In a devotion entitled “Spiritual Battles,” Ed Young Sr. uses Israel’s defeat of the walled city of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27) as an illustration of how we Christians must overcome our own strongholds if we want to enjoy all the blessings available to us. He writes:
In every life there is a Jericho. You know what it is? It is that thing that would block you from becoming all that God wants you to be. Whether it is a besetting sin, a habit, or an attitude, our Jericho will block our way to the full blessing of God.
As long as we try to scale the walls and knock them down using our own resources, we will fail. We cannot win spiritual battles with weapons we have borrowed from the world’s arsenals. Instead, recognize how impossible it is to handle the situation on our own. Then, just be patient, be quiet, and soon — at God’s command — you will be able to shout the shout of faith that will bring the wall crashing down.
David refused to wear any armor when he went to fight the Philistine giant Goliath. Even when King Saul had David try on the king’s personal armor, David refused to wear it (1 Samuel 17:38-39). While it was true that David wasn’t used to wearing such armor, hadn’t trained with it, and hadn’t tested it in battle, he also had an innate understanding that the key to winning the battle was God, not any suit of armor. If God was with him, he wouldn’t need any armor to defeat Goliath, and if God wasn’t with him, no suit of armor would save him. David even told Goliath before the fight began, “The battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47).
Just as God brought Israel up against the great walled city of Jericho and David up against the mighty giant Goliath, He brings us up against “walls” and “giants” that we simply cannot defeat in our own power. We might think of this as Him stacking the deck to ensure that we must call up Him and seek His help. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we have no role to play in the battle. Like the Israelites marching around the walls of Jericho, and like David placing a rock in his sling, we should do our part to enable the victory to happen. But once we have done our part, we must look to God in faith and say, “Okay, Lord, the outcome is now up to you.” You see, we can march and pick up rocks until we faint from exhaustion, but what we can’t do is make walls and giants fall. Only God can do that.
Getting back to Ed Young Sr.’s devotion, he says that we must recognize how impossible it is to handle the situation on our own. Unfortunately, this is why many people continue to struggle with their strongholds year after year. They can’t defeat their Jerichos because they are leaving out the one indispensable element: God. And the bigger the walls of a Jericho are, the more indispensable God is to bringing them down. Therefore, I will leave you with this basic piece of advice: Whatever your Jericho (or Goliath, if you like that story better) is, do whatever God leads you to do about defeating it, and then cry out to Him in faith, asking Him to add in His indispensable power to complete the job. That, my friend, is how you bring down strongholds. It’s also how your faith in God gets strengthened, and the stronger your faith becomes, the more strongholds you will be able to conquer.