Last week, we learned that strongholds are lies we believe in or habits and behaviors that bind us and do not let us grow spiritually. Things like addictions, anger, unforgiveness, worry, depression, gambling, lust, pornography, sexual depravation, pedophilia, self-harm, alcoholism, constant lying, arrogance, unbelief, jealousy, gossip, idolatry, and many more can take hold of a person and involve them in a never-ending cycle that can lead to other sins. We all have struggled with a stronghold in our lifetime. That is why we must learn to identify and cast them away. But to begin working with any stronghold, we need to identify the root of the stronghold. Many strongholds have their root in our minds because it is there where we begin to entertain certain conducts until we fall prisoners of temptation and succumb to sin. For the next few weeks, we will give you tips and vital information on how to break free of different strongholds. Today, we will start with the addiction stronghold.
Addiction is often associated with drugs and alcohol, but we can have other addictions, such as addiction to pornography, food, gambling, work, or spending money uncontrollably. Any conduct or habit that you lose control over and can't break free from becomes an addiction. When one of these addictions overcomes you, you become enslaved by it. But you can find freedom and the strength to overcome your addiction through Christ. 5 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1.
The first step to overcoming any stronghold is to acknowledge that the habit or conduct has become a problem for us. We cannot break a stronghold if we are not determined to break free of it. We have to be inclined to begin a process of detoxification and cleansing. After identifying the problem, we need to tell someone about our struggle. When we admit we are struggling, we recognize that we need help and cannot overcome it ourselves. We must confess to God that we have a problem and need His strength and help. We need Jesus because He can heal us in the process, strengthen us, and give us peace. We also need a support group because overcoming an addiction is not something we can do alone. 6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2.
When we identify the stronghold and decide to break free from it, we must stay apart from what is causing it. If someone is struggling with an addiction, that person needs to stay away from any place that makes it hard to overcome their addiction. For example, an alcoholic should refrain from gatherings or places where they know alcohol will be served. A gambler should refrain from going to a casino, and a compulsive buyer needs to set up boundaries that help them not succumb to their buying addiction. If a person does not set limits, they will be constantly attacked by temptation and end up relapsing into the same harmful conduct. Another vital step is to seek professional help. Some addicts may need medical support to be withdrawn safely. You may also need to sign up for a detoxification program or seek psychological therapy. There are multidisciplinary groups that can help you win this battle.
In this process of healing and self-transformation, you will need God by your side. When we struggle with a stronghold, that bondage can be the root of other sins, and God is the one who can give you the strength you need to be free. You must nourish your life with God's Word. His Word will help you break any spiritual bondage that could be causing your weakness toward your addiction. It can also help you be free of shame and condemnation. If you have identified that an addiction has a hold over you, I invite you to seek help. There are great Christian programs to help you overcome your addiction. I also invite you to say this prayer as your first step in acknowledging that you need help:
Lord, I come to you because I've tried everything, and I recognize that by my strength alone, I can't overcome my addiction to___________________. I do not want to be bound by this addiction anymore. I know this addiction is harmful; it's hurting me and those I love, and it is holding me back from becoming the righteous person you created me to be. I surrender to you and ask you to forgive me and help me with the strength to seek help. Help me overcome this stronghold and free me from the shame and all the other sins this addiction has brought into my life. I need you, Lord. Deliverance would not be possible without your help. I want to be free! Please connect me with the resources and people I need to overcome my addiction and win this battle. I surrender to your will, in Jesus' name, Amen!