Satan gets a foothold into our lives when we align ourselves with his lies and give place to sin.
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In this message we'll look at strongholds, the enemy's access points that can compromise God's power and purposes in our lives. We're also going to cover how these access points are established and how they can be dismantled.
In the fourth message in this series we mentioned that if I have inside of me the fullness of the power of Jesus Christ that raised him from death, it's not an issue of needing more power. A lot of times in the church of Jesus Christ we think we need more power. But in salvation, in our union with Christ we have the power that raised Christ from death. That's a pretty significant starting point. So it's not an issue of needing more power; it's an issue of why that power is not being released in my life. How can I see that power released in an increased measure to live triumphantly in Christ? I'm doing and carrying out the life and ministry of Jesus, seeing the kingdom of God advance through my life into others' lives, and a statement is made on behalf of the kingdom of God. Beyond that, the answer to how to live triumphantly in Christ is to understand what strongholds are.
Salvation does not end our capacity to sin. Sin does not stop at salvation. It continues on, and we're in for a life of contending against sin. Paul highlights this in Romans 7:18-25:
I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. [And that's a key phrase there. It's "at war with my mind."] This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Fundamentally it's in our relationship with Jesus Christ at salvation that we're released from this bondage of sin and death, but the problem is that, even once we become a believer, we will still battle with this bondage of sin and death. For part of my life, I would discipline myself and try harder through my battle with this bondage, but sometimes the more I tried the more intense the battle would become. What we're going to learn in this message is how without that striving we're going to be able to get victory over some of those besetting sins, areas, and issues that are in our lives. And so if in faith, Jesus sets us free, why do sincere believers who love God and have a passion for God still struggle in these areas of lustful thoughts, pride, depression, fear, anger, or any other ungodly attitudes and behaviors?
Mike Riches is pastor of Harborview Christian Fellowship in Gig Harbor, Washington, director of the Sycamore Commission, and author of Living Free.