Devotional Reading Hebrews 4:14-16 – ODB 12.01.14 –
[twocolumns]Because sin is entrenched in our spiritual DNA, we ought not to be unnecessarily surprised when we find ourselves wanting to sin, or actually sinning in thought, in word and in actions. We are all off to a bad start. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.(Psalm 51:5). “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12-19) We understand that we come to God through confession of our sin to Jesus Christ, repenting and asking Him to forgive us and save us..
We understand that even after we have received God’s salvation, there will still be temptation and there will still be sin in our lives.
We understand that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).
We understand that we do not deliberately sin just because we know that Jesus Christ has paid the price for every sin that we will ever commit. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:1-4) We understand that God’s Holy Spirit lives within us and if we allow him, He will guide us into all truth.
Finally, we are told in Hebrews 4:14-16, “… For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin…”
But for many of us, in at least one area of our life, things do not seem as straightforward as we would like it to be. We struggle with what appears to be hardened sins that have taken hold of us and from which we do not seem to be able to obtain any relief. These sinful areas in our lives over which we now seem to have no control are called strongholds of the Devil. In some instances, society refers to them as addictions.
There are two parts to overcoming sinful addictions and strongholds. Part 1 is to recognize a stronghold of the Devil in our life as something for which we must accept responsibility. It is the Devil’s job to lie to us, tempt us, to steal from us, to kill us and to destroy us. That is what we must always expect from the Devil. But we must also recognize that, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:13-15)
The second part to overcoming addictions and strongholds consists of two simultaneous processes. The first is the spiritual, which begins, with confession, repentance and asking God’s Holy Spirit to strengthen you. The second process is practical and involves hard work, over time. A stronghold is not established overnight and will not disappear overnight. You have to destroy the bad habit by habitually replacing it with something good, and starving it of the “food” on which it feeds. At first you may not succeed, but you must rely on God’s help to persevere. You must claim the assurance that greater is he that in in you than he that is in the world.
And after you have won the victory by the help of God, remember that the easiest way to avoid a stronghold, is to destroy the first sign of “little” sins, by confession and repentance. These are the sins that grow up into big strongholds and additions. Be encouraged by the Apostle Paul who confessed that he found himself habitually doing the evil that he did not want to do. Then he gave us the secret for victory. (Romans 7:14-25; Philippians 4:13)[/twocolumns]