The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4–5, esv).
Much has been written and discovered about the impact of both personal disposition and family dysfunction, as they relate to our behaviors in life. And it’s true. They’re real. They do affect us. Even the Bible, both through story and direct teaching, acknowledges the presence of these motivators and how they can push us in varying degrees toward doing wrong.
Yet the weight of Scripture doesn’t come down with nearly as much force as we might like upon these two elements of identity, as if they’re what’s most to blame for why we’ve ended up with whatever traits and hang-ups we excuse as unavoidable. Yes, our disposition can bend us toward a path of sinning. Troubles in our families of origin can be what began our movement in that direction. But our own behavior is the leading driver that grabs us around the shoulders and hurls us toward the sinful outcomes we experience every day.
We do it.
Our strongholds blow up through our own decisions. We are the ones who make our own wrong choices about . . .
Anger. “I need my anger to get things done. If I didn’t get angry, nobody would ever do anything around here.”
Covetousness. “Money means security, and security means happiness, so I’ve got to have more money.”
Control. “If I don’t stay in control, I’ll end up being hurt. So I can’t let this go and I can’t let anyone in.”
Individualism. “The only person I can count on is me. I don’t need help. I don’t even need prayer. I only need myself.”
False guilt. “Every bad thing that happens to me is punishment for my past. I know God says He forgives people, but He can’t forgive me—not for what I’ve done.”
Rebellion. “No one tells me what to do. I do what I want to do. I don’t care what anybody says.”
Pride. “I’m better than other people. More special. I can get away with things that others can’t.”
Idolatry. “I need to have this. Not want it—need it. I live for it. It’s everything to me.”
Fear. “Something bad is coming. I can feel it. I just know it. And it’s my job to stop it. Nobody else seems worried about it, but I can’t keep from worrying about it.”
Unbelief. “Nothing is settled. Nothing is certain. Everything is random. All is hopeless.”
Skepticism. “Everybody’s out to get me. No one’s who they say they are. They’re all insincere. Nobody cares.”
Escapism. “I’ll do whatever it takes to dull the pain. When I think about what’s so hard and upsetting in my life . . . well, I just can’t think about it.”
But we’d better think about it. Because nothing will be different until we think differently. None of these strongholds will show any cracks in their tough exteriors until we take responsibility for putting them here in the first place, and stop feeding them the junk food of our own sinfully accommodating behavior.
Are you tired of conceding victory to your anger, covetousness, control, and whatever else? Stop blaming your personality. Stop blaming your parents. Instead, start changing your thinking. Your behavior—and your strongholds—will start showing the difference.
Lord, I know that nothing has ever entered my life without being allowed by Your hand for Your purposes. You are my God, and I praise You. I know You are working even greater things for me through every challenge. But show me where my own behavior and thinking are all that’s preventing me from experiencing greater freedom as Your child. I want to honor You in all that I do, so I pray for Your help. In Jesus’ name, amen.