Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. Because if you've got to be more and you look around and you've got to hide your flaws and somebody next to you seems to have more than you and they seem to be more loved than you, then you start comparing yourself and saying, why can't I have more of that or why can't I be more like that person?
And then you find yourself, why am I always struggling with so many self-defeating mentalities where I get down on myself and I'm jealous of others? It's hiding behind the stronghold. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series, Victorious Living, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It's a book written by Pastor Alan called God Moments, and it can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. As you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But right now, let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. You have him, you have everything you need. And don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
Don't mess with me, Paul said. So he begins to speak about strongholds. And he speaks here of three stages of military engagement in the ancient world. The destruction of the fortification, the taking of captives, and the punishing of the resistance. And so the first stage of any successful campaign was you got to get that stronghold down. You got to find a way to tear down the fortress so that you can even get to the enemy. This fortified dwelling place of the enemy must be pulled down. In the scriptures, the idea of a fortress or a stronghold is not just used in the negative sense of where the enemy might hide, but really is pictured as a gift from God for those who understand the gospel and live in the truth of God's amazing grace to us. Psalm 18 2, the Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
So that's the real image. God wants to be our stronghold, not for us to have ungodly strongholds wherein the enemy works. According to 2 Corinthians, what Paul is saying here is that a stronghold is every argument or speculation or thought that's lofty, prideful, and sets itself up against the knowledge of God.
What does he mean by that? He means that strongholds are thoughts and systems of thoughts that are contrary to the good news of what God's done for us in Jesus Christ. A stronghold is a system of thoughts that sets itself up against the true gospel. That's what it is.
It's not any more complicated than that. Francis Frangipane in his book, The Three Battlegrounds, speaks of how our thoughts can become like a house of thoughts and that's really what a stronghold is. You have a foundational thought and then you build another thought on that and then another thought on that and another thought on that. As we'll see today, the key therefore is to understand what's at the foundation of your thought life. The foundational beliefs because upon them, we build one belief after another like a house, stone upon stone. And what happens is so many of the thoughts that we have, we don't even know why we have. A lot of things we believe, we don't even know why we believe them. Frangipane says, quote, indeed many of our opinions about life are ours only because we know of no other way to think, yet we defend and protect our ideas, justifying our opinions as though they were born in the womb of our own creativity.
That's so true. There's so many things that just get handed down to us. You know those family mottos?
That you just kind of accept them and take them and you think well that's what the truth really is. My granddaddy who I love so much and he ran retail stores and used to always say if you're going to get anything done right, you got to do it yourself. Well I lived by that motto for a long time in my life before I finally said that's not true, that's just a formula for not being a good leader. You got to delegate some things, let some other people do some things.
You got to do anything right better, do it yourself. I remember that, I loved him but he was wrong about that. You got family mottos, they're just handed down to you. The systems of belief, things that come into your way of thinking because you had a sinful reaction to the difficulties of life. The wounds that we experience often become the breeding ground of our thoughts. You go through something difficult and you form a belief about the world. You form a judgment about other people. You form all kinds of speculations that are contrary to the gospel.
And when these get built one on top of another, this is what a stronghold is. And God does not want you to build your identity, your destiny, and your character upon anything less than what he has to say about you. What he has to say about the good news for your life, what he has to say about your destiny. I think this is why the Bible is so against astrology. God hates astrology. There are multiple warnings about having nothing to do with astrology and horoscopes. People get up and read in the paper, I'm an Aquarius and therefore this is what my day is going to look like. This is, well I'm just Sagittarius so that's why I'm this kind of person. God hates that kind of thing. Why? Not just because it's stupid, but because, but it is, but because he doesn't want some joker with a horoscope prediction telling you what your destiny is.
Come on! We have all kinds of things trying to inform us of who we are and what our purpose is that if you stop and analyze it, there's no substance behind it whatsoever. God says all that kind of thinking has got to be broken down so you can get built up in the truth of the gospel. So a stronghold is a house of thoughts and what he says is we take every thought captive to Christ. We knock down the stronghold and the spirit and then our thought life, the things that we believe about ourselves and we believe about this world and we believe about the future and we believe about our destiny, these things get shaped by the power of the gospel. We tear down the wall and our thoughts therefore can be taken captive under Christ. If you have certain negative thinking patterns in your life, you can't seem to get rid of them.
Your mind's hooked on that broken tape recorder of the what ifs that make you always plagued with worry or the kind of jealous thoughts that always fill you with envy. Whatever it might be, chances are that there's a stronghold that needs to come down so that then the thoughts can be taken captive unto Christ. That's Alan Wright and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Ever been facing a problem when a well-meaning Christian friend said something like, you just need to have more faith? The problem with such an exhortation of course is that telling someone that they ought to have more faith doesn't actually help a person have more faith. We all want more faith, but what can we do to get more faith? In his highly acclaimed book, God Moments, Pastor Alan Wright describes one of the most important biblical pathways to building your faith, remembering God's presence in your life. When you see God's faithfulness yesterday, you'll find it easier to trust him tomorrow. Your life is full of God moments and through Alan Wright's teaching series and book, you'll have a treasure map to help you discover them all. When you make a gift, we'll send you a very special bundle. It's Alan Wright's faith-building book, God Moments, and the CD album of the series that he has preached on the subject. We'll send you both when you make your gift today. It's time to discover your God moments from yesterday and be filled with fresh faith for today.
