When You Have the Ho-Hums

Far too many Christians are held hostage by emotional strongholds such as anger, depression, discouragement, frustration, inferiority complexes, fear and countless other volatile feelings. People who are in emotional strongholds usually know it. When they wake up in the morning they don’t say, “Good morning, Lord.” Rather, they say, “Lord, it’s morning.” They struggle simply to survive, often living in a perpetual state of hopelessness, worry or depression.

Keep in mind that a stronghold isn’t just a bad day. We all have bad days, or even bad weeks. An emotional stronghold is an attitude or emotion that stays with you day in and day out. It does more than just show up from time to time. It dictates, and often even dominates, your thoughts, choices and life.

God never ordained for you to wake up every day depressed, or to be paralyzed by fear all of the time. He didn’t create you to carry anger around for five, fifteen, or fifty years. God has promised you, in Christ, a full life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”[1] If you are not experiencing the abundant life that Christ freely gives, it may be as a result of living with an emotional stronghold.

Rather than seeking to either deny or suppress emotional strongholds through distractions, pills, entertainment or even spending – God wants to reveal to you the root behind what you are experiencing. Just like a doctor will not simply listen to how you feel when you go in for an examimation but will probe deeper through x-rays or tests, overcoming emotional strongholds involves going deeper than just the feelings to discover the root cause behind them.

Certainly, some emotional strongholds are tied to a physiological cause – a chemical imbalance or some form of physical need. However, a large number of emotional strongholds are not physiological in nature. They are rooted in sin. They are either rooted in your own sin or in someone else’s sin that has affected you. Maybe you were abused as a child, raped, betrayed in a relationship, or unwanted. It wasn’t your sin that created the stronghold you may be facing now of fear, insecurity, guilt or shame – but it was still sin that caused it.

Emotional strongholds often come as a result of what I call atmospheric sin – this is when sin so clouds the atmosphere around us that its results affect us whether we committed the sin or not. It is similar in concept to second-hand smoke and lung cancer. You may not have smoked the cigarettes yourself, but if you grew up in a home that was contaminated by cigarette smoke, studies show that you have a higher potential for contracting lung cancer. The same holds true for sin. A greater environment of sin leads to a greater susceptibility of emotional strongholds.

Jesus says that in this world – past, present and future – we will face trials and the affects of sin, but we are to “be of good cheer” because He has “overcome the world.”[4] Our emotions are a choice we make based on what we believe.  If we truly believe that Jesus has overcome whatever it is that we are facing and that we are fully accepted and made complete in Him, then that will alter how our emotions respond to what we are facing.

That doesn’t mean you will be of “good cheer” all day, every day. But it does mean that it will be the prominent mode in which you function.

[1] John 10:10
[2] 2 Corinthians 11:23-31
[3] Matthew 6:34
[4] John 16:33 (KJV)