I went to the rodeo with my sis last night, and right before we arrived, the heavens opened and soaked the place. A nice downpour made the arena just right for barrel racing, but it made the dirt road into the place a sticky situation for the trucks and trailers. When we pulled up, a tractor was pulling someone’s rig out of the mud.
Being stuck stinks.
Those muddy spinning wheels flashed through my mind when I thought back on my pastor’s message today. Pastor Chuck wants to see his flock free of strongholds. He’s tired of seeing us stuck in the mud, spinning our wheels in sin. He’s tired of his own muddy issues, too.
He’s my favorite kind of pastor. The real kind.
So, what is a stronghold?
Well, according to good ol’ dictionary.com, a stronghold is “a well-fortified place; a fortress.”
That sounds pretty good to me. It sounds safe, secure, unshakeable. I’m sure I’m not the only girl who craves security.
God’s plan from the beginning was to be a stronghold for His people. He wants to be our safe place. Our unshakeable security.
David’s song from 2 Samuel 22:2-3 is the tune He wants all of us singing. Keep in mind, David sang this song right after being chased down like a dog by murderous Saul and his cronies.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me.
Unfortunately, we’re a stubborn, stupid lot. Rather than make ourselves at home in God and all He has to offer, we open ourselves up to invasion by the enemy of our soul.
We leave our heart’s door wide open and allow all kinds of false strongholds to build on our most priceless real estate.
In Living Free, Beth Moore defines a false stronghold as “anything that exalts itself in our minds, pretending to be bigger or more powerful than our God.”
She goes on to say,
It steals our focus and causes us to feel overpowered. Controlled. Mastered. Whether our stronghold is an addiction, unforgiveness toward a person who has hurt us, or despair over a loss, it consumes so much of our emotional and mental energy that it strangles our abundant life. Our callings remain unfulfilled, and our believing lives become ineffective. Needless to say, these are the enemy’s precise goals.
So why do I keep getting stuck in the same old mud? Because I’ve been trying to pull myself out. Just like that stuck trailer needed a tractor to get out of that rodeo mud, I need my Savior to pull me out of mine.
Pastor Chuck only gave us one point today. One big fat whopper of a point.
The first step to demolishing strongholds is to surrender. To throw up our hands and say, “I can’t do this, Lord! But You can.”
And that’s my prayer today.
I don’t know how I got so muddy when You’ve given me everything I need to live a pure and Christ-like life.
“[Your] divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life through [my] knowledge of [You] who called [me] by [Your] own glory and goodness. Through these [You have] given [me Your] very great and precious promises, so that through them [I] may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV).
Forgive me for letting a bully build his clubhouse in my backyard. I can’t clear my own heart of these strongholds. These thoughts and habits that keep me stuck and distracted from the abundant life. My human effort just isn’t cutting it, Lord. I surrender. I look to You, and I see You handing me weapons from Your arsenal. And I see You fighting for me.
“For though [I] live in the world, [I] do not wage war as the world does. The weapons [I] fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. [I] demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and [I] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV).
No, I can’t do this, Lord. But You can. I take the first step right now. I surrender my needs to the hands of the one who can meet them.
In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN
Did you join me in praying this “I surrender” prayer? I’d love to know so I can pray for you! Leave a comment, and be sure to come back next week for more about demolishing strongholds.