In the process of going through old journals I find myself focusing on areas where I needed resolution and healing. I often prayed that God might search my heart exposing anything where my heart and thinking were being held captive by old beliefs or “strongholds” formed from my years in the fellowship. A stronghold (as defined by Beth Moore) are things we hold onto that end up holding us.
Beth Moore, Christian writer and author, has written an amazing Bible study and book on the very subject of strongholds entitled Breaking Free. It is a good read for anyone in the process of breaking free from the hold the group/system has on you, or any other thing that may be a stronghold in your life. Her life-changing tools, all laid out in the Scripture, show you how to break free. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 is a key passage.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
I wouldn’t dare to address this subject since she has already done a brilliant job of it. What do I mean when I write about the strongholds of the meeting culture or system? It is the hold on your thinking and your choices that keep/kept you in that system out of fear. If you have never considered this before I recognize how huge and extremely difficult this subject might be.
Here are some of the strongholds I’ve struggled with over the years. Can you identify with them?
- Staying because you are afraid to leave;
- Keeping the unwritten rules of the group because you are afraid not to or feel obligated to keep them;
- If you have already left the meetings, are you afraid of running into the friends and workers now?
- Convinced that belonging to the group insures your entry into heaven and if you leave, you are going to hell?
- Do you attend every scheduled meeting because you are afraid not to? Either because you may lose “points” that you hope you are storing up to insure your salvation or because you don’t want the disapproval of the workers or friends?
- (For women) wearing dresses or skirts every day when you are out and about because you are afraid to be caught not doing so?
- Do you put your hair up before you leave the house because you are afraid to be caught with it down? Or the day you put a little bit of make-up on, you are constantly on the lookout for the friends or workers? Or you hope they think your hair is just naturally never turning gray? Or it just doesn’t seem to grow any longer?
- Does the approval of the group mean more to you than that approval of God? (And no, they are not synonymous.)
- Are any of you workers staying in the Work because you are afraid to leave for any number of reasons?
- Are you convinced that everyone outside of the group is “lost”?
- Would you fear reading anything written by a Christian author because you first of all did not believe they are indeed Christians’ and then, that by reading something like that you might be deceived? Would you be afraid anyone in the group might find out you had read something written by a Christian author?
- Have you been convinced to lead a small life and you have forgotten all about the fact that Jesus promised us an abundant life if we followed Him?
- To not believe in spiritual gifts or miracles or to expect answered prayers, or that it is ok to pray for big things as well as small things?
- Do you believe that only the “lost” could be in captivity?
- Or that Jesus doesn’t care about whatever has broken your heart through the years?
- Do you believe that you just have to cope with the empty places in your heart and life rather than have them filled with the Holy Spirit and with God’s healing love?
- What does freedom in Christ mean to you? Are you afraid of the Gospel of Grace?
- Do you take the Bible literally or rationalize some of it away?
These are just a FEW of the areas of bondage that might be binding our life.
This process of breaking free is just that; a process. Healing takes time. Lots of time. Immerse yourself in the true Word of God and in His heart. Surround yourself with others who are truly free in Christ. The only stronghold we want in our life is the Lord Himself.
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”