When God sets us free from bondage, there are some things we need to know:
There is a Promised Land for us
– which does not refer to heaven (because…)
There are giants in the land!
(And there are no giants for us to fight in heaven!)
There is work for us to do.
God will not do for us those things which we are capable of doing ourselves.
After all, what good parent continues to tie their child’s shoes or dress him or her when the kid is in high school? Good parenting has mature, functioning adults as its goal.
Taking possession is not simply a matter of stepping onto property, but requires winning victories – one “city” at a time.
God may take down the walls of a stronghold, but our part is to destroy the residents within.
This will take effort; it will take courage; it will take wisdom, discernment, and – of course – our armor.
Only a fool would fight in his underwear!
Early victories may involve an addiction of some sort – whether it is substance abuse, control, sex/porn, adrenaline, etc. Like Jericho, God takes out the stronghold, we destroy the inhabitants, and we take nothing away as a trophy. Everything from this pile of rubble is God’s. Try to salvage anything, and the next city (in their case, Ai) will whip our butts!
With each city taken, increase in skill and experience takes place. We still must fight to gain ground, but each victory is a little easier to attain.
Because of our personal history, many of us were left without necessary skills to face life’s challenges. God graciously provides opportunities to learn the things we should have learned as children.
Some things I’ve learned as an adult is that it is not okay for another person to strike me or abuse me in any way. It is not okay for them to take what is mine. I can think for myself. I have intelligence and can figure things out. If what someone wants to do to me is sinful, I am not being “submissive” by allowing that behavior. It is okay for me to make decisions concerning my life. I CAN SAY “NO.”
Let me get a little more specific.
I’ve mentioned before that God lifted me out of substance/alcohol abuse. That was my Jericho. He took down the walls. My job was to bring Rahab and her family with me (the understanding that God is salvation), and destroy the rest.
That should have involved being re-educated by “taking every thought captive.” I was too smart for that, and took lots of “spoils” from the destroyed city…all my old “stinking thinking.” In my pride, I was content to have the stronghold taken out, and saw no need for further action. Consequently, what should have changed in a few years took several decades instead. 😦
Even so, God is gracious. He arranged for me to record audio books for the recovery program at the mission. As a result, I am finally getting a renewed mind as I am forced to read – and then listen to – every book they use.
In Staying Sober I began to see why some of my behavior continued to be a problem for so long, even though I wasn’t “using” (This is what’s known as being a “dry drunk.”)
As I read my way through The Genesis Process, I was amazed to discover that they use similar counseling techniques as those Barb uses with me.
I am currently recording Boundaries. I’ve known about this book for at least twelve years. How I wish I had not resisted reading this book when I first heard about it. The information within it’s pages are revolutionizing my understanding of what a “good Christian” does and does not agree to.
God lifted the yoke of addiction from me, but did not erase my mind and let me start over. What I choose to “put on” and “take off” are up to me. Likewise, I am free to choose which strongholds I want to take out. The Promised Land is before me. I can possess as much of it as I want.
Did you know that the Israelites never took possession of all the physical land that God gave them? There came a day when they decided, “Aw, this is good enough.”
May we never be content with the bit we’ve conquered, but boldly forge ahead until we have possessed all that God has ordained for us.
For me, there’s a new battle on my horizon. I’m discarding my pampers of “this is not my responsibility” and my jammies of “pride”. I’m putting on my “big girl panties” along with God’s armor. The walls may tumble down at God’s command, but He has given me the job of cleaning out the residents with His help.
Lord willing, I’ll be the one doing the victory dance at the end!
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Here’s a related post – also about boundaries – in case you missed it: Christians Are Not Pack Mules