I Don’t Like You: Part 3 (The Fight)
It was like now that I had seen the idol face to face for what it truly was, the idol went from quiet and concealed to loud and vicious. I would start to become aware and as my thoughts drifted towards a certain man, I would suddenly snap out of it and say, “Wait! You’re not really that guy! You’re lying to me and I know who you truly are!” And as if right out of a horror film, in my mind’s eye I would see that idol reach and peel that guy’s face off itself like a mask and point and laugh maniacally at me because I had been tricked again. I would become so angry and rebuke it in the name of Jesus and it had to go (Mark 16:17).
…Many times just to show up 10 seconds later…
And this is where I had to realize that this would be war. Ongoing, night and day, no breaks or time outs, but a full out war to defeat the stronghold in my life that had plagued me for over 20 years. But the Lord is on my side and greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world (1 John 4:4). During this journey, the Lord revealed some things to me about overcoming idols and strongholds. This is a longer entry, but it will have some practical tips that the Lord taught me if you’re interested in knowing, keep reading.
1. The first step in overcoming the stronghold with the power of Christ is identifying what the idol is. But before you can see, you need eyes to see.
“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” –Matthew 13:15
My dear friend once told me that God doesn’t reveal something in your life unless He is ready to heal it. Once the Lord reveals, surrender it to Him. Seek to understand the idol or stronghold through prayer and deliberate observation. Be strategic; know your enemy.
- Ask for insight to see where this idol originated.
- Ask yourself: what lies did I believe to make my brain go down this path?
- Ask God: Lord, show me the reinforcing habits that run through my daily life in my words, thoughts, and actions.
- Get on your face, beg for deliverance, and repent for the idol in your life.
- Seek His face and ask Him for revelation.
- Ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you in your conversations with men and with yourself.
- Ask the Lord to be your Daddy and guard your heart when you fail.
- Ask God to change your desires.
- Find accountability and friends who will tell you the truth.
- Ask for revelation of your stronghold (You have no because you ask not! James 4, Luke 11:9, 1 John 5:14).
- Pray for grace and patience.
3. Capture Your Thoughts:
- What does that look like practically? It means saying no in your mind when you think about your idol. It means saying no to daydreaming and having imaginary conversations or thinking about ways to get near that person. It means asking the Holy Spirit to give you self-control not so you can grit your teeth and “make it” but so you can be consumed with thoughts of the one true God and not a lesser idol.
- Shut down fantasy world (don’t allow yourself to dwell there).
- Recognize your daydreaming for what it is: wasting time, not living in the present, which means that you cannot be content (Phil 4:11-13).
- Sometimes changing your thoughts will feel like turning a massive, rotating wheel the opposite direction. Keep pressing on with the power of Christ and don’t give up. A righteous man falls seven times and gets back up again (Proverbs 24:16).
- Know that what you think about creates mental highways of thoughts. Your mind will naturally follow this pattern over and over, so don’t get frustrated if things are hard and don’t change immediately. Keep renewing your mind (A.K.A. read the Bible) and ask God to heal your mind. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” –Romans 12:2.
- So what do I think about? Fill your mind with truth. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
4. Changing your Habits
- Choosing to stop and think through what you are doing and why you are doing it.
- Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What do I think I will get from this? Happiness, content, satisfaction?”
- Answer yourself honestly.
- Then go the other way (away from your idol and towards God).
- Do all of this with a spirit of prayer and open thoughts to the Lord.
- Open thoughts means to be honest with God and just talk to Him about when you are having a hard time and laying it all open before Him. Example: “God, I just thought about this guy again and tried to find a way to walk by his desk so he would notice me. I want to stop thinking about him and trying to manipulate situations. I know you can help me. Please help, I know you will because you are so faithful and good. You always keep your promises and you promised to complete the good work you started in me (Phil. 1:6). Thank you for being a good God.”
- Laying the book open and repeating your thoughts to the Lord:
- Lord, this is what I thought
- This is what I want to think about
- I can’t do this alone
- But you are faithful
- Help me, I trust you
[Continued in Part 4]