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