STRONGHOLDS: THE 40-DAY TREATMENT

Perhaps God has convicted you of double-mindedness. Now you are able to see the stronghold in your life, and you want to tear it down. Let me encourage you not to give up. Persistence is the opposite of instability. I suggest applying the 40-Day Treatment. Determine what the will of God is and begin to hammer away at your wall of arguments, for 40 days (the significance of this number is all throughout scripture)! If your children are not walking with the Lord, confess God’s promises regarding your children. If pastors in your city are divided, proclaim God’s view on the matter. If your marriage is on the rocks, confess God’s Word regarding marriage. Use God’s words like a sledgehammer, and hit those situations repeatedly (see Matt: 4:4,7,10; Eph. 6:17). Never give up. Do it, day in and day out. Memorize pertinent Scripture and quote it out loud!

A pastor friend of mine in the San Francisco Bay Area told a story that illustrates this point. He told how a friend of his who was remodeling his home hired a contractor to demolish a cement wall. He watched as the contractor hit the wall with a sledgehammer. One blow, 2 blows, 3 blows, nothing happened. Then 10 and 15 blows, and still nothing happened. He continued—30, 35 blows, and still nothing. Finally, on the 36th blow, the wall developed a horizontal crack. On the next one, a spiderweb pattern of cracks appeared. On the 38th blow, the wall cracked all over. At that point, the contractor put the sledgehammer down and picked up a small hammer and a chisel, and, little by little, he brought down the wall. This is also how a stronghold must be destroyed. That formidable stronghold you are looking at may seem to be made of solid granite. However, the Word of God is powerful. The gospel is the power of God (see 1 Cor. 1:18). Choose God’s Word over the circumstances. Confess the Word of God. Every time you do it, you are applying a sledgehammer blow to that granite wall. Keep doing it. Sooner or later, the first crack will appear. After that, it is only a matter of time before the whole thing crumbles. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Cor. 10:4). Everything opposed to the will of God must come down.We must be set free, totally free, in Christ. Are you already destroying strongholds in the innermost part of your soul? Go for it!*

 

*Excerpt from That None Should Perish, pages 174-175.

For more on Strongholds go to the mentoring section at www.transformourworld.org.

 

YOU SHOULD SEE THE OTHER GUY!

A number of years ago, in a moment of unhealthy self-pity, I began to tell the Lord how badly wounded I was, how much our family and our team had suffered, how brutal the blows had been and how little return we had seen on our investment. The Lord’s reply shocked me: Ed, you should see the other guy! He is the one who looks really bad. You’re on the winning team! If you think you look pathetic, just imagine how awful the loser must look.

Just then, a scene from the movie Rocky II came to my mind. It happens toward the end of the climactic title fight. Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed have slugged it out to the point of total exhaustion. Both of them are down, lying on the canvas, and the referee has begun the count. Rocky’s manager, crusty old Mickey, is frantically shouting in Rocky’s dull ears, “Get up, you bum. Get uuuup!” He keeps on screaming until Rocky, in obvious pain and with great difficulty, begins to pull himself up while the count continues. Under Mickey’s unrelenting verbal shoving, Rocky keeps riding waves of exhaustion on a raging sea of suffering. And when the referee cries, “. . . 9 . . . 10. You’re out!” Rocky is the one standing over the downed Apollo. Our hero stands for only a few moments, but he is on his feet long enough to be declared the winner and new champion.

As I reflected on this dramatic scene, I sensed the Lord saying to me, Get up and claim the prize! You are down but so is the devil. He does not want you to know it, but he is totally spent after such a fight. He has no more strength, and this is why he is so bent on keeping you focused on your own wounds. Both of you are down; but the one who gets up and claims the prize wins. Get up, you blessed one!

This experience enabled me to understand a powerful dynamic concerning trials: Trials require two fiercely opposing parties for its painful pressure to develop. Pressure, like a pincer, needs two anchor points to operate. We are one of the points; the devil is the other one. However, in the midst of these frays, we tend to focus exclusively on the damage done to us or to our loved ones. We seldom, if ever, realize what the trial has done to the opposition. Consider the way most Christians process Job’s tribulation. We concentrate almost exclusively on what Job lost and how much he suffered, and we fail to see the main point in this epic drama: The devil lost big to a mere human being. Satan ended up discredited and humiliated before his own demons. What the devil values the most, his pride, lay shattered at Job’s feet.

Take heart that even though we suffer, we always end up stronger than the devil. His scheme is to keep us focused on our pain rather than his. But remember…if you’re hurting, you should see the other guy!!

Excerpt taken from Prayer Evangelism, chapter 1.