The Prophet Jeremiah - “Let us examine our ways and test them.” (Lamentations 3:40)
“That’s just the way I am!” Have you ever heard anyone make that statement? Maybe you have made that statement at one time or another. Many of the habits we’ve developed in childhood may not be comfortable to us, but at least they’re familiar to us. These traits may even be self-defeating, but at least they belong to us. They’re like an old pair of shoes, or a raggedy pair of shorts or a stained t-shirt that we can’t bring ourselves to throw away.
Even as Christians, we often confuse our identities with our character defects. We often say things like, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” When we make statements like this, we’re identifying with our defects or our strongholds, making them self fulfilling prophecies in our lives. Most of us know we need to take steps to identify our struggles and gain victory over them, yet for some reason we often choose to live in bondage.
When we equate ourselves with our character defects, we’re really either expressing excuses or telling lies. Try out this exercise in your mind or on a piece of paper - Complete this sentence: “It’s just like me to ____________” Possible answers might include: (Be a workaholic - Overeat - Be anxious about everything - Give passive answers - Be passive aggressive - Be fearful - Be hot-tempered - Lie when under pressure). When we think like that we’re setting ourselves up to remain in spiritual bondage.
Some people choose to live in bondage to their sinful natures because they don’t realize that victory is available to them. Often, these people believe they have to go to church or to a pastor or priest before they can receive victory over their struggles and strongholds. However, Christians have all of the help we need on a daily basis. The Apostle John writes, “When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” (John 8:36) When a person becomes a Christian, they gain access to the power of Jesus in their lives and for their lives. The Apostle Paul writes, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:24-25)
Followup Activity - Look once again at the exercise above where you complete the sentence with a character defect. Are there other defects not listed in which you would describe yourself? Write out the words you use to fill in the blanks, and then pray over your list, asking the Lord to give you victory over each stronghold. If you’re leading your family through this devotion, lead them to complete the same activity, then pray as a family.
Prayer for Today - Lord, You can do all things. Knowing this, I ask You to help me to choose to not live in bondage to my sinful desires, but to surrender my strongholds to You so I can live in victory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.