Breaking Strongholds: A Journey to Transformative Self-Reflection
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
For just a moment, let’s talk about strongholds. In battle language, strongholds are safe places. Places which are constructed for the purpose of defense and safety. And in this set of scriptures, Paul informs the Corinthian church that we all have some sort of strongholds in our minds. Often these are safe places we escape to which keep us from the hard decisions we have to make as followers of Jesus. “Arguments and …. pretensions” which help us justify either willing or unknowing disobedience to having our hearts, minds and lives re-shaped to the image of God.
These are arguments which help us justify things like habits, unforgiveness, disunity, sinful patterns or simply not walking in steps which may lead us further into what God has for us but would require deep sacrifice from our normality. Over time, these strongholds build callouses over our conscience and begin to build walls which keep us from a deeper, more intimate and nuanced knowledge of who God is and how close He really wants to walk with us.
If we’re honest, we all have some strongholds. I know this because none of us have arrived at perfection – and none of us have total self-awareness compared to the deep ways God knows us at our core.
So to help us grow in self awareness, which will help us identify some of these potential strong holds, I’ve come up with some questions we can ask ourselves. As we process these questions, invite the Holy Spirit to speak also. He can be the mirror to help us see ourselves both in our current state, and for who He destined us to become.
The hope as we bring these questions to a still, quiet place with God, is that we would experience a deep transformation of the heart and a closer walk with God. As a byproduct of that, our decisions would be more Spirit led and intuitive, and less directed by fear and apprehension.
Not every question will be relevant to every person at every season. But they are worth visiting periodically. And as God may surface some uncomfortable things you’ve held onto, the next step is to discover the Biblical truth about (a) your identity in Christ, (b) the truth about His character, (c) some insight into God’s plans for you in this season, previous seasons or future seasons – to the degree that He reveals it to you.
Our job in this process is not to intellectually make up answers just to get through a question – but to patiently wait on God to speak to our heart. If He speaks, listen. If He’s quiet – come back another time and consider it a win that you dedicated time to wait on Him.
And it would also help to find an objective trusted person to talk about what is being revealed to you.
So here are some questions:
1. If I was really honest with God about _____, I would have to admit I feel ______ toward Him.
2. If I was honest about it, this is what I assume the majority of people think about me. And that assumption affects my decisions in what way?
3. I feel stuck in this decision, because if I make it I’m afraid of ________.
4. I’m afraid to admit that I feel ______ most of the time, even though I make other people think I feel _______.
5. I avoid talking about _____ because it would make me look _____ in front of those I talk with. (Think about some hard conversations you may be avoiding).
6. What burden does my perceived reputation put on me that I am tired of carrying? What part did I play in crafting that reputation?
If you need a safe space to process some of these questions, our pastoral team would love to help.
Remember that God is always going to reveal truth to you as you’re with Him, but He is not in the business of condemning – just bringing conviction that leads to change.