Summary: Whatever the source of stronghold – you have a choice (you always have a choice) – harden yourself to the message or be broken before God and turn from the sin. Don’t protect the sin by keeping it in a dark corner.
Dungeons and Dragons
Are you familiar with the fantasy game called “Dungeons and Dragons?” It became very popular for a time in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It’s been controversial from the beginning with many people claiming that it encourages behavior that can become very destructive – emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and even in some cases physically as those who play the game are sometimes moved to suicide or aberrant behaviors.
I view the game much like a Ouija Board. It seems innocent or even fun but it can be very dangerous. The spiritual world is very real. Ephesians 6 tells us that we are at war with much more than simply our own weak wills. There is a very real power that seeks our destruction.
Here is perhaps his greatest tool… to cause us to think that it isn’t real or even more dangerous, that you can control it.
Dungeons are secret dark places – we think they are hidden far away from everyone and affect no one else. Dragons are angry monsters – we think we use them and control them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Dungeons and Dragons become destructive forces that eat us alive. They chew us up spiritually and leave nothing but a sad residue of regret and guilt. People who are destroyed by spiritual strongholds start most of their reflective thoughts with two words, “If only…”
Spiritual Strongholds are nothing more than dungeons and dragons of the soul.
Simon was a Fake
9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.
A man who wanted to have power, fame, prestige, and notoriety – in other words, a pretty normal guy!
He was a fake and he knew it. There was a hunger in him for meaning, purpose, significance, and peace. He hungered for God.
The reality is that we’re all fakes. Posers and pretenders – we all get good at acting like we’re happy when inside there is a deep and unrelenting ache for real joy.
Do you remember the song by Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?” She sing about the circus, a house burned down by fire, and the love. After each chorus she closes with the line, Is that all there is… and then the conclusion,
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball… If that’s all there is
Simon became a believer
12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
When Philip, the evangelist came and told the people about Jesus they turned to the Lord – and so did Simon.
He turned to God but like all of us that was just the beginning.
Becoming a believer doesn’t mean that you instantly become perfect – just saved – still broken but now you are covered by the blood of Jesus and you are redeemed – that’s very cool!
You Can Be Saved, but still have Spiritual Strongholds
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The Bible said, Simon believed and was baptized, then Simon closed his business and continued with Philip. Then when Peter and John came down, Philip received the Holy Spirit through the laying in of the apostles’ hands. But still he had heart trouble.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Strongholds come from Un-Repented Sin
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Physically, medical doctors caution us about our blood pressure, cholesterol, stress and the like, they call them silent killers. Spiritually, we have conditions in our life that lie dormant until an opportunity presents itself and to our surprise we find ourselves in the middle of a crisis.