PJ’s Daily Devotional for Friday, January 20, 2017
Do you have strongholds that need to be destroyed in your life?
A stronghold is a military term that gives us the image of an enemy fortress that has been established on your rightful homeland that causes you to live a limited life; a life other than abundance Jesus’ promised. In everyday ways, a stronghold is like a kink in a garden hose—a garden hose is intended to bring fresh drinkable water from the source to the destination, but the stronghold (kink) blocks the flow of God’s Spirit through you so that you do not manifest the fruit of the Spirit or utilize the gifts of the Spirit for the building of God’s Kingdom on earth.
“For 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, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).
In the context, Paul is specifically talking about strongholds of thought, ideas, and the accompanying behaviors that flow from unbiblical belief systems. Let me contextualize this with a common issue in contemporary Christianity: the seemingly incompatible claims of science and faith.
How do we, as thinking students and learned adults, win this battlefield of the mind without giving ourselves over to an unbiblical worldview?
I believe science brings value to the conversation, but it is not my authority. For example, in addition to my seminary Master of Divinity education, I have an additional graduate degree in counseling. I am steeped in reading and discussion in psychology, counseling, and human development theory. I enjoy this field of study and I am even taking a doctoral class in Christian counseling currently, but the science and theory of psychology cannot become a high place of learning or a stronghold of humanism in my mind or heart. Let me say it this way, all truth is God’s truth!
God has given us the sciences to understand His creation, including people and relational dynamics, but God never intended for us, His people, to lift that gift (sciences and higher education) above the Gift-giver. Science and all our higher education cannot become idols (high places to the worship of human ideas); they must remain in their proper place, which means our liberated learning and “lofty opinions” need to remain under the authority of God’s revealed Word. The Bible and science are not in opposition to one another as long as science knows its place!
Do you read books? I do; I enjoy reading. I am usually reading no less than 4 books at a time plus my daily Bible readings and devotion writing. But I have a personal boundary in my life. I do not read any other book until I have first read, studied, meditated on, written about, and prayed over the Word of God. The Bible comes first so that my mind is girded with the Truth. Writing these daily devotions and all that the process includes is a part of how I win the battlefield of the mind every day; it’s a pathway of intimacy with God for me! It’s setting me up for a daily victory!
This is one of the ways I practically fulfill Paul’s exhortation in today’s passage—destroy strongholds; lower high-places, and take every thought captive SO THAT I may walk in obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ and bring God glory through my transformed life.
My goal in this life is to not to live in opposition to God’s Word because of my affluence of education, but rather to use all that I have (including my education) to the glory of God.
How are you structuring your life for daily victories?