, but there were strongholds – the land was not empty. Enemy fortifications. The first one they came to was Jericho. We know the story.
1. Israel – This is a fortified city that will be difficult to overcome
2. Jericho – we are afraid of the Israelites Joshua 5 “Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites”
Often our perspective – this problem is too hard to overcome
Enemy perspective – retreat
Going to look particularly at 4 strongholds that can stop us taking hold of all that God has for us. It might be that it highlights an area that you need to address. Or it might be that you are filled with thanksgiving as you see this is an area you have overcome
Independence, negativity, religiousness, spiritual forces
So today lets look a bit more at some of the kinds of strongholds that can affect our lives
Strongholds of independence from God
What Adam and Eve did was they acted independent of God. In fact it’s been said that all sin is acting independently of God. So it’s not surprising that this can be a major hangover from our old life.
Strongholds, fortifications and towers – the first tower in the bible is the tower of Babel – the purpose – Let us, let us, let us – build a tower to make a name for ourselves. Nothing in the story to suggest any sense of reliance on God.
Being independent can be a particularly British thing. It is somewhat ingrained in our culture. Gritting your teeth, getting on with it.  But independence from God and trying to be self-sufficient is not wise. Gospel choir event – Good advertising, good musicians but ultimately dependent on God.
I did it my way. What a sad song. A song of self-sufficiency but also a song of loneliness.
Control by others – no. Self-sufficient – no.
The opposite of independence is reliance on God, trusting God. So if you want to overcome a tendency to independence, cultivate an attitude of reliance.
Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Strongholds of Negativity
Again this can be a very British thing. We can be very easily disposed to thinking negatively, thinking cynically.  It may be due to what people have said to us. It may be due to the way we were raised. It may be having been bullied at school. We are easily negative about ourselves and consequently negative about everyone and everything else.
Was Jesus a negative or positive person?????
Signs of negativity – fault finding in yourself or others, believing the worst of a person or situation, magnification of small problems into “disasters”, never try something new for risk of failing, build in safeguards to protect yourself from every eventuality, you always know things are going to turn out bad. You don’t talk to visitors because you’re worried they won’t like you.
Negativity stops you fulfilling your God-given potential.
Don’t despair – God can change that.
Moses said “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Negative. I can’t do it. God’s answer – I am with you. If you’ve got God with you then how can you be negative?
David also said “Who am I” but this was very different – “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 2 sam 7:18 – humility – realising God had sone it
– don’t confuse humility with negativity. Moses was negative, David was humble he says “you have brought me” – reliant on God
3. Strongholds of religion and religiousness . Mike shared a few weeks ago things that were said over him had a bit of a hold. Religion where it is a system or a formula can have a negative hold over you It can have a hold in your thinking and also a spiritual hold over you
It stops you living in the good of everything the Lord has for you. It makes you beat yourself up for never being good enough, never doing enough.
A focus on special days, special places, special people can distance us from God
4. Legalism that says we never do enough to please God.
5. Strongholds of the occult. Involvement with séances, Ouija boards, contacting the dead, weird healing stuff etc can result in allowing the opening for unhelpful spiritual influences to affect your life. Coming up to Halloween –  we need to be wise. It’s not JUST harmless fun, but its also not necessarily the biggest thing to fear. So lets not be naïve but lets not get on our high horses.
A lot of Halloween tradition dates back to pre-christian pagan times, but then so do a lot of our Christmas and Easter traditions. Even calling today Sunday – it dates back to worshipping the sun god.
So the fact that you went to a Halloween party when you were young doesn’t mean you have a stronghold of occult. But involvement in some of the more overt occult stuff could mean that there are unhelpful things that still affect you.
Our picture may make it look like these are things that are too hard to overcome. A bit like Jericho.
But God says – Not by might or power but by my spirit – in other words not with your resources but with mine.
Throughout the bible God helps people overcome by not relying on their ability, their strategy, their resources.
Jericho – it was miraculous. God can help you overcome miraculously.