STRONGHOLDS OF THE MIND PROHIBIT GROWTH
My 6-year-old son and I sat down together as we regularly do to practice his reading abilities. Just like times in the past, he tried to dodge having to take the time to read and do his homework… He tried to read that same book that he always reads and has all the words memorized… He tried to give enough resistance through frustration and tactics to avoid having to grow in his capacity to read. We know our son can read well—we’ve taught him to sound out difficult words he’s never read before and we’ve practiced consistently with him, having easy days and not so easy days. This time however, it seemed he was not going to budge on having to read a new, more challenging book.
As parents, we know our children, and it is our responsibility to discern from the Spirit of God what He is saying our children need from us. I then remembered all the times our son has pushed back in a similar way when it came to learning a new sport or not winning the family board game. So, I asked the question, “Are you embarrassed by how you read?” He admitted that he didn’t like to read in front of other people, because he often didn’t feel he could read as well as they do. With this piece of golden information, I reminded him, just like all the times with learning a new sport, that he has permission to learn and grow, and that growth comes through practice. The very definitions of learning and growing imply that you are not done yet, but you are on the path to increase and to become stronger. The journey and the process is just as important and necessary as the outcome. Having breathed a sigh of relief after having this “AHA!” moment, he began reading his new book with ease.
These strongholds of the mind, just as the one I described above with my son, set themselves up like barricades in the brain to protect the individual from perceived pain. While they may serve a natural, temporary purpose in protecting the individual from harm—they ultimately also inhibit growth in the individual if left un-confronted with truth. Sooner or later, the strongholds of the mind that continue to be erected, avoided, and reinforced, barricade the individual into their own self-made prison. While there may be ways the individual learns to go around them, eventually they will run into them.
The Bible says, “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5, AMP). When we run into one of these strongholds of the mind, by the extraordinary grace of God, it is our opportunity to tear it down in the face of the true knowledge of God and His Word, by taking it captive and making it submit to the Truth. The strongholds are lies that just need truth to overcome them or tear them down. While we may have falsely comforted ourselves for a time with the lie, true comfort and freedom is found when we restore truth to that area of our mind. Then we are free to grow and to flourish in that area once again. Just like my son, so long as he was believing the lie that he did not have permission to grow and to learn through process, he was lacking God’s peace in that area of his mind—inhibiting or barricading his growth in that area. Once the lie was confronted with truth, the barrier came down, God’s peace was restored, and he began to grow and flourish in this area of his mind once again.
So why is God’s peace in our minds affected by what we believe, or whether or not we have a stronghold in a particular area? While having a lie that is in opposition to the knowledge and truth of God is one obvious reason, it is also important to realize that anywhere we’ve received a false comfort—a lie or stronghold that we are using to protect ourselves—we are also disconnecting from unity or communion with God in that area. We are in opposition to His Spirit in that area. We are not at peace with God, in that area of our mind. Therefore, we cannot expect to grow and to flourish in that area while having this disconnect, as God is the source of our life. This adds a whole new perspective in wanting to take captive those thoughts—even when they seem like the only way to get what you need or to get through life. As we begin to get healed in our connection to God and His Truth, our minds will also get repaired and it will flow out of us in how we live our lives. There’s freedom on the other side of those strongholds, quick fixes, and coping mechanisms—even if there is a journey to getting there.
Go on…we have permission to grow.
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