I haven’t been posting all of the chapters from the book in this blog, but this is an essential follow up chapter to chapter 13 (freedom) that was posted previously so I am posting this rough draft chapter for those of you who are my “faithful readers” and may benefit from the continuation of the teaching…
Chapter 14- Living Free!
The Message (MSG)
34-36Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through…
After repenting of sin, renouncing the strongholds in our lives and experiencing our first tastes of freedom, there is a tendency to let our guard down in the arena of temptation and sin. We hear the truths from God’s Word, like the scripture above stating that we are free through and through and even emotionally we feel so different, in that time it is easy to assume that those days of warring against those strongholds are over… But I want to caution you in this area of thinking because there is still a battle and there is still an enemy that we have to fight against!
So often I have spoken with people who are attempting to walk out their relationship with Christ, many for the first time, and when they come to this understanding of freedom that they can experience from the strongholds and sin that they have warred against their entire lives there is an excitement! Emotionally, the realization of having freedom in an area that has been such a burden for them for so long is absolutely liberating! And rightfully so!
Although I do not want to discourage the excitement and anticipation of continued breakthrough in your life, I also have to warn you that when the emotion fades and reality sets in, the devil will be waiting for an opportunity to try to slap those chains of bondage back on you! It may not be today or tomorrow, but it will absolutely happen at some point and you need to be ready both mentally and spiritually for it when it happens. Failure to prepare yourself for the attack will likely result in significant disappointment and feelings of failure if you are not expecting the attack and prepared for it.
As we stated in previous chapters, we are in a battle and our enemy is not a physical enemy but a spiritual enemy.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Recognizing that Satan had a plan to destroy your life from very early on and that he obviously had a reason for placing those strongholds in your life at a young age, it would be safe to assume that he had a reason for doing what he was doing. The devil does not want for you to reach your God ordained destiny! He wants you to go through life and never reach your fullest potential because as long as you are deceived into believing that you are less than God created you be, then, you are no threat to Satan and he is free to operate unrestricted in authority in this realm and in your life. The problems arise for Satan when those he has deceived, come to the knowledge of truth that they do not have to be bound any longer! When this happens, Satan loses his authority to operate and cannot fulfill his hate filled desires to destroy man and rob them of their destiny!
Many people do not really think about this, but we were created in the image of God, and Satan HATES God! We are a constant reminder of everything that he is not and never can be! We represent the authority that stripped him of his every selfish desire to be greater than God! So, he accomplishes several purposes when he attacks man. He hurts God because God loves us, he fulfills his own depraved desires to destroy and pervert that which God created to be good and he fulfills the pride that got him kicked out of heaven to begin with when men surrender their will to Satans desires for their lives instead of Gods.
With that understanding, you must know that the devil is not done trying to own you! For years he has occupied a thrown in your life through the strongholds that you submitted to and he will not be content to simply give up the ground that he gained over you during your lifetime. He’ll be back…and when he comes, you need to be ready!
1 Peter 5:8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[a]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
The authority that the devil had in our lives through sin and strongholds was surrendered to him by our choices. And although you have taken a stand and renounced his authority in your life, your choices can open the doors once again to allow him access to reestablish the strongholds that you just overcame! 1 Peter 5:8 (above) was talking to CHRISTIANS warning us as Christians that we need to be vigilant and cautious because the devil is looking for an opportunity to destroy us!
It will not likely be very long after experiencing a victory over Satan that he will come back and try to take back what was previously his. He uses all kinds of tactics, all are deceptive, but one I have seen time and time again. The devil comes in confronting what you experienced with doubt. He tries to get you to question the truth that you just encountered posing questions like, Did you REALLY get free or is this just emotional? He’ll say things like, You’re never going to be able to make it, you are a failure and always have been! etc…
What the devil is attempting to do is uproot the faith that you have placed in the truth of God’s Word so that you do not have anything to stand on for your victory! He knows if he can deceive you into believing that you have not experienced real breakthrough, then you are likely to simply go back to the stronghold that once ruled your life. What you have to realize is this, Satan is a liar! He can’t tell the truth and when he attempts to twist the truth to deceive us into believing a lie he is doing it with an ulterior motive! Below is a scripture reference that further substantiates my position. Here Jesus is describing Satan’s nature by confronting those who are bound by his strongholds.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
44You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false.
In Matthew Chapter 13 Jesus actually addresses the very thing that I am talking about in this chapter as it pertains to Satan coming against us and attempting to uproot the truth that we have come to understand in an attempt to reestablish the strongholds in our lives.
Matthew 13:3-8 & 18-23
The Message (MSG)
A Harvest Story
1-3 At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories.
3-8“What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.
The Meaning of the Harvest Story
18-19“Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.
20-21“The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
22“The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.
23“The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.”
Each person reading this book are the person Jesus was talking about in verse 23. You are the ones who have heard the truth and are applying what you have learned to your life so that it can produce a harvest in your life beyond your wildest dreams. But you will need to be aware that you are not beyond the devils attempts to deceive you into believing a lie. You can overcome him EVERY TIME but he will try to find a way back into your life!
What he wants for you to do is to reopen the door to him through your choices. What I have noticed is that the devil will almost never throw a huge temptation your way initially. Most of the time he will attempt to deceive you into making small compromises. If you previously struggled with a stronghold, he will likely tempt you with sins that you perceive to be not as bad but lead you back to the bondage that you obtained freedom from.
