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Part Two in our Series “Demolishing Your Strongholds”
Part 1 – The Weapon of Forgiveness
This blog series poses the challenge that our lives can be changed in 2017 if we are willing to demolish the strongholds we have allowed to be established in our hearts and minds. We can break free from encrusted attitudes, set old fears aside and know victory over behaviors that have become unhealthy habits. For me, I want to experience the Holy Spirit’s work of “restoring in me the joy of my salvation.”
How about you?
In these beginning weeks of 2017 it is critical for us to acknowledge that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Our enemy seeks our destruction and his tactic is to set up “strongholds” in our lives; places where we have allowed the seeds of sin to blossom into attitudes and behaviors that are at war with the values of the kingdom of God to which we belong.
If we want a different story to unfold for us this New Year, then we must understand two very important truths about our life with Christ. In this battle God secured the final victory, and God provides everything we need for daily victory.
We claim this victory and demolish the enemy’s strongholds when we deploy the weapons of spiritual warfare. We defined a weapon as anything you use that destroys the enemy’s ability to wage war against you.
Over the coming weeks we will focus on five such weapons available to every follower of Jesus:
- Clear Conscience
Today we will look at generosity. When we are generous we take the fight to the enemy and destroy his ability to wage war against us through the “love of money” and “the deceitfulness of riches.” It is often noted that Jesus speaks more about money than any other single subject except the kingdom of God. Why? Because it is a warfare issue. Jesus knows that in this great battle Satan’s unrelenting strategy against us is to deceive us; to lie to us. This was his strategy in the Garden and is unchanged today. He is a deceiver, a liar, the father of lies. Jesus knows the one thing that has unique capacity to deceive is our view of money.
Each of us lives our lives through one of two overall worldviews; that of an owner or that of a steward. We live in a world that idolizes owners. We are valued by what we earn, buy, amass, spend and stockpile. When we are not being driven to work harder to earn more and spend more, we are stressed out by the threat that we are not saving enough for retirement. Owners never have enough. And the enemy drives our insatiable thirst for more, bigger, sooner and better. Our culture has bought the lie that money is the answer to our problems and the source of our security. The result is a gnawing discontentment about our current situation and a deep fear about our future. As owners, our never-ending pursuit of money can lead to the ruination of our marriages, families, health, reputation and witness. These are the scars inflicted by the enemy; fear, anxiety, broken relationships, discouragement and despair.
When we wield the weapon of generosity we dismantle these destructive powers. The power is easy to witness. Imagine taking the one item the enemy has convinced us is the source of power, pleasure and security, and joyfully giving it away. When we give with a cheerful heart, we stab at the heart of the enemy and utterly destroy his stronghold.
The life we are offered as a disciple of Jesus Christ is the life of the steward. As stewards, we are set free by three transformational truths: God owns everything, God will always provide for all our needs, and the greatest blessings come to those who give.
If God owns everything, we are set free to be caretakers of His stuff and use it whenever He asks for His glory. If we trust Him to provide, we give as freely as He commands and never worry one second about our own needs. And if we will take Him at His word, we will watch Him turn our simple acts of obedient giving into eternal blessings for those we support and sources of our deepest contentment as His faithful stewards.
Let your 2017 walk with Jesus start with his powerful truth – it’s ALL His. Not the 10% we “give to God’s work,” but also the 90% we choose to use for ourselves. Our money, our time, our marriages, our children, our jobs, our relationships, our health, our attitudes and our future – it’s all His! This one truth will do more to dismantle the strongholds of the enemy in our lives in 2017 than perhaps any other biblical teaching. Embrace it, make it yours, say it to yourself every day (every hour?). Do not let the enemy gain a foothold here, but drive out every ounce of fear and discontentment with joyful generosity and cheerful giving.
May 2017 be the year you allow the Holy Spirit to create in you a heart that is rich toward God, that you may “take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:19).