Ruler of the Stronghold

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 30, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This week with Worldview Warriors, we are talking about strongholds. Most of the time when we think of a stronghold, one of two images comes to mind: a castle or fortress, and a satanic/sinful grip over your life. But not all strongholds are evil. A stronghold could also be good. The difference is who rules that stronghold. Who is the ruler over the strongholds in your life? You? Satan? Or God?

The book of Nehemiah is about the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the stronghold, the symbol of God’s Kingdom and his people. Because of their sin, the walls were broken down and the city was in disarray. People still lived there, but the enemies of Israel had easy and free access to the city. Then God raised up Nehemiah to restore the walls and Jerusalem became a place to be reckoned with again. However, Jerusalem was not always in Israel’s hands.

In 2 Samuel 5, Jerusalem was in the hands of the Jebusites. It was a very difficult place to conquer, yet David challenged any of his mighty men that whoever would lead the charge against Jerusalem would be commander of his army. Joab took the job, the city was taken, and Jerusalem became the capital of the Kingdom.

Same city, owned by two different rulers. When the enemies of Israel had control of Jerusalem, the city was a stalwart against the people of God or in complete shambles. When God’s people had control over the city, it was a symbol of the strength of God, and while the enemy sent army after army after army to destroy Jerusalem, they never could prevail until God removed his hand of protection.

This can be a picture of the stronghold of our lives. Most preachers and books you will read on the topic will talk about the “throne” of your life. The Bible study group I teach on Monday evenings is going through Eric Ludy’s book Wrestling Prayer, and two of the chapters in the book are about Saul, who represents self, on the throne versus David, a picture of Jesus, on the throne. It’s the same concept here. Who is the ruler of the stronghold that is your life? Is your life a place for the enemy to set up camp and stage his assaults on the people of God? Or is it a place for God to dwell and move his Kingdom into action? Another analogy I can use is an aircraft carrier. Our lives are like a mobile, walking spiritual aircraft carrier. We carry military power wherever we go. The question is, who is the commander?

Before we became Christians, we were of the world. We only knew the natural, and self was on the throne. Few of us would ever have considered ourselves “evil” back then, except we sought to rule our own lives when Jesus is the rightful king. Because we wanted to do our own things, the walls over our lives were broken down and Satan had full access to harass us. We often succumbed to his demands without us even knowing it and he would use us to attack God and his Kingdom.

However, after we were born again, we renounced the rule of self on the throne of our lives and submitted to Jesus Christ. That is actually what is required to be born again. Self must be removed and Christ installed as King over our lives. That is repentance. When Jesus is on the throne over our lives, he can use our lives as a walking arsenal with our prayers and spiritual weapons to wreak havoc on the Kingdom of Darkness. If you look at the promises throughout the Bible and at the lives of the saints of God, no matter where they went and no matter what they did, no one could touch the saints of God nor take them until their hour of trial had come. When Paul went to Rome, was shipwrecked, and was bitten by a viper, none of it phased him because his hour of facing Nero had not yet come. Likewise, if we learn to yield to Christ’s rule, obey him at the outset, and trust him in all circumstances, we will be a stronghold the enemy will have a hard time taking.

However, many times the enemy does get into our lives. How does he do it? First, he constantly searches for a breach or a hole in our walls. That way he does not have to get formal permission to enter our premises through the front gate. That breach or hole in the wall is an area in our lives that has not yet been surrendered to Christ, and it is usually a sin that we struggle with. Satan will slip in but he will keep a low profile. He won’t stay in the open because then we will notice him.

After a while, he will build a small tent in a corner of our lives and appear harmless. He won’t threaten us and he will often go along with what we are doing, as long as that is not part of God’s purification and sanctification process. But during this time, we tend to get used to him being there, not recognizing him as the enemy of our souls. As time progresses, he will build a more permanent home and slip in a few of his buddies, again biding their time to strike. We must be watchful for Trojan Horses at this point. Remember, all Satan needs is an access point and he doesn’t need to send many of his demons in to get the doors open.

If we do not take notice then, soon Satan will build his own castle, within the “stronghold” of our lives. At this point, he will start to harass us, all the while convincing us that if we can keep him contained in that ‘castle’ he will be fine in our lives and will only be an occasional annoyance. But then the real plot is executed and he will throw a coup to claim the throne of our lives for his own. He will open our front gates and invite his army to invade. Many pastors have preached this progression: If you sow a sin, you will reap a habit. If you sow a habit, you will reap a stronghold. If you sow a stronghold, you will reap a demon. And the end result is death.

How do we handle this? First, we need to be on constant guard duty, watching for any breaches in our lives and watching for hidden enemy occupation. We cannot do this alone. That is why having prayer partners is so valuable. We need the constant searching eye of God’s Spirit in our lives. This is hard because he is ruthless about what can stay and what needs to go, but he knows why it should stay or go.

Who is in charge of the stronghold of your life? Have you allowed the enemy to build within your territory? Are you in a state of constant cleansing and continual surrendering of your life to the lordship of Jesus Christ? As 2016 comes to a close, let us start 2017 anew. What is done is done. The question is, what can you do right now? And right now we can follow the Perfect Master with a renewed focus and dedication, in a constant state and spirit of surrender to Jesus Christ.

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