BUILDING A STRONGHOLD IN GOD(Pt.1)

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble”(Psalm 9:9 NIV).

Where do you go in times of trouble? Where do you turn when there is no where to hide? For David, these were questions that were a matter of life and death when he was running from Saul who hunted him like a bird on every hill. He felt the hot breath of his enemy in pursuit at times and said, “There is just a step between me and death”(1 Samuel 20:3). How did he escape? He found The Lord to be his refuge and his stronghold.

SHELTERED
David’s metaphor of the stronghold was driven home to me having been in the land of Israel recently. There I saw plenty of mountainous ranges with caves where David had no doubt hidden from Saul and his army who sought his destruction. Some of the openings did not look very large from a distance but when entered they are deep caverns. They provide great hiding places and shelter. It reminds me of the psalmist’s words, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you”(Psalm 91:1-7 NIV).

FINDING GOD IS A PROCESS
Finding God as our shelter is a process. We don’t know,as someone has said,that “God is all you need until He is all you have!”      We learn to turn to God when everything else around us has failed and proven insufficient to provide the security for which we long. Finding God in our daily struggles is a process of not merely turning to Him but confronting the lies that keep us in a captive place. The prophet Jeremiah was called by The Lord God in time of a spiritual crisis among his people Israel who were on the brink of national captivity due to their sins. He was given the task of “tearing down and overthrowing” some things in order “to build” other things up(See Jeremiah 1:9-10).

We can never find a stronghold in God without removing mindsets that lead to controlling and destructive behavior. The apostle Paul wrote, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled”(2 Corinthians 10:4-6 NKJV).
Strongholds start in our fleshly or carnal thinking. As goes our thinking over time so goes our body,our habits. The habits we form become the character of who we are.  Again, the apostle Paul warned, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God”(Romans 8:5-8 NKJV).

BREAKING THE CYCLE
Mental strongholds can only be broken by using our spiritual weapons of war. There are ways to break the cycle of defeat: (1) Bold faith. This only comes by hearing the Word of God. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17 NASB). (2) Obedience. Working God’s Word into our life dislodges the poison arrows of the enemy from our thinking. (3) Declaring God’s Word. Speaking God’s Word of Truth overthrows carnal logic and reasoning, building a new fortress in our mind. This new fortress is a spiritual stronghold called “The mind of Christ”(See 1 Corinthians 2:10-16).
God gave Jeremiah a promise if he would only speak God’s Word.  It will work for you,too, if you will apply this promise today. “Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them. Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land…. to the people of the land.  They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord”(Jeremiah 1:17-19 NASB).

(c) Copyright 2014, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

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