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Today, I'd like to revisit the subject of strongholds that we discussed briefly in the introduction. If you haven't read the introduction yet, go back and read it, as it ties into today's lesson.

In the Old Testament a stronghold was a physical place that people went to for

protection, usually an actual fortress. Because the strongholds were built to withstand attack, they were difficult to tear down. They felt like safe places.

David also used the word stronghold in the spiritual sense to refer to God. In

Psalm 37:39 David said, "The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is

their stronghold in time of trouble."

God was David's stronghold, and He wants to be our stronghold. He wants us

to come to Him for refuge when life gets hard. But that's not always our first impulse, is it? Instead, we head for other refuges. These refuges feel safe. They offer comfort, pleasure, security, and a way to escape. They're easy to go to, but they soon become hard to leave. What starts as a refuge ends as a stronghold. And strongholds are hard to tear down.

• In what way has food been a refuge for you, either now or in the past? Has it

become a stronghold in your life?


Let's see what Paul has to say about strongholds in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

What are two characteristics of the weapons we're supposed to use against




List some divinely powerful weapons you could use in your battle against the stronghold of emotional eating.

List some weapons of the world you might use in your battle against the stronghold

of emotional eating.

• In your past efforts to lose weight, have you been using divinely powerful weapons

or weapons of the world? How have those weapons worked?


Do you see our problem?

We've been using the wrong weapons. If food is a

stronghold for us, then we need to use weapons with divine power to break

strongholds. Diet, exercise, and lifelong boundaries are all tools we can use, but they aren't powerful enough to tear down strongholds. The literal Greek translation of the phrase "divine power" is powerful in God. God releases His power to change our lives through these weapons. Note that He's

releasing the power to get rid of the stronghold, not to make us skinny. Emotional eating may be a stronghold, but wanting to look good in the eyes of the world may also be a stronghold. Complicated, isn't it? God's not going to release His power just so we can lose weight and look good. He wants us to see ourselves through His eyes and seek His approval. Does this mean that if your main purpose for this study is to lose weight, that

God isn't going to help? No, not at all. That's probably how most of us start out. In

fact, you could say we're lucky to have a stronghold that isn't approved of by society.

It motivates us to work on it.

Hopefully, though, you'll shift your focus at some point in the study. The act of

emotional eating is a much bigger problem than the extra pounds you carry. God

adores you. He loves you just the way you are, at the weight you are. But He wants to be first in your life. This study will help you become aware of the reasons you eat. As vou uncover the lies that make you want to overeat and replace those lies with the truth, the desire to eat will loose its grip on you. As food takes its rightful place as the answer to

hunger and not the answer to life's problems, you'll begin to lose weight. So it's all kind of exciting, isn't it? Growing in our relationship with God, getting rid of strongholds, and losing some weight on the side. Let's look at those divinely powerful weapons and get started!

Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 once more. What two things does Paul tell us to do in 2 corinthians 10:5?

Does this sound familiar? It reminds me of the process of renewing our minds.

First you destroy the wrong thinking, and second, you take your thoughts captive to

Christ. Let's explore the wrong thinking part of this verse a little more. The word arguments in verse 5 is the Greek word logismos. It can also be translated reasoning.

We are to demolish any reasonings that set themselves up against the knowledge of

God. Here's an example of a reasoning: I might believe that a treat will make me feel

better. This isn't a thought that just popped into my head one day. Instead, I came to

believe it through many times when a treat actually did make me feel better. Think of growing up. A little kid falls down and scrapes her knee. What does her mom say? "Why don't we go have a cookie? That will make you feel better." Mom's motive is a noble one. She wants to make the little girl forget about her knee. She doesn't realize that she's planting the seeds of a lie into her daughter's mind. You see, the child really will feel better after she eats the cookie because it doesn't take that long to make a scraped knee feel better. The little girl doesn't know that, though. Instead, she's beginning to believe the lie that sweets make her feel better.

The next thing Paul tells us to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5 is to take our thoughts

captive to Christ. The Greek word for "take captive" has the idea of taking someone

captive as a prisoner. Is a prisoner free to do what he pleases? No, of course not. His

guard controls his every move. In like manner, we need to control our thoughts, not just letting them run amok in our minds, but controlling them like a guard controls his prisoners. We do that by examining our thoughts to see if we're believing any lies. Why don't we try that right now? I'm going to list some common beliefs about food, and I want you to circle the ones you believe not at the intellectual level, but at the gut feeling level, your first reaction. When you're through, look at each of the sentences you've circled and ask, "Is this