As Gideon “bravely” tiptoed to the enemy’s camp, passing more camels than he could count, he listened to the two armed guards recounting a dream in which he was said to be a loaf of bread, barley bread to be more specific, the lowliest of the breads. This dream caused Gideon to realize who God truly is and this “lowly” man conquered the Midianites. There was no choice for Gideon but to face the enemy, his stronghold, head on. If the enemy had not been confronted, the Midianites would have continued to destroy the Israelites’ harvest.
A faulty thinking pattern is based on lies and deception. Deception is one of the primary weapons of the devil. It is the building block for creating a stronghold. Strongholds cause us to think in ways that block us from God’s best.
Many people are scared of God, unable to feel Who He is. They view Him as a cruel taskmaster, not as the God Who is always there for them. These individuals build walls, making it difficult for them to receive God’s love and presence, or to draw close in their relationship with Him. Think about this: If you saw your spouse as a rude, cruel dictator, you probably wouldn’t be as apt to snuggle up to him, loving him, as you would if you saw him as a kind, caring person, knowing the object of his affection was you. If you perceive someone as mean, it’s hard to receive their love, right? Our perception affects our reception. That’s how our idea of God can hinder us from feeling His love and presence in our lives. It is crucial to have the correct perception of God if we want to live victorious lives through Christ Jesus!
One of the most widespread and devastating strongholds is an incorrect image of not only our Creator, but also an inaccurate image of how He views His creation, us!
People who see themselves incorrectly and suffer from low self-esteem have difficulty seeing themselves as the new creation they are now in Christ Jesus. These individuals also have a stronghold. They don’t understand what Christ did for them, and how it applies to their own life. Common symptoms of this stronghold are:
*guilt feelings (questioning if you’ve really been forgiven of your sin(s))
*low spiritual esteem (they feel like sinners, not saints)
*lack of spiritual confidence (we are supposed to have this in Christ Jesus)
*constantly struggling with sin (Jesus said that if we keep in His Word, which tears down strongholds, we will be free from the power sin has over us. John 8:31-34)
*overall feeling of unworthiness spiritually
*lacking the joy of the Lord in life.
Those who see God as cruel live lives with an unhealthy fear of God. A healthy fear of God looks more like a holy respect for Him. There’s another kind of fear, however, an unhealthy one. The enemy hopes to develop this one within us; it’s a kind of fear where we see God as a taskmaster: cruel, cold, distant, uncaring, snapping a whip at us the moment we step out of line. People who are afraid they’ve committed the unpardonable sin, or find it difficult to feel God’s love and presence, often have this stronghold. If you question God’s love for you, this stronghold must be demolished.
At some point, the stronghold has to be broken or there would have been certain destruction, just as in the case of Gideon.What strongholds do you need to conquer? Do you fit in one of the categories described above? Decide to be set free today. It’s easier than you think.