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Bible Questions

What are Strongholds of Sin?

We all struggle with certain strongholds of sin in our lives. These strongholds of sin undermine our relationship with God. We must confront these strongholds of sin to be servants of God.

A big part of being a Christian is the simple idea that we are forgiven. We have all done wrong, and are forgiven of these trespasses. This forgiveness is what makes it possible for us to have a relationship with God. It raises us up to a level that we can know God, and have joy with him.

However, the simple idea of being forgiven leads to some important questions that we should ask ourselves. If we are truly forgiven, and not in any sin, then why do we struggle? If we are pure and right with God, then why do we sometimes feel estranged from him?

If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we aren't always close to God. Many times our thoughts and desires are not of God. We all have periods when we feel separated. There is an ebb and flow in our lives as we move closer to God, and then farther away. Why do we have these ups and downs, if we are perfect and complete?

Strongholds of sin push us from God.

When we are saved, Jesus doesn't change us into perfect beings that never sin. Rather, he takes us in our imperfect state, and delivers us from the power and bondage of our sins. From that moment forward, we are empowered to war against our own strongholds of sin. In Christ, we are armed to confront the sin in our lives.

What is a stronghold of sin? The strongholds of sin are different for different people. It's clear that we all have certain weaknesses, traits, and thoughts that drive us toward certain sins. We all have unrighteous tendencies that manifest as sin in our lives. The strongholds of sin are the lusts and malignancies within us that give rise to persistent sins. These strongholds are often rooted in the idols we carry through life.

Whether we accept it or not, we all have strongholds of sin. They often manifest in our behaviours, thoughts, and feelings. We all have strongholds such as covetousness, lust, pride, jealousy, hatred, unforgiveness, greed, slothfulness, self-righteousness, self-pity, selfishness, conceit, stubborness, narcissism, gluttony, ignorance, and many others.

Strongholds of sin can cause the spiritual low points that we experience. The strongholds of sin work to push, pull, and separate us from God. We must confront our strongholds of sin because the Enemy will use them to gain access to our lives. They are spiritual stumbling blocks that can't be ignored.

The reality of sin in our lives.

As Christians, we know that we are justified in Christ, because in him our sins are forgiven. However, our sins are not justified, nor are we justified in committing them. If we believe that our sins are justified, then we've refused the need to be forgiven. If we refuse to recognize our sins then this is a denial of Christ.

Therefore as Christians, we should resist and hate sin. If we are Jesus' disciples we will work to be more like him, "The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master" (Luke 6.40 KJV bible).

We know that Jesus heals us and frees us from our sins. However this doesn't mean that God is always pleased with us, or with what we do. Even though we are in grace, we can still distress and anger God. If we think God is pleased with our sins then we don't know him.

This is why Paul warns us about provoking God. We should resist evil temptations, "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted" (1st Corinthians 10.5-6 KJV bible).

God has not set us free to wallow in sin, but to serve him. For this reason God sometimes chastens us. He does this because he wants us as children in his family, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" (Hebrews 12.6 KJV bible).

Christians should never be satisfied with their own sins, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid" (Romans 6.15 KJV bible).

Even though we can't be perfect, we shouldn't be complacent in sin, "Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48 LITV bible).

Too many Christians refuse to confront their strongholds of sin. They've been taught that as Christians they are like Jesus, and perfect in God's eyes. So they play the role of the perfect Christian, and try to conceal their strongholds of sin. They praise Jesus on the outside, but Jesus doesn't reign on the inside.

Someone who is a servant of sin can't be a servant of God, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Romans 6.16 KJV bible).

God expects that we use the freedom, power, and authority of Christ to suppress and destroy strongholds of sin. If we have faith in Jesus, we will have continual victory against our strongholds of sin. He will lead us against these strongholds, so that instead of being enslaved by them, we will overthrow them. God has great joy in these victories.

Strongholds of sin resist God's authority.

If you're following this, you might notice that I am raising questions that challenge some common beliefs. For example, if our sins are completely forgiven, then how can they fester and gain power over us? How can our sins corrupt our relationship with God, if they are truly being taken away?

A good way to answer some of these questions is with an analogy. To understand strongholds of sin, we need to think of ourselves as nations. Instead of individual people, each one of us is more like a nation or state.

