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“Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.”  Romans 12:21 CSB

Strongholds can easily be considered evil, they prevent us from living our lives to the fullest.  For instance, envy can be a stronghold. I heard a life changing message years ago from Andy Stanley that helped me identify it in my own life.  As Andy said in his message, when we use the term “must be nice”, it’s a sign of envy. For example, if you hear someone is going on a dream vacation, if the thought, “Must be nice” pops into your head, it’s a sure sign of envy.  It is hard to not be envious in this world, but we can overcome our envy with good. We can be excited that they have the opportunity to go on the trip. We can be joyful for them and overcome our envy with goodness.

It’s a struggle for sure.  When I was single and everyone else was getting married, there were a lot of “must be nice” thoughts that ran through my head.  Must be nice to be getting married. Must be nice to have someone to do life with every day. Must be nice to have two salaries instead of one.  Must be nice. If you’re battling health issues, it’s easy to be envious of those with good health. If you’re unemployed, it’s easy to be envious of those with jobs.  Envy is a stronghold we all struggle with to some extent. It’s hard to identify because it’s subtle, but if you start becoming aware of the “Must be nice” statement in your vocabulary, it will help you identify areas that it may be a stronghold for you.  It definitely helps me spot it in my own life.

There is one sure fire way to overcome envy in our lives.  It can help us break down any strongholds we are struggling with today.  It is love. Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians, “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (13:4 NIV). Love is the first step in overcoming any kind of stronghold.  In his letter to the Galatians, Paul talks about the Fruit of the Spirit. We receive it when we place our faith in Jesus and let His Holy Spirit work in our lives.  They are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Again, it all starts with love.  When we want to break down strongholds, these are the weapons to do it with one day at a time, starting with love.

Let’s put love first today with this prayer:

Lord, thank You for helping us understand the power of love in our lives.  Help us to apply it to the strongholds in our life. Let us not be conquered by them, but instead, let us conquer them with love (Romans 12:21 CSB).  As we move through our day today, help us apply the fruits of Your Spirit to our lives, help us start with love. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen

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