Strongholds


If you know me at all, you know that I love Elisabeth Elliot. If you don’t know me at all, you’ll learn very quickly that I love Elisabeth Elliot. I have read literally everything that she has ever written. (I suppose I could have missed one, but I’m almost certain I have not.) I spent a year of my life scouring the internet for anything written by her-even the obscure out-of-print-not-so-well-known ones. Let’s just say, I kept Amazon and some random book sellers in business that year. This woman’s life, her story, her God given wisdom, changed me. On so many occasions in so many ways.

Currently, in 2017 I should say, one of my goals or focuses is discipline. Living in Mexico has left me lazier and less intentional than before. About many things. And at the start of this year, I felt a call back to a life of discipline. In my time, in my relationship with Christ, in my health, and in all of my other relationships as well.

All of it.

So, I carried back across the border with me after Christmas vacation one of my all time favorite Elisabeth books: Discipline: The Glad Surrender.
I’ve been working my way back through it slowly. Letting it sink in a second time.

Let me couple that with this: 2017 has also been a lot about lies, or rather, getting rid of them. Digging down to the root of lies that have lingered in my life (sadly there are many more than I ever even realized) and allowing God to uproot them and replace them with truth.

It’s been a long, difficult, pretty painful process.

The lies are loud.

The lies have lived for so long. Too long.

And in most cases, the lies have become my truths.

They have become my reality. They feel so vividly real.

So much so, that in moments when I come to and speak truth to myself, I somehow feel as though I am lying.

So. Twisted. Tangled. Messy.

One day, while reading through this book, I stumbled upon this quote by Charles Stanley.




I was frozen there. 

I started to think about that in regards to the lies I was beginning to identify and struggle with. I realized that I was struggling with them too late. That I should have struggled with them, resisted them a long time ago. When they were still tiny, manageable thoughts. Thoughts that I could let in or keep out. I realized that several of them were now more than just lies, they were strongholds in my life and heart. They had skewed my reality, my thinking patterns, my attitudes and actions, and worst of all, my perspective and understanding of God and His character. I should have seen them back then for what they were. Tiny seeds waiting to take root and grow into deadly strongholds.

I started choosing lies and walking them through this chart of sorts. I found with lie after lie why it had become so incredibly difficult to break free and to differentiate them from truth. Because they were no longer just thoughts. They had been once. Thoughts that I had considered for a while and before I knew it they had begun infiltrating and poisoning my attitude. And then I began to act on those attitudes and eventually my actions and attitudes became habits.

Which led me to here.

Bound up. Trapped inside those little lies that had morphed into big, huge, crushing strongholds. Walls built up all around my heart that I could have prevented from constructing themselves. Now, I needed to break through. To find a way out. Trust me when I say, prevention is a lot less complicated than breaking through.

In retrospect, I so wish I would have caught these lies and choked them before they had any air or room to grow. And that’s what I want for you.

Perhaps this week you find yourself like me, suffocating and tangled up in lots of lie weeds. Perhaps you can’t see the difference between lies and truths any longer and it seems like you’ll live in the lies forever.

Or, maybe you’re somewhere in between. Perhaps some thoughts have been lingering too long on the edge of considerations. Maybe considerations are beginning to leak poison into your attitudes. Just maybe without a drastic attitude adjustment very soon, awful habits are about to establish themselves in your life.

I’m not sure where you find yourself on this spectrum this week, but I’m certain you fall somewhere on there. Here’s how I know. Because Satan is the father of lies. Since the very start he has been working to thwart every single truth about God with his deadly deceit. Lies about who God is. Lies about the things He says. Lies about who Satan is. Lies about who you are.

Lies.

Lies.

Lies.

Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you are an exception. That he’s not bothered by you. That he will leave you alone.

Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that God doesn’t see that sneaky snake lurking and waiting to tangle you up in the mess of who he is.

I can say from personal experience, none of us are immune. I gave my life to Jesus when I was 4-years-old and I’ve never looked back. It’s been a crazy, beautiful ride. But, I regret to inform you that I let my guard down. I forgot that I too am susceptible to Satan’s trickery. Maybe even more so because I didn’t have my guard up. Because I subconsciously believed that my salvation might act as a weed killer and keep that slithering serpent away.

I could not have been more wrong.

Let’s work this week to prevent. To put our guards back up before we’re surrounded by walls that we didn’t intend to build. That trap us and blind us and distort our view of God. Wherever we find ourselves on this spectrum (and I guarantee you it's somewhere) let’s fight back this week with truth. Let’s speak truth over our own lives and truth over each other’s lives. Let’s keep cultivating. 

Gardens.

Thriving and blooming because deep below the soil are roots that grew from seeds of truth. Gardens that give life and air and beauty to everyone around us because there is no room for lies that choke and put poison into the air. Gardens that all can see because they are not isolated and cut off to the rest of the world and all that God is doing by walls and weeds.

Strongholds have got to go.

We were not created to be slaves. To be trapped or to be walled in.

We were created to be free.

To bloom.

To breathe.

Free in the truth of who Christ is and who we are because of Him.



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