I was speaking with woman named Gina who used to be a meth addict. She came to me asking about smoking marijuana. Gina said, I don’t have any desire to shoot up or smoke crack or do meth anymore, but recently I have been smoking a little pot just to relax at night… Based upon her experiences, she did not view smoking weed as a stronghold because she was never really addicted to smoking weed. As a result, it seemed acceptable to her.
I asked Gina to think back on her life, before she was ever an addict, before she was ever involved in the sex industry, before her life spiraled out of control by her own admission. Then I asked her, what was the first drug you used to get high? She smiled at me and said, Marijuana… I then asked her, Did you ever planned on being an addict when you smoked that first joint? She said, No… Then I asked her, If it had been meth or cocaine that was offered to you all those years ago instead of marijuana would you have taken it…? Again she responded, No…
I went on to explain to Gina how what she perceived to be a small compromise many years ago in smoking marijuana was the catalyst for her addiction and the horrible decisions that accompanied that addiction years later. I then asked her, Why are you willing to take a detour from Gods destiny for your life through the neighborhood of your past weaknesses?
I pose that same question to you today… When the Devil attempts to tempt you with sins that seem trivial in comparison to what you used to do, take a moment and realize that you didn’t get to that point of bondage overnight and the way you ended up there last time was by making one small compromise at a time.
It’s in what we perceive to be little compromises that our lives become bound by sin and strongholds. How many of you have ever looked back on your life and said, How in the world did I get so messed up?! The reason for that feeling of shock is because it didn’t happen overnight and the small compromises didn’t appear to have much consequence attached to them until they set you up for the fall that the devil had been orchestrating for years! Then, when you least expected it and likely in a moment of weakness, BOOM you are looking around at destruction and feel completely overwhelmed and dumbfounded as to how you ended up there…
The devil doesn’t care if it takes a year or ten years to get you back into bondage as long as your are progressing toward your destruction. He has a plan and when you are blindly allowing yourself to submit to the small compromises, you are being deceived and manipulated like a pawn toward his big destruction for your life…One small move at a time!
This is why you have to be diligent and determined to not fall back into the devils trap for your life! I have a saying that I use frequently when I counsel with people, Do what is right because it is right… So many times I see people looking for a loophole to justify sin. They are attempting to find a reason that it will be ok for them to compromise a little and they excuse it because they feel like they are doing so much better than they did before.
What you absolutely have to realize is this, sin is sin. Big or small, the bible says that the wages of sin is death!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
17So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.
You’ve already spent enough time Doing Time or living life in bondage to sin and strongholds! Don’t get free and then let your guard down assuming that you won’t go back to that bondage. You’ve already proven to yourself that you are capable and even in some cases, predisposed to being bound by those strongholds so it is necessary at this point, once you have repented of the sin and renounced your agreement with the strongholds that previously bound you, that you now place your agreement in the truth of God’s Word.
When the devil comes against you with his lies, deceits and manipulations, stand your ground and speak out loud against him!
I love what Jesus exampled in the Bible as it pertains to Satan trying to tempt him. Jesus was physically very weak. He had gone 40 days without food and the devil attacked him, much like he does us…When we are already weak…
Amplified Bible (AMP)
1THEN JESUS, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led in [by] the [Holy] Spirit
2For (during) forty days in the wilderness (desert), where He was tempted ([a]tried, tested exceedingly) by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, He was hungry.
3Then the devil said to Him, If You are the Son of God, order this stone to turn into a loaf [of bread].
4And Jesus replied to him, It is written, Man shall not live and be sustained by (on) bread alone [b]but by every word and expression of God.
5Then the devil took Him up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the habitable world in a moment of time [[c]in the twinkling of an eye].
6And he said to Him, To You I will give all this power and authority and their glory (all their magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, and grace), for it has been turned over to me, and I give it to whomever I will.
7Therefore if You will do homage to and worship me [[d]just once], it shall all be Yours.
8And Jesus replied to him, [e]Get behind Me, Satan! It is written, You shall do homage to and worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.
9Then he took Him to Jerusalem and set Him on [f]a gable of the temple, and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, cast Yourself down from here;
10For it is written, He will give His angels charge over you to guard and watch over you closely and carefully;
11And on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
12And Jesus replied to him, [The Scripture] says, You shall not tempt (try, [g]test exceedingly) the Lord your God.
13And when the devil had ended every [the complete cycle of] temptation, he [temporarily] left Him [that is, [h]stood off from Him] until another more opportune and favorable time.
There are a couple of things I would like to point out from this passage of scripture as we close out this chapter. When Jesus combated the devils temptation, He did it with his spoken words! As we addressed in the previous chapter, speaking out loud to the mountains in our lives is an aspect of how we use our God given authority in this earth.
The next thing I would like to emphasize is that Jesus spoke the Word of God against the Devil! God has given us His Word and it is so important that we learn what it says as it pertains to the areas that we have previously struggled under bondage of strongholds! That way, when the devil does attack, we can speak what God says about us and declare our agreement with the Word of God and who we are now in Christ, rather than allowing the lies of Satan to deceive us!
Finally, even after we experience victory, we have to realize that the Devil will be back when the timing is favorable or opportune (see verse 13). So it is important that we continue to do what is right because it is right and make the choices for our lives that we know will please God.
If you are unsure of what that means completely, it’s ok, God is faithful to continue to reveal Himself to you and show you more and more what He desires for you and from you. Just do your part by talking to God and asking Him to show you what you need to understand!
That’s the amazing thing about God, He loves us and wants us to succeed! As we seek His desires for our lives, He will fill in the blanks with the necessary relationships, knowledge and understanding… This book is just one of those fill in the blanks for you today… He is faithful!
Amplified Bible (AMP)
5Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
6In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.