Strongholds are the walls we build in our minds, hearts, and lives that keep us from embracing the truth of who God is and what His will and purpose for us is. Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 of tearing down strongholds and then defines them as things that are high-minded and have raised themselves up against the knowledge of God. “High-minded” refers to thinking with high moral values or ideals. How can that be bad? When it sets itself up against the knowledge of God, thinking or believing it has a better way of living or doing than what God has established for us in Christ.
In our brokenness and wounding, we can often build up walls of belief that we think are good and better than God’s ways.
“We would have protected us. We would not have let it happen to us in the first place. We can protect ourselves better than God. We will avenge the wrong done to us.”
“God must not be powerful enough. God is mean. God doesn’t know…, God is unfair. Is there a God?”
These are strongholds, often with good intentions, but based on a wrong understanding of God and His plan to save and restore mankind from the Fall that occurred in Genesis 3. They stand in opposition to His very truth revealed in the Word and also in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. They must be taken down and replaced because they will lead us to destruction based in fear, control, bitterness, anger, isolation, revenge.
I want to begin by looking at Isaiah 53. In it we see a person suffering for the wrongs of others. Words like: despised, rejected, suffering, stricken, afflicted, pierced, crushed, punishment, wounds, oppressed, slaughter, judgment, cut off, poured out – are spoken of this person. The one inflicting all this is God. What? God doesn’t hurt people. God is good. God is love.
Remember from our discussion on Monday’s blog that God is holy. We are sinners and sin needs to be punished. The rightful one to be punished is us – we are the sinners and He is righteous in His judgment. Then steps in this person from Isaiah 53 to take OUR pain, bear OUR suffering, be pierced for OUR breaking of the Law, be crushed for OUR sins. The punishment of God on this person was not for THEIR transgressions or sins, but OURS. They are described to us as not having done anything wrong or spoken anything untrue. This punishment is for OUR healing, OUR declaration of “NOT GUILTY!” before God the Father.
Lastly we learn that it was God the Father’s will to crush this person.He punish them IN OUR PLACE, making this one an offering for for OUR sin, proving He was satisfied with the offering by raising them from death, and giving them all the spoils earned by defeating death and sin – glory and the salvation of those whose sins they died for. Who was this person God CHOSE to pour His wrath for sin out on? Who was this sinless one crushed for MY sin?
Jesus. It was God’s plan of buying us back. Jesus’s perfect sacrifice for OUR rotten sinfulness. Sounds fair, right? REALLY?! Heaven’s math crushes the innocent for the healing and salvation and glorification of those who are least deserving of it. Heaven’s math does not add up in light of our brokenness and wounds. We think we deserve to blame God and avenge ourselves and create walls because our way is better than His. Heaven’s math shames my stronghold of thinking that Jesus does not understand our suffering & that our suffering has no good purpose in the will of God.
Jesus came to the earth to die for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us back to God. Jesus told Pilate that he would never have been handed over to him if it were not the will of God. He rose again to show us God’s wrath had been satisfied by this act of willful suffering He endured. The reward? The offspring, sons and daughters, who would believe in the work of the Cross and be saved, living eternally, defeating death’s curse and sin.
Our suffering in the past is not without purpose. God has a perfect plan to make something beautiful from the wounds inflicted. He exists. He is not malicious. He is in control. He will avenge. Everything He gives or allows is for the express purpose of bringing Him glory in the forgiving, healing, and growing us into His likeness.
We can cry out to Jesus because He gets it. He understands. He can sustain, encourage, lift us up through it. We can trust it is part of heaven’s math, where He makes beauty for ashes. The cross is beautiful, not because death is to be glorified, but because it set in motion the releasing of the grace and forgiveness of a loving God to undeserving sinners in need of that very thing bought with Jesus’ shed blood.
Your pain surrendered to the One who gets it, will reap peace, joy, and the ability to love and share with others the grace extended to you in Christ. Tearing down this stronghold frees you to trust God with your life and future, knowing He has a plan and that plan is good.
- In what ways has this stronghold shown itself in your life? What have been its results?
- What is your reaction to what the Father did to the Son as part of His will?
- What would happen if you let heaven’s math bring you freedom, peace, joy, and the ability to love others in your life?
- How could I join you as a life coach/mentor on this journey of tearing down strongholds and living forward with confidence in Christ and without fear?