“And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.” But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, “I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” Judges 2:2-3
God gave the Israelites specific instructions: Drive the Canaanites out of every corner of the land, and obliterate any vestige of their abominable idol worship. This assignment was challenging! Their enemies had formidable chariots. The Canaanites had seemingly impregnable fortresses that were dangerous and difficult to overcome. The Israelites failed to drive all the Canaanites from the land. Much about the Canaanite lifestyle and religion appealed to the Israelites’ sinful nature. Rather than destroying them and their idolatry, Israel compromised. The Canaanites would prove to be a troublesome distraction to the Israelites. Their idol worship would present a constant temptation.
When you became a Christian, God declared war on sin’s strongholds in your life. Sinful behaviors and attitudes were firmly entrenched in your character, but God commanded you to tear them down. The Holy Spirit pointed out areas of your life that were resistant to God’s will. Were you tempted to merely establish a truce rather than obliterating every sin? Is anger one of sin’s strongholds? If so, it will rise up against you in moments of weakness. Is there a stronghold of lust in your life? If so, you will succumb to it when caught off guard. In careless moments, these strongholds will still tempt you to continue your past sinful behaviors.
Do not underestimate the destructive power of sin. If there are strongholds in your life that you have never defeated, the Holy Spirit is still prepared to bring you complete victory.