StrongholdsHandbook 1: Article 47 - Who In The World Are You?

The Christian world is pocketed with strongholds -- man made defenses that wall out the truth and quench the Spirit. These fortresses are built and maintained by Christians so frightened by the voice of Jesus (when He calls them to move on to a new area) that they draw back and shield themselves from His call with half-truths that make them feel secure. This phenomenon of entrenchment can happen at any stage in a Christian's life. As the call of Jesus intensifies, the panic-stricken Christian digs in, building the walls of his stronghold ever thicker and higher. Soon to quiet his fear he must even replace the stones of his original foundation, Jesus, with building blocks from his new structure. His stronghold becomes vital to his life and he does not realize that he is walling himself off from the true life. (This is a very effective tool of Satan. The devil doesn't need to introduce new heretical doctrines into the Christian faith -- he only needs to whisper in the ear of a frightened Christian that he knows a "truth" based on scripture where the timid soul may hide and rest in security. Because this "truth" is based on the word of God, the Christian quickly grasps it to himself, not guessing that he is being fooled by the greatest deceiver of all time, "the angel of light". For Satan's weapon is to tell this one filled with holy terror what he wants most to hear -- that he doesn't have to move out into the unknown and he can prove it using the Bible.) And so the deluded believer builds a fortress on a faulty foundation that assures him that he is secure and in a right relationship with God.

The classic example in history is the stronghold of the Pharisees in Jesus' day. The Son of God challenged the false foundation of their fortress of faith and it was so devastating to them that they maneuvered His crucifixion. We are aghast, we say? It is still happening!

The words of Jesus threaten us today. When He calls us to follow Him and to obey His commandments, some of us withdraw and build walled defenses around our fear. We call these defenses by different names now -- grace, justification, eternal security, predestination, submission, speaking in tongues, faith healing, baptism by immersion, etc. (All these are valid teachings when interpreted and given by the Holy Spirit.) But regardless of the title we pin on our stronghold it is basically the same phenomenon as observed among the Pharisees -- blowing one spiritual truth out of all proportion, diluting it and making it palatable to our tastes, convincing ourselves that we are right with God because of it.

How do we recognize these man made fortifications? Listen carefully to conversations and discussions among Christians. A Christian who is constructing a barricade will constantly talk about his new belief, regardless of the topic of conversation, seeking for and giving himself reassurance. The one with a completed stronghold is armed with offensive weapons, shooting down anyone or any idea that is in opposition to his viewpoint. His weapons against fellow Christians are ridicule, sarcasm, and entrapment. You will see him suddenly shoot from the hip with blasts of derision and scoffing. If a Scriptural passage is involved in the discussion that challenges his belief, he will give the passage a ludicrous interpretation, hoping to wipe it right out of existence. Watch and listen when Christians get together. You will soon see evidence of many strongholds. And don't be surprised if you discover a few when you listen to yourself talking.

MC

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