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Demolishing Strongholds

Demolishing Strongholds

by Johnny Hunt

– Freddie Gage has said, “Sin thrills and then it kills. It fascinates and then it assassinates. If you play, you’re going to pay.”

– Do you realize there’s a difference between forgiveness and consequences? Sometimes people think, You’re just holding this over me. You’re not forgiving. But forgiveness doesn’t always wipe out the consequences.

– We have a simple but critical choice to make. Either we learn how to dismantle the strongholds in our lives, or they will dismantle us.

– The Christian life is not difficult, as you may think. In fact, it’s impossible. That’s why God never called you to live it; He called you to die and let Christ live it through you. The weapons God gives you are mighty through God, not through you.

– A stronghold is any habit that got hold of you. At one time in your life, you were playing around with it because you didn’t see it as a big deal. And then one day, it just kind of closed its grip on you. And now you can’t get loose.

– A war is waging for control of your thought life. When you surrender to temptation, your thoughts become deeds, your deeds can become habits, and your habits can become a stronghold.

– To effectively combat the onslaught of the enemy, you need an arsenal of verses on the tip of your tongue, verses so familiar to you that they come to mind without any conscious effort.

– God wants us to suit up so we will develop a biblical mind.

– When you realize that more than one-third of every download on an American computer is pornography, you come to see what a challenge it is to think purely!

– Be sure of this: You’ll never change the things you’re doing until you change the way you think. When you let God change your mind, He’ll give you a biblical mind. And then God can use you to begin to make a real difference for good in this world. – you can’t coast for even one day. You’ve got to keep running.

– Sin is always progressive. It always wants more of you than it has, and it won’t be satisfied until it has destroyed all of you.

– We’d better wake up! The latest research is nearly unbelievable. Did you know that 79 percent of men ages 18 to 30 view porn at least once a month? Viewing pornography has become socially acceptable. Teens think of it as a huge attraction— and it keeps them from becoming fully devoted followers of Christ.

– Focus on three key things:

1. Renew my faith. Yesterday’s faith doesn’t cut it for today’s challenges.

2. Reclaim God’s promises. All of God’s promises are yes in Christ, but we have to continually draw on them and bank on them to overcome the new hurdles we face.

3. Resolve to correct unhealthy habits and build new ones. Habits grow gradually, so slowly that often we don’t see them developing. When a crisis hits, these habits get revealed for what they are, whether unhealthy or helpful. Then the task is to dismantle the destructive ones and build the useful ones. That requires both getting the wrong out and getting the right in.

– Erwin Lutzer, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, wrote, “No matter how many pleasures Satan offers you, his ultimate intention is to ruin you. Your destruction is his highest priority.”

– I once sat at my desk and wrote down a long list of the consequences of sexual sin. I call it my “detriment list.” The list includes things like bringing reproach to my Lord Jesus Christ, but it also includes hurting the people I love (my amazing wife and my beautiful daughters, for starters), what it would cost me and my ministry, how it would bring me and the church I serve to public disgrace, and a host of other things that I consider vitally important. As I’ve read over that list, I’ve come to a simple conclusion: It’s not worth it.

– If we intend to enjoy victory over temptation, we need to understand that we can’t do it on our own. Apart from the power of Jesus Christ and the enabling of the Holy Spirit, we are no match for temptation or the devil. He’s spent nearly all of human history working to tempt human beings into sinning against God. He knows far too much about us and about our natures for us to imagine that we can stand up to him on our own.

– Do we need money? Sure. Is it wrong to have money? No. But having and chasing are two very different things. Our God, I’m happy to say, has a much better path for us to follow.

– The devil doesn’t want us to focus on something so much as he wants to take our focus off of something else. He’ll do whatever he can to make us blind to the life of contentment we enjoy when we focus fully on Jesus Christ.

– I believe that sex, greed, and pride are intertwined. Those really are the Big Three that take down most men. I also believe that pride may be the most dangerous of them all, because if you don’t get right with God in the area of pride, you’ll have a much more difficult time getting right with Him in the other two areas.

– C.S. Lewis rightly called pride “the complete anti-God state of mind.” He wrote, “If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?” The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise.

– Before we look at the restoring power of confession and repentance, I think we should consider why sin is such a big deal in the first place. Why is it so important that we refuse to tolerate failure in our struggles with sin? The primary reason is that sin is offensive to God.

– Until we begin to grasp that our sin offends God—and that this is the real problem— we will never gain victory over sin.

– To confess means that you agree with God, that you call sin what God calls it. When you genuinely repent of your sin, there are three things you won’t do: First, you won’t  minimize your sin. Second, you won’t rationalize your sin. And third, you won’t generalize your sin; in fact, you’ll explicitly and specifically confess exactly what you did. You won’t say something generic like, “Please forgive me for whatever wrong I may have done.”

– Obedience is the absolute keyword for the Christian life, not victory. Some men tell me, “I’m praying for victory over such-and-such a stronghold.” But you don’t have to pray for victory. Pray instead that you will be obedient, because victory is a byproduct of obedience. Victory comes when you obey God. Pray that God will help you to obey.

Jeffrey Bush

Jeff Bush became the General Director of Vision Baptist Mission in May 2012. Prior to this assignment the Bush family faithfully served the Lord for 8 years in Argentina, South America. During their time in Argentina, God blessed their efforts resulting in five churches, a radio ministry, and a Bible college to train those called to the ministry.

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