Nations are not the same all the way through. They are made up of different regions, groups, tribes, and organizations of people. These groups often have opposing interests, and ideas. Not every part of a nation is in harmony with the other parts, and this leads to power struggles.

Each one of us is our own nation, and like any nation, we have internal power struggles. This is because not every part of our nation is in subjection to Christ. We all have hold-outs within us, that are resistant to God's authority. The Enemy uses these hold-outs, or strongholds, to subvert the will of God in our lives.

Therefore, we must war in faith to recover these rebellious parts, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things' sake cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience" (Colossians 3.5-6 KJV bible).

We must discipline ourselves to overcome the rebellious parts within us, "But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified" (1st Corinthians 9.27 KJV bible).

When we obey the will of the flesh, we build up strongholds of sin in our lives. However, by faith we can tear down them down. The victory of faith is that we become dead to sin, and we no longer serve its demands. The new man is empowered to serve God.

We must not submit to the deceptiveness of sin. If we give shelter to sin, it will undermine our relationship with God. Sin reigns in the spiritually dead, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions" (Romans 6.12 KJV bible) .

Strongholds of sin prevent us from serving God.

We know that nations at war with themselves are not strong, but weak. Likewise, our strongholds of sin weaken us, and prevent us from bearing fruit. So to fulfill God's will in our lives, we must subdue our strongholds of sin. We must work with Christ to overcome them, so that we are not at war with ourselves.

This is similar to what Jesus describes in the parable of the sower. In this parable, Jesus compares the Word to seeds being spread on the ground. The seeds fall in different places, representing the different kinds of people that hear the Word.

Some of the seeds land on good ground where they grow strong, and reach maturity, "But other [seed] fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold" (Matthew 13.8 KJV bible). This ground represents the people who understand the Word, so that it grows strong in them.

However many of the seeds never grow to maturity. Even though they sprout, they are killed off by stress and attack, "And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them" (Matthew 13.7 KJV bible).

This other ground represents people who receive the Word, but it's fruitless in them. It's doesn't grow strong because they have thorns springing up that overpower it. It can't mature because it gets overpowered by sin.

In this parable, the thorns that choke the seedlings are like strongholds of sin. They live in us, and by their nature they are obstacles to the Word of God. The thorns compete against the Word, preventing it from maturing and making seed. We must strengthen the good seed in us, and not the thorns.

We must confront strongholds of sin.

Confronting our own sins requires humility, effort, and perseverance. It requires that we give up our selfish desires for a greater purpose. Many times it means leaving behind things that are familiar to us. Sometimes its only after we make changes that we realize how much better we are.

We know that Christ gives us the sight to see the errors of our ways. He gives us the spiritual weapons and training. If we are truly born of him, then we are guaranteed victory. Despite his promises, change can still be frightening.

In the Old Testament, God promises the Israelites that he will give them the land of Canaan. He frees them from the slavery of Egypt, and guides them through the wilderness by great miracles. Yet despite all this, when it comes time to enter the land, they refuse to go.

Instead of trusting in God, they listen to an evil report. This report exaggerates the strength of their enemies, and implies they won't be able to take the land. Instead of trusting God, the people are afraid and refuse to advance.

"The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight" (Numbers 13.32-33 KJV bible).

The Israelites become so intimidated by the giants in their way, that they give up. Instead of receiving what God has promised them, they look back to Egypt, "And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt" (Numbers 14.3 KJV bible).

These giants intimidate Israel from obtaining the land that God has promised them. These giants are similar to the strongholds of sin that block us. We must confront our own strongholds of sin to receive the inheritance God has prepared for us. However, the ones who don't trust God will not receive the promises.

"But exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end...For some, when they had heard, did provoke; however, not all who came out of Egypt by Moses" (Hebrews 3.13-14,16 MKJV bible).

By these examples, we understand that the Devil uses strongholds of sin to prevent us from fulfilling God's will. His strongholds keep us away from the places that God wants us to be. The more we give place to the Devil, the less we are able to serve God.

There are spiritual battles that happen inside of us every day. Through faith in Jesus, we can identify and subdue the Enemy's strongholds in our lives. Little by little, we can tear down the idols and snares that block our spiritual path. Persistent genuine faith, without hypocrisy, destroys strongholds of sin.

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