New Hope Notes
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Good morning, I’m pleased that you all could make it. Today, I want to talk about strongholds and overcoming strongholds, the definition of what a stronghold is, where does it come from, and how do you overcome it.
All of us have pictures that always go through our minds. You see, our minds are like movie theaters, and across that canvas comes dancing pictures and pictures of your life. And often those pictures are not necessarily good pictures. God created us to be visual beings, and so we see things.
But when push comes to shove, often it degenerates into negative kinds of pictures, and we just kind of watch it and we get focused on it. These negative images that come across tell us that people don't like us, our marriage is going to fall apart, our business is going to fail, and finances are no good. And then what happens is it causes fear to come in, and when fear comes in, you and I start to make some bad decisions based on fear.
And when that happens, now we have the collateral damage of those bad decisions because the enemy wants you to keep thinking the worst so you don't expect God's best, and he distracts you. And the more we focus on that one channel of that thing coming across our minds, it becomes a stronghold because the more you watch it, the more you focus on it, the more you believe it.
Now, most of those things are not true. They won't come to pass. They're just things that we fear and it comes across our minds. Of course, 99.9 percent of those things don't come to pass, and the .1 percent that does, God gives you and me an uncanny grace. And when it's all done, we look back and realize that God used it for good.But the rest, it won't come to pass. It's not reality. And the devil knows it's not reality, so the next best thing he can do is to convince you that it is.
And when you are convinced that it is, it becomes a stronghold because then you let it hold you hostage and you never become what God wants you to become. The confidence that you thought you'd have is not there. What you could have done you don't do, and it remains a potential of what could have been done but never was.
And the enemy would love to keep you from realizing your potential. So sometimes during the day we're listening to a radio channel with newscasts that focuses on your faults and your mistakes. It's a recording of everything you've done poorly, and we rehearse that again and again. I don't know why we do, but we do, thoughts like you're too wishy?washy. You don't dress as good as the lady that's sitting in front of you. Don't look at her! You blew your diet yesterday. Don't look at yourself! You're still struggling with that bad habit. That tattoo you put on your chest is now dropping, and it's now by your thighs. It started in the forest, and it migrated southward beyond the border. Voices like “You should be ashamed of yourself because God sure is not pleased with you now” echo in your mind!
And you see, the enemy's goal is to get you to listen to that channel again and again and over and over until to get you so disenchanted that you don't like yourself anymore. That's his goal. Strongholds happen here. Remember, Satan is a headhunter. Your mind is his battlefield. Your imagination is his trophy. He wants to control your imagination, and he is taking that channel that you have right here and he's putting his content on it and wants you to play audience to it. And so when you hear these things again and again, his goal is to get you to a point where you just don't like yourself, and once that happens, a stronghold has begun to build.
And when you don't like yourself, there's one huge problem. There's only one person in the universe you can't get away from, and that's you. You can get away from your friends. You can get away from your family. You can get away from your neighbors. But you can't get away from you!
So if the enemy can get you to dislike you, you're going to have a really tough life. But that's his goal because then he gets you so disenchanted that he distracts you from the promises of God.
Now, each of us has things we're working on. Every single one of us are in process. But that's why we've got to be patient because God is not finished with us yet.
Actually, we are all on the potter's wheel. In Romans chapter 9 it says that. Jeremiah chapter 18 says he's the potterand we are the clay. And who are we, the clay, to tell the potter, “Hey, hurry up. Spin the wheel faster, get moving,”?
God says that He's changing us from glory to glory and He wants us to enjoy the glory.What's more, God controls the speed of the potter's wheel. What stage of glory are you in?
Now, sometimes we compare with other people and say, “Why is that one doing so well and I am struggling?” Maybe the only difference is that that person over there has learned to enjoy his or her place in the process that God has them in right now and we're not.
So how do we overcome strongholds? 2 Corinthians 10:3-5says "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." In other words, if God is not thinking that way about me, I've got to bring that thought into captivity which means that thought does not control me. I have to learn how to control it and cast it down. It's not God's job but your job to cast it down.
Now remember this: Don't let your mind tell you how to think. And do not do what people say - to just follow your heart. Instead, let the Holy Spirit teach you how to think. That's why Jeremiah 17 says that the heart is deceptive above all else. Even if there's so many negative things coming your way, remember, the Bible says that He would work all things, even negative things, for the good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.
See, we have to make a choice. The devil wants you to believe that you have just one channel going, and he's going to put his content on it. But you got the remote, and you have to learn to change channels. So you got to build other channels.
See, channel 2 could be full of scriptures. So When I'm starting to feel badly I can tune in to those scriptures that will encourage me in my walk with Christ.
Moreover, channel 3 could say your wife loves you and she still thinks you're amazing even after you're 65 years old.
You see, we've got to eradicate or erase those things that people and circumstances have written on your window. And it's your responsibility to take care of your window, not everybody else's. They're going to put graffiti on it. But one of the best erasers is the Word of God. God's Word can destroy all of the lies of the enemy.
And that's why on the Mount of Temptation, when the enemy came to mess with Jesus's head, every time He said,"It is written." Sometimes, you'll feel that you have no recourse against the graffiti of the devil, and every single one of us will go through that.
Can you make these commitments with me? Number one, let's make a commitment to trust God with the process and enjoy the stage of glory that we're in right now.
Number two, make a commitment to cast down imaginations that don't match up to what God thinks about you.
And the third is let's make a commitment to have the Word of God tell our minds what to think and our heart what to feel so that we will be a people who have the mind of Christ and we're a people after His own heart.
You know, God's going to touch your life again and again, but you've got to posture yourself to be able to receive that touch. Do you remember when that woman was in the crowd and people were bumping up against Jesus and all of a sudden Jesus stopped and said, "Somebody touched Me." And everyone said, "What are You talking about? People are bumping into You." And this is what Jesus said, basically: "There's a difference between people bumping into me and people reaching out to touch me."
You can come to church and bump into Jesus. You can be around Christians and go to a concert and bump into Jesus, but there's a big difference between people who just bump into Jesus and men and women who are reaching out to touch him. I'm going to posture myself because when I reach out to touch Him, He'll turn around and He'll take a hold of my hand. He knows.
Some of you are in a place right now that you're on the potter's wheel and you're saying, “God, you either need to hurry up or get me off this wheel,” and the Lord says, “Would you just reach out and touch Me, and when you do, I'll grab a hold of your hand. When I touch your mind, things will change.”
I'm asking that God would just reach out and touch your heart. If you say, “But I'm a woman with an unclean heart,” God would still touch your heart. If you say, “I'm a man of an unclean mind,” God would still reach out and touch your mind. And He'll say, “Let's do this together because you're not just bumping into me. You're reaching out for me, aren't you? Yes. Then come.” Amen!
1. What is a stronghold and how do we overcome it?
2. What is the meaning of the potter's wheel in our relationship with God?
3. What stage of glory are you in?
4. Why do we need to build more than one channel?
5. What are the three commitments we can make?