Call us at 877-544-4860 or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. I remember a time in my life I just thought I was so tired of being negative in my thought life as a kid. You can't even believe it. I'm so positive now. It makes people sick sometimes I'm so positive. But I used to be a negative thinker. And I remember saying, I hate this.
I don't want to have my mind go to negative thoughts. I still sometimes will get that way. My wife gets on me because we'll go on vacation and I'll say, we got a vacation coming, what's the weather going to be? And I'll look at her and say, oh no, looks like it's going to rain every day. She'll say, well you quit looking at that and I'll start worrying about the weather. Every day is going to look at it this way. It's just a fragment of an old nature that would just kind of be bent towards looking towards the negative. And I tried so hard to manage my thought life. I couldn't do it. Behavioral modification has a place, but it's so superficial in what it can actually accomplish.
Something else needed to happen that was a stronghold in my life. People often say, well what about our feelings? Are they reliable?
Yeah, they are reliable. They are reliable indicators of what you're thinking. If you have fear, it's a reliable indicator that you think there's danger at hand. Our feelings come from our thoughts and our thoughts grow from our beliefs. So instead of trying to manage your feelings or even manage your mind, change your beliefs and get them lined up with the gospel. That's where the battle is won.
You ever had a paradigm shift? You ever had a moment where you just go, aha, oh wow, I see that. It's like the man who was on an airplane and he had a backpack down under the seat in front of him and midway through the flight, he reached down to get a little pack of cookies that he had bought at the snack shop in the airport, a sleeve of these little cookies he thought he would enjoy. And he reached down, he groveled down there in the seats in front of him, he pulled up the cookies and he ate one. And the passenger next to him smiled at him and then the man ate a second and the passenger next to him then reached over and did something unimaginable, took one of the cookies out and ate it. The man couldn't believe it, he just looked at him. He reached over and ate one of my cookies and said, oh well. So the man ate another cookie and then the passenger next to him a few moments later reached over and took a second cookie and ate it. He couldn't believe it.
What is this guy doing? And through the whole flight, he started fuming on the inside. I just can't believe this man's not even asking me, he's reached over and grabbing my cookies. And he was stewing the whole flight and at the end of the flight, the cookies were all gone. So the man reached down to get his backpack and as he pulled up his own backpack, there was his pack of cookies.
And he realized he'd accidentally grabbed the other man's cookies who had the same cookies and actually he'd been eating his cookies the whole time. Paradigm shift. I thought it was this, but I was quite mistaken.
It's actually this. That's what happens when a stronghold gets torn down. The truth sets you free. Therefore, the answer is to understand the stronghold and let the gospel be applied to it and watch it come tumbling down. All right, quickly, I'm going to show you one example of a stronghold that was in my own life and we're going to build some boxes up here like a wall, like a stronghold. I'm just going to show you how a house of thoughts can be built. And so it started with this and this is actually a truth and that is that I am flawed and it is true of all of us that we're flawed.
Did I put it down there right? No, I didn't. There we go.
All right. It starts with this and it's true. We're all born in sin. Every one of us falls short of the glory of God.
Everybody in here, we don't even talk about it. We're all flawed. But because of that, I tended to have this thought that because I'm flawed, I must be less loved. Nobody ever told me that. Nobody ever said, oh, Alan, you need to get your act together or you're not going to be loved and accepted. It's not that anybody ever told me that.
Nobody did. Maybe it was just from brokenness of my life and my home. Maybe it was moments of rejection that I experienced. Who knows how you start interpreting the world in a wrong way. But I started having this thought. I didn't know it. See, it's a problem.
I didn't know you were getting this thought. Well, if you want to be loved and accepted in this world, you need to really measure up. It's built on the assumption that because I'm flawed, I'm less loved. And the less flawed I would be, the more loved I would be.
It's not true. If you believe that, that because you are flawed that you're less loved, then of course you want to just close up. That's what I started doing. I remember, I can remember my mother rejoicing. I had a girlfriend in high school and she was like the only one that I, when dad left home the second time and there were problems in my household and all this, she was the only one I told for a long time. I did tell her. And I remember my mom just rejoicing. That's so good, Alan. You need to talk to somebody.
I didn't talk to anybody. Like Adam and Eve in the garden. As soon as sin came in, shame came in and they started trying to cover themselves. They started trying to hide from God, started trying to hide from each other. And it's such a trick of hell because guess what? The devil works in the darkness.
I cannot tell you. I just cannot tell you how much healing I have seen in the lives of people, wonderful people who just finally get the grace, the courage and grace to just be able to tell somebody about a problem or a struggle. You close up.
It's built upon a lot. I'm less loved because I'm flawed. And if you believe that, then you wouldn't want to tell anybody about your flaws because you think they love you less. And if you're going to close up along with it, I had this idea that I had to always, therefore, while I'm covering up my weaknesses, try to be more and more.
