A HOME UNDER CONSTRUCTION
This framed picture you see is a home under construction. The features of the house have not been put into place. Almost nine years ago, are current house we are living in had started it’s building process. This was our fourth home that we had bought in 46 years but our first home-built from scratch. We wanted special features to make it “special”. A gas-fired fireplace, “Corian” countertops, Hardy-Plank siding and a lot more. Is it perfect? No, there is always imperfections when it comes to building and living in a house.
“BUT when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid] places in search of rest, but it does not find any. Then it says, I will go back to my house from which I came out. And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated” (Matthew 12:43-44).
Although the nature of an unclean spirit is, by definition, spiritual and not physical, it still seeks a dwelling place, a “house” where it may “rest“. JESUS revealed that there is a proportion to human nature that actually can host an evil spirit and provide it a type of rest. If that’s true, I want to expose the nature of man and uncover that fact which can become the “construction material” within which a spirit might ‘hang his hat’ in your closet.
HUMAN NATURE MAKEUP
What “human nature” has in a similar substance and makeup to the nature of the evil one is the “carnal thought-life”. What does that mean? That means it’s a measurement or dimension of the soul, or personality, of a man. Mr. Frangipane says, “it is uniquely in our uncrucified thoughts and unsanctified attitudes that unclean spirits, masking themselves as our thoughts and hiding themselves in our attitudes, find access into our lives.”
Jesus goes on to say, “and when [the unclean spirit] arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So also shall it be with this wicked generation (Matt. 12:44-45).
If you are going to be successful in spiritual battle, your strategy must be waged according to God’s Word in your Bible. If you think you can wage war against the devil and his agents on your own thinking, your wrong. The necessity of bringing Christ into the battle or there is a danger that the last state of “that man” might become “worse than the first” (Matt. 12:45; 2 Peter 2:20). “Christ must enter and be allowed to build His house of righteousness in the very area where Satan once dwelt”. Deliverance should not be attempted for anyone unwilling to submit their thought-life to Jesus Christ.
REMOVING THE ARMOR
“When the strong man [Satan], fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his belongings are undisturbed [his property is at peace and is secure]. BUT when one stronger [JESUS]than he attacks him and conquers him, he robs him of his whole armor on which he had relied and divides up and distributes all his goods as plunder.” –Luke 11:21-22
The armor upon which demons rely consists of three elements which are in agreement with evil:
What Jesus described as “ARMOR“, the apostle Paul calls “strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:1-4). It is important to recognize that, in speaking of strongholds, the apostle is speaking to the church. Don’t be foolish to think that our salvation experience has done away with all the wrong ideas and attitudes–the strongholds–which are still influencing our thinking and behavior. Yes, “old things passed away, and truly new things have come”, but until we are walking in the fulness of Christ, we can’t assume the process change is completed.
THE “STRONGHOLD OF UNBELIEF”
When we go on the quest to destroy demonic strongholds, the second “fortress” that must be annihilated is the stronghold of unbelief. This is the embedded thinking–that tells us Christlikeness is impossible–which holds all further spiritual growth hostage. This is a lie! It put chains around our hearts which must be stripped from our lives. If you are suffering from this stronghold which says you will never be like Jesus, that stronghold can begin to come down right now.
You can pray right where you are: Lord Jesus, I submit to You. I declare, according to Your Word, that because of Your power to subject all things to Yourself, the weapons of my warfare are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-4). I repent for using the lie, “I will never be like Jesus”. In Jesus Name.
Repentance means “change”, not merely saying “I’m sorry”. Our thinking must change.
THE STRONGHOLD OF FAILURE!
Remember that a stronghold is a “house of thoughts”. We know that we are in a type of warfare; Paul explained that our success is based on taking “leading every and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Our goal then is to allow the Holy Spirit full access into our souls, we must capture our thoughts and make them Christ’s slaves.
There seems at times that there are herds of false thoughts roaming across our thought-lives, grazing on the hay and stubble of unbelief and failure. Thoughts like, “I will always be a failure,” “I am just a sinner,” or “I tried walking in the Spirit but it didn’t work,” all come together as “building material” for the walls, floor, and ceiling of our spiritual house; the stronghold of failure.
Capture the thought: “I am a failure!” Repent of it, asking God to forgive you of your unbelief. Let your mind be renewed by the Word of God, which says, “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]” (Phil. 4:13 Amp.). Even though you have failed and will probably fail again in the future, now because God is in your life you can confidently state, “Though I was a failure, my sufficiency comes from God, not myself. I am fully able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Capture the thought: “I am just a sinner!” Replace that thought with the confession of your faith which says, “Though I WAS A SINNER, now I am a beloved child of God and, though I occasionally miss the mark, the blood of Jesus cleanses me from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
ESTABLISHING YOUR ATTITUDES WITH A GOAL
The goal and purpose of your salvation is that you be conformed to the likeness of Christ. Does not God’s Word say in Romans 8:29, “For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren”?
As long as we recognize that our salvation is a continual transformation, and that we are changing from “one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18) into the image of Christ, we should not be discouraged by the strongholds we discover; nor will occasional setbacks leave us unuseful.
DESTROYING THE STRONGHOLD OF FEAR!
My wife tells the story when she was in high school, a teacher had required that the students give an oral paper of a subject in literature. Although speaking in public is my joy–her’s not so much. She feared the upcoming experience so much, she ignored researching her chosen topic; by the way, the topic she had chosen, her teacher had done a paper for a master’s degree in college. She became fidgety and extremely nervous as she stood at the podium, feeling that she needed to somehow stabilize herself. She proceeded to pull over the teacher’s trash can next to the podium, then folded one knee over the can, while standing straight with the other leg. Well, you are probably ahead of the story but her knee became wedged down tightly in the trash can so firmly, that she could not remove it! She is standing there now, given her oral report with a trash can stuck on her knee and scared to death of her eventual grading by the teacher and the embarrassment toward her classmates. OUCH! I think her fellow students called her “trash can Dianne” for the rest of the school year.
Your experiences can tell you that if you try something new, especially in front of people, you may be embarrassed and rejected. This fear was a stronghold in Dianne’s life until about four years ago and thing began to change; I’ll let her tell you that story. That silent, fearful withdrawal into herself had become a house made of thoughts, where dwells a spirit of fear. God does not want her in bondage and He doesn’t want us in bondage from our past experiences.
Always remember: Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips; but it will not be consummated until the nature of Jesus is in our hearts. It’s not enough to have your “house…swept, and put in order” (Matt. 12:44); your thought-life must be occupied by the Person of Christ. As you strive to yield yourself to Christ, He will remove Satan’s armor from your mind. He will show you what you need to bring down. You will see the weapons of your warfare are mighty, to the pulling down of strongholds!
In PART 3, I will next delve into THE BATTLEGROUND OF THE CHURCH.