Recognizing the “It Depends”

A few weeks ago I preached part 1 of a topic called “Barriers to the Animated Life” and we talked about strongholds.  If we are really honest, many of us keep doing the same stupid things over and over.  Many times, (after we did the same stupid thing again) we ask “why did I do that?”

One of the biggest reasons why we keep doing the same things over and over again are our strongholds.   Everyone has them and they influence our lives often without us realizing it.   At the deepest level of our being, strongholds make our life make sense.

If you want the simplest definition of a spiritual stronghold it is the set of beliefs, values, and perceptions that give meaning to our life.  Sometimes our strongholds form by the way we were raised and sometimes they form because of past painful events.  Either way, strongholds shape our life.

To put it another way, strongholds make our life make sense.

Three Kinds of Strongholds. 

As we take inventory of our lives, we can have three kinds of strongholds:  godly, ungodly, and “it depends”.  The first two, godly or ungodly strongholds, are usually easy to figure out.  My challenge is when things fall into the “it depends” category.  Then things get a bit weirder.

The first two, godly or ungodly strongholds, are usually easy to figure out.  My challenge is when things fall into the “it depends” category.  Then things get a bit weirder.

An “It Depends” Example

Let me give an “it depends” example.  A common stronghold here in Muskegon is that we value hard work.  We value working for a living, we value providing for our families, we value being self-sufficient.  In my neighborhood, there are so many people who have either retired from working after long careers or are currently working to provide for their families.  We take great pride in hard work, self-sufficiency, and independence.

So my question is, is that a godly value or an ungodly value?  Unfortunately, that falls into the category of “it depends”.   Here’s why. . .

On one hand, God’s word teaches us in Timothy, that if a person does not provide for their family he is worse than an unbeliever.  So God expects, that if we are able, we are to work hard and provide for our family.  To be self-sufficient if we can be.

But what happens if I take that value and bring it into my relationship with Jesus?   If I come into relationship with Jesus saying I need to be self-sufficient and work hard to be saved, that is a problem.  I have actually heard people say that they can not come to church because my life is too messed up.  I need to fix my life and then go to church.  That’s backward.

The truth is that if I can get a relationship with Jesus by working hard for it. . . . then it is not faith.  

If I bring this belief that says, I need to work hard, I need to be self-sufficient into my spiritual life, then I have built a huge barrier between God and me.

 

Learning To Recognize Strongholds

The thing that I want people to take away from this, more than anything else is “ask questions”.  We don’t often think to question the strongholds in our life because they are deep in our lives from even before we could even talk.  We inherited them from our parents and all over the place.  So most of the time we don’t question them.  

I am inviting you to question your values and your worldviews.  Make sure they line up with God’s word.   

Join the Conversation Below:  How do you determine if your deeply held beliefs are godly or not?

 

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