What is it that you would approve of? I'll try to be more of that. What is it that would make you love me more?
I'll try to be that. And so a cycle begins. And if you were to carry that to its conclusion of trying to please people so they would love you, for me, what this meant was in the end that might as well just try to be perfect. Because where are you going to stop? How are you going to stop?
If you always got to be more, then you might as well be perfect. And that's what a stronghold looks like. That was one of them in my life.
You probably could sit down and draw up a thousand of these. Now here's the point of it. Behind the stronghold, a fortification that gets built in your thought life, so many temptations, so much demonic oppression, so much darkness wants to hide there. I'll tell you what you can hide behind a wall like this. Envy, covetousness, jealousy. You can hide behind this wall because if you got to be more, and you look around and you got to hide your flaws and somebody next to you seems to have more than you and they seem to be more loved than you, then you start comparing yourself and saying, why can't I have more of that? Or why can't I be more like that person? And then you find yourself, why am I always struggling with so many self-defeating mentalities where I get down on myself and I'm jealous of others?
It's hiding behind the stronghold. And I think shame's at the root of addiction. The feeling of having to always be better and better and yet you don't know how to be better and you know you can't is such an anxious feeling. The thought of people not loving you and accepting you is so anxious that you live with a gnawing angst in the soul and it's such an awful feeling. You don't do almost anything to cover up that feeling and so it is that substances and relationships and behaviors become addictive.
It hides behind this kind of wall. And despair can be behind it because what if you try and you try and you realize I'll never be able to be good enough? At some point despair says you might as well give up. And what I'm saying is that for a lot of my life I tried to manage it. Okay, I shouldn't be a perfectionist.
Oh yeah, okay, I need to just take joy in what I have. And you can knock down the first few walls but your foundation's still there. As we were praying about this after preaching yesterday one of our ministry team got this image of a wooden shack that you'll just see in the countryside dilapidated, warped boards. And what she saw in the spirit was the shack fell down and there was the stone foundation and then another shack got built and it fell down.
The surface things get knocked down but the foundation hasn't changed. But the foundation's gotta change because the way a stronghold comes down is not by attacking it up here but right here at the first lie because shame says because you're flawed you're less loved but guess what the gospel says? You're flawed but you are so loved. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
Christ died for the ungodly while they were still in their sin. God knows every flaw that you have and He still came for you. He knows everything wrong in your life and He loves you enough to die for you.
He knows everything. And He poured out His life for you. You are so loved. You're not less loved, you are so loved. So when that thought comes in and you pull out these stones here what happens to the rest of the wall?
I like doing this right here. Watch out below because instead of being less loved you're so loved you knock those out and it feels good every time I do it. The wall comes down and you know what happens then? All those enemy thoughts, all the tempter's snares, all of it's just laid bare and exposed and you're just like ha gotcha and next thing you know that's in the light spiritual battle is at hand and you are victorious in Christ. That's what happens.
That's how simple it happens. A stronghold can make you feel like you keep stepping in the same old hole in the sidewalk but when it comes down you say aha and you take a whole different street and that's the gospel. Alan Wright. In today's teaching how to destroy strongholds. It's from our series on 2 Corinthians all about victorious living Alan Wright is back here in the studio with additional insight on this for your life and today's final word. God's always been there. In every moment you narrowly escaped from danger. In every moment you were surprised by a blessing.
In every moment you just knew the direction to take. God was there. Your life is defined by countless moments of God's grace.
Perhaps they've been covered by the sands of time or have just gone unnoticed in the rush of life but your life is full of God moments. When you make a gift we'll send you a special bundle. Both Pastor Alan's heart-stirring book God Moments and a CD album containing all his audio messages on the subject. Make your gift today and start your spiritual treasure hunt to uncover your God moments.
How you remember yesterday will determine how you live tomorrow. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Alan, in your experience of ministry, do you find that there's a difference between those who've tasted freedom and then have a stronghold and of course they want to get back to that freedom versus those who maybe have never really experienced freedom.
It's a totally different concept. Well, I think I certainly had in my life a stronghold, what I would say a stronghold of shame years ago in which the problem is I didn't realize it was there. And so then you start going, well, wait a minute, why do I have certain issues in my life that continue, that I've not gotten more victory over? And that's when I started learning about strongholds. It's a system of thoughts. It's like a house of thoughts. It's like brick upon brick, but it's thought upon thought. And so it has to be torn down at the foundation. That's why in this month's special product we actually are including a short little pamphlet in which I'm articulating not only these dynamics but showing the graphic of at least one example of a stronghold that came down in my life and how a gospel stronghold was built up in its place. And this is something, honestly, Daniel, it's one of those things I want to say to all the listeners, it's not that difficult and it's not off in the distance. It's more about learning the principle of this and discovering some of the foundational deceptions that have shaped a lot of our thinking.
And when you pull out the stones at the bottom of the wall, the rest of the wall comes falling down. If you only caught part of today's teaching, not only can you listen again online, but also get a daily email devotional that matches today's teaching delivered right to your email inbox, free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Today's good news message is a listener-supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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