Today we are going to talk about the negative strongholds that are in our lives. For some of you this might be an uncomfortable topic and for others you may be ready to hear this message, and hopefully you are all ready to tear down strongholds in your life that have been hindering you from growing closer to God.
There are two definitions of a stronghold.
1. (Military / Fortifications) a defensible place; fortress
2. a major center or area of predominance.
It is the second one that we are addressing today
There are two types of strongholds in our lives. There are the strongholds of God, the Biblical and moral strongholds that we hold on to and believe and allow to guide us in our daily walks and then there are the strongholds of sin that bind us and become areas of predominance in our lives.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned…” He goes on to tell is in Romans 6:23 that “The wages of sin is death.”
We all sin. You sin. I sin. And that sin holds us and drags us to the grave.
We never planned on sinning. When we were younger we never planned on being a gossip. Nobody plans to be a drug addict or a murderer or addicted to pornography. And yet, those things happen in many of our lives.
Sin is sin and we all sin.
We sin, we fall short of the glory of God; we make mistakes. And we are not alone; there are many examples in the Word of God of people falling into the temptation to sin.
David, a man after God’s own heart was guilty of murder and adultery. The Apostle Peter cursed and denied the Lord. Abraham lied. Moses disobeyed. And the man we are going to look at today, Samson, he was overpowered many times by his addiction to sex and power.
These strongholds are not the fleeting temptations that happen from time to time, today we are going to tackle the obsessions that we just can’t seem to escape but you want to and you need to.
Much of the time, strongholds such as we are discussing today did not just happen. Many times they are passed on from generation to generation. I call them generational curses.
Other times they are created by the individual after months and years of giving into sin, a lack of making good decisions and a lack of spiritual discipline in our lives.
Someone once said, “Our life is ultimately the product of thousands of small decisions.”
These strongholds are things like drug addiction, anger, gambling, gossiping, back biting, pride, pornography, drunkenness, thoughts of hurting others or hurting yourself, selfishness, not correctly handling your finances, and anything else that attaches itself to you and seems to hold you in its grip and keep you from living a life of victory.
By the end of this message today, my prayer is that we will be able to stand and say enough is enough and that we can break these strongholds through the power of God and put in its place a stronghold of peace and power through God’s Holy Spirit.
Father, Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.
Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN
Samson’s life story is quite interesting. He was an Israelite from the tribe of Dan. He was born to a woman who originally had not been able to have children. Scripture says she was sterile and childless.
There have been some really important people in the Bible who were born to women who were not able to have children.
Sarah, the wife of Abraham.
Hannah who gave birth to the Prophet Samuel.
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.
And then there was Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was not sterile, but she was a virgin and was childless.
Something else that all of these women share in common is that they had births that were foretold by angels.
2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. 3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
You don’t have to look far to see families that have fallen apart. Maybe it has affected you or you know someone who has a broken family. It is no surprise as we see the skyrocketing divorce rate.
From the deterioration between the husband and wives to the rebellion of the children the strongholds of Satan are evident. We quickly learn that the sins of the parents are easily passed onto the children.
Satan has been using these strongholds for thousands of years. Actually it can be traced back to the first family, Adam & Eve. I believe that Satan has made his goal, next to destroying you, to destroy the family. He knows that if he can destroy the family, or at least change its purpose, then he can destroy a nation.
As I told you last Sunday, revival in the church begins in the home, revival of a nation begins in the family, but also we can say that destruction of a nation begins in the destruction of a family.
Today I want to look at the strongholds of the family that Satan uses to tie down or hinder the family.
What is a stronghold?
The word stronghold is used eight times in the Bible. Each time it can be defined as a fortress or hold. It gives us the idea of great castles with their high walls that almost seemed to be impregnable. Maybe even Jericho who’s walls rose 50 to 60 feet in the air. Actually it is said that Jericho had two walls one 6 feet thick and the other 12 feet thick. This seemed to be impossible to overcome.
Yet the Bible says that when the Israelites came to the city the inhabitants of Jericho shut the city up in fear. They were afraid. You see no matter what strongholds the devil has on your family the devil is afraid of the Lord. He knows that there is one that is greater and stronger than he is. He knows the verse “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world”.
And we know the story the walls fell. The Bible not only says they fell but the fell flat. Yet they had to fall. It was the only way Israel could get to the promised land. Let me tell you the only way you will have peace and happiness in your family and for that matter in your life is that you break the strongholds that the devil has placed. You begin to tear down the strongholds. And with the power of God you will not only make a hole but they will be destroyed. Oh if we could only see it in our family.
The devil knows this but he is a crafty and cunning creature. He will try to convince us that what we have is alright. He will try to deepen his claws in your family and tell you not to worry. Or he will attack your family and make you want to quit. But we must call it like it is and “Resist the devil for he will flee”.
You see the devil has been doing this for years. Our family is not the first family to be attacked by the devil. He actually began with the first family Adam and Eve.
Divide and conquer: divide the parents, divide the children
Satan’s first stronghold of the family is selfishness
In the verses we read we see that after God had created Eve and looked at his creation and his new family he saw all that he had done and said that it was good. But this joy would not last for long.
You see the Devil and God had this battle going on. We don’t know how long but it could have been a numerous of years. The devil wanted to be God and take in all the glory. When his attempt to take over heaven failed and he was cast out of heaven he tried the next best thing. If God would not worship him he would destroy God’s creation. And so he set out.
The first stronghold that the devil uses against the family is the stronghold of selfishness. If the devil can get you to believe that you would be better off by not listening to God and his word. If he can get you to believe that the family was designed for your pleasure and when you get tired of them you can just leave. If he can get you to believe that you need to be looking out for number one and the pleasing of your self then he has got you.
You see when you have got your focus on yourself then you loose focus on others. This is what Eve did. Satan convinced her that she would be better off if she didn’t listen to Adam, who is the one that gave Eve the instructions, and did it her own way. He convinced that she could become and God. And that God is a liar. And you see that is a lie he has been telling us for centuries. And people have been duped into this. They have been convinced that God is not important, especially at my age as I have heard. That church is not important, I don’t need it. And that as long as I am happy I am alright.
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