I just read Nightmare Academy by Frank Peretti. So that book played into the thoughts of this post...

The lies that keep one stagnated in sin are just that - lies. One can even see the lies, but until they are willing to seek the Lord for inner healing, real honest relating with Him, and time in the Word to be empowered by the Spirit, one all too often feels powerless to do what they know to be true, or will only do it by sheer white-knuckling (of course, it should go without saying that one has to choose to embrace truth rather than live in the lie regardless of what their flesh argues). The lies have to get exposed. Lies like, "I'll never be free of this," "it's just too difficult for me to overcome," "but people might rejected me if I fail," "I can conquer __ by myself, I don't need anyone's help," "I can't burden someone else with any problem I am experiencing," "I can't do ____, because it would be just awful if ____ happened", "if I stopped doing this, what would ____ think of me," "I'll never get married to anyone respectable so I just have to settle for anyone," "God seems to like to work in other's lives but not mine," "what if I fail," "nobody could understand what I am going through," "what if I stay like this the rest of my life," "I can't trust God," "I could never forgive that person," "everybody else does ____ so it can't be that big of a deal," etc. The book Telling Yourself the Truth by Backus is a really good book for confronting the lies that hold one back. To confront the lies, one sees that all the lies were was a mirage. They are empty and cannot hold me back if the foundation for my life is truth rather than feelings, pride, or selfishness. There is freedom on the other side. God still loves me if I fail. He still has control of my future. He is taking care of my needs. I need not worry, for His hand is tightly on me. Who cares if people judge me? Does it really matter a whole lot? Why should that paralyze me from doing what I know is right? And if I can see how God has worked in the past I can start to see the beautiful path He has laid out for me. The Christian life has to be a life of taking thoughts captive to truth and trust as the Holy Spirit reveals the lies of the devil, the world, or my own flesh.

This is why reading the Bible is so critical. Not only does the truth demolish the lies (2 Cor. 10:3, John 8:32, 2 Cor), but repentance with knowledge of the truth is the way to freedom from the enemy as well (2 Tim. 2:25-26). And through this experiential - living out - knowledge of the truth, only through the power of the Spirit, are the strongholds decimated and freedom starts to be realized. While this cannot come through human effort (Gal. 3:3), it can only come through obedience, surrender, and abiding. As the mind gets upgraded through being renewed by God's Word and saturating in His presence, the transformation process occurs (Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 3:17-18), so that we outwardly reflect what has been saturated in us. The reality is that we tend to always reflect our surroundings, it is only from being around Him and people who are more serious about their walk with God than we are that that reflection in our life looks more desirable.

I'm convinced freedom in Christ is far more easy or difficult than we hope. Let me explain. It depends on whether we are approaching victory through man's thinking, strength, and techniques or through the Word of God. If we humble ourselves and do things His way... it will take everything we have, but will be far easier than we could have hoped. After all, His commands are not burdensome and His yoke is easy and His burden is light (1 John 5:3, Matt 11:28-30). It is the only the lie that makes us think it is impossible - which it is, of course, in our own strength and in our own strongholds/mindsets. God is patiently waiting for us to do things His way, rather than continue following the road that seems right to man but leads to death (Prov. 14:12, 16:25). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). May He receive glory from our lives.