Has someone ever told you a habit can be formed in 21 days? I have. In fact, I think I’ve repeated this little nugget of wisdom a few times. Book after book adopted this mantra. Change your life, adopt highly successful people's habits, practice their discipline, courage, hard-work, within 21 days, voila, you have arrived. But the 21 days is a myth gone wild. There is no magical number. The truth is, it’s all about repetition, determination, and a worldview or mindset.
Really this last point, your worldview is a huge factor. Without a proper worldview/mindset, repetition and determination lose their meaning, failure is almost certain or at best you live a marginal existence.
A follower of Christ has a worldview that is best summed up by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I have determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” This mindset may seem over-simplistic but that truth firmly defines every decision and every act. How? By Christ’s amazing grace, sacrificial love, forgiveness, and mercy. The crucifixion illuminates and illustrates these powerful truths thus becoming the driving force for all believers. From dead lives to restored soaring lives. Changed lives and touched lives are the single greatest demonstration of this worldview.
You would think that based on Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 2:2 he was preaching on a major theological point. Not what he was after. In fact, his point was to underscore a major sin-problem, one that many of the believers in Corinth were seemingly unaware. Notice how Paul addresses their real issue, “ And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.” Something had happened to their worldview of Jesus Christ. To emphasize what that problem was he said, “...for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” 1 Corinthians 3:1,3.
Later Paul would say, “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.”
Paul was describing this special bond he had with the followers of Christ in Corinth. You are like my very own children! I love you! This is not about shaming. This is all about warning! Why a warning? There is one who is perfectly familiar with all the things we have been addressing- habits, worldviews, repetition, and determination. He has all this and then some. He is called the devil. One of his most powerful weapons in called a stronghold. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6.
Why is a stronghold such a powerful weapon? Because a stronghold is developed through repetition. Remember in our last study we discussed the fact that a stronghold is a castle built by massive impenetrable walls. That takes time, repetition, determination. These walls/castles are built in the mind and heart to keep out the influencing effects of God’s word. When you give place to the devil you allow him to gain a foothold in your heart. When this is done satan doggedly secures his territory. The result? Your worldview becomes sidetracked or over time redefined. As with the Corinthians this has terrible and disastrous effects.
Like those in Corinth you are unable to see how worldly you have become. You need to be warned how serious a threat a stronghold is to a believer. In the gripes of a stronghold the productivity and influence of a believer is minimised.
God provides a solution. Jesus Christ. He is the only power to pull down these strongholds in your life. Here’s how.
Expose satan lies- This means identifying and confessing your sin-problem. Be specific.
Shut the door- Confession leads to repentance. Repentance is telling satan I’m with Jesus now get behind me.
Resist the devil- Daily submit to God, recognizing you are powerless without Him.
Pray- Never forget the model prayer of Jesus, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”
Elder, Inspirational Writer
By: Bruce Kessler
If you came upon a black-and-white beetle, about the width of your pinkie about an inch long, with bluish legs and two banded antennas that curved back over the length of its body, what would you do? Scream and run? Squash the thing out of revulsion or fear?
This little creature is not from a distant planet but is one of the most devastating forest pests in existence, destroying millions of trees. Known as the Asian long-horned beetle they feed on leaves, twigs and young barks, producing larvae that tunnel into the very heart of the tree. Over time they choke off the tree's supply of nutrients and kill it.
You may breathe a sigh of relief for not coming across one of these creepy beetles but you need to be warned. If you are a believer you are facing a greater risk and something even more dangerous. Sin.
Your heart and mind is under severe supernatural attack, the devil seeks to penetrate your mind and heart via sin and over time rob you of your spiritual nutrients with the sole purpose of killing your spirit.
This is how.
"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
The writer makes this statement to Christians not unbelievers. He uses an image of a stronghold which carried the idea of a castle or a fortress.
My wife and I vacationed in Germany, Austria and Italy recently. While in Germany we toured the Neuschwanstein Castle built in the nineteenth-century by King Ludwig. Here's the thing about these castles. They typically took 21-25 years to build. Massive walls were designed to fortify a city or a community/family to keep an invading army out. Notice the powerful imagery penned by Martin Luther, "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper he, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing. For still our ancient foe does seek to work us woe."
But the author's use here of a castle was a negative one. Instead of keeping an invading army out the sole purpose of a stronghold is to resist the presence of God and His word's influence.
This is the war that is going on in the mind of a believer. Jesus warned that the devil's goal is to kill, steal, and destroy. Peter speaks of Satan as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Paul warns in Ephesians 4:27, "and do not give place (territory/foothold) to the devil. "
You see, unchecked and unresolved sin is an invitation for the devil to build strongholds in your heart and mind. This is serious stuff. Why? Well, are you suffering from a form of addictive behavior? Drugs? Alcohol? Lying? Porn? Cheating? Stealing? Perhaps there is some secret sin in your life that has made you bitter, resentful, hateful, or spiteful? The list just adds up.
A stronghold is by its very nature designed to keep you locked in a cyclical pattern of sin while offering no real genuine way out. This just adds to defeat, disappointment, shame, and hopelessness. I'm sad to say a great number of believers have allowed strongholds to take root in their heart.
The church is filled with sick people in need of a heart revival.
There is good news.
"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house." Matthew 12:28-29
Jesus Christ is the only power to bind the strong man (Satan) and plunder the castle.
Notice as well that "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." Mighty in God. There is hope and there is promise here that these strongholds can be cast down.
The question is do you trust in this mighty power of God?