Mission Devotional - August 29, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Strongholds

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you alone hold the power to demolish the strongholds in our lives. Will-power won’t do it. Good old-fashioned grit and determination won’t do it. All of our best efforts and intentions won’t do it. We’ve tried all that - over and over - and found it woefully lacking. Only you can give us what we need; the grace and the strength and the power and the courage to face our real enemies head on and overcome them with your truth. Thank you that your truth, Lord Jesus, is the only thing that can set us free. Amen.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Journal: What are the strongholds in your life? What are the narratives underneath your sinful patterns and behavior? How will you make time and space for Jesus to overcome those false narratives with his truth?

Reflection: I used to think that strongholds were certain behaviors that I just could not overcome. But now that I'm a little older, I think it goes way deeper than that. Sure the behaviors are destructive, and not at all what God wants for me, but the real problem lies underneath. For underneath every behavior is a goal, and under every goal is a belief. And every belief is fueled by a narrative. If we are willing to dig down far enough, we will eventually uncover the reason for the behavior, and the narrative that fuels it. If we truly desire to change; if we truly desire to eliminate the dysfunctional behavior, we cannot merely cut it off at the surface (for it will eventually grow back), we must uproot it completely. We must uncover the narrative that lies underneath. That is the stronghold.

In order to destroy the strongholds in my life, I cannot just decide to behave differently. I don't know about you, but I've tried that over and over and over again. It just doesn't work - at least not for long. Real change comes when I begin to change the way I think. I must uncover the narratives that drive me to certain behaviors, and then I must make space and time for the Spirit of God to reveal the truth, which sets me free. I must change my narratives in order to change (long term) my behavior.

That's where the taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ comes in. I must dig down to what I really believe, to the narrative that I am allowing to guide my thinking, and hold it up to the light, to the truth of Christ - the narratives of Jesus. For only then will I be able to know what the truth really is. And only then will that truth be able to set me free.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Global Partner Focus: Africa

Sybil Baloyi lives in Mozambique and runs a preschool for orphaned and vulnerable children. Pray today for new teachers in the school that they may adjust quickly and enjoy being part of the team.

The New Anglican Missionary Society or NAMS Network is a global and dispersed community of men and women who have come together to do an apostolic work under an apostolic rule. As missionary servants of the gospel, they carry in their hearts the desire to see the gospel of Jesus Christ reach to the ends of the earth, giving everyone the opportunity to respond to the love of God in Christ Jesus. Pray today for their work in Southeast Asia.

Closing Prayer: Set us free, Lord Jesus; today and every day. Amen.