Christians too can be bogged down by strongholds to the point of distraction where it becomes a major distraction in life. This will rob you of your favor, your destiny and your complete rest in the Arms of the Savior.
The strongholds of sin, sex and the flesh are not the only ones which will rob you of your peace of mind or Shalom (rest). There is the stronghold of Unforgiveness! This is a stronghold which will hold you back so much that it can make you the most unpleasant human being to be around.
Have you ever seen people, and most of them 'go to church', who are so negative over everything and everybody that you cannot stand to be around them? They bust on every national of local event. They are annoyed by every little kid running down the church hallways. They comment on every short dress worn by some young married mom. They can't see the reason why the church just bought a new snowblower to clean off the sidewalks to the parking lot. No matter what they reason, they find no joy in life.
If you speak to them long enough, you will find a cause for this effect - they really hate another person. It could be their boss, supervisor or co-worker. It could be Mary Sue across the aisle who stole her boyfriend in high school. It could be Frank down the street who got the promotion at work over you, even if you have been a loyal employee at the office longer than he was. Then you come to find out Frank and the boss' son play in the same golf league and go to the same sports bar! More hate....more opportunity to gripe and complain...more..more...more.....
Have you heard the Name of God in any of these situations? No! The reason is people like this have consumed the spiritual poison of Unforgiveness. They refused to share the pardon and the grace which God has so richly demonstrated for and to them (and us) .....in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. These two examples may well be examples of people who were saved, but their growth is stunted by a lack of joy and love for their fellow human being. These two living examples are reasons why non-christians refuse to join us in corporate worship (notice I did not say 'church'). These two people are reasons non-believers call us 'hypocrites'.
Scripture says in Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV) "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."
This is an example of what we were talking about yesterday (on Strongholds). Refusing to give Grace or listening to counsel to love one another gives the devil an opportunity to put anger in your spirit. This then causes you to sin...and boom - he has a foothold on you...and it's all because you refuse to let it go!
So Father in the Name of Jesus, I come to You now and ask You to search my heart now. Right now, dear God, I know in my own heart, You are constantly revealing sins I committed 30-40 years ago, when I was much younger, so I can be forgiven of them after repentance.
So now, oh God search my very inner core and reveal any spirit of unforgiveness towards anyone which may live in me. If it is something I swept under the carpet so I won't have to deal with it, expose it with the Light of Christ right now, so I can go make peace with that person...even if that person is a close family member or now a former friend who lives 1500 miles away. Lord, let me make it right today. Let today be the beginning of the healing of my soul.
Let me not be consumed, my Father, with the spiritual poison, which may destroy the amazing blessings of true peace, joy and contentment which You have for all Your true children, who have been called to salvation according to the Riches of Christ Jesus the King.
Let me not be carried away by pride and hate and arrogance, which goeth before the fall.
Let me not cut up on the inside while wearing the mask of righteousness, when You know the spiritman or woman in us, is not right with another person...and therefore You.
Holy Spirit, I ask You to now have access to root all that cancer out of my spirit which has spread its tentacles all inside of me. Pull it out by its roots that the fruits of my salvation may be fulfilled and I can live the truly anointed life of Favor and blessing in the Mighty Name of Jesus, amen!
TOMORROW: ARE YOU HYPOCRITE?!
(image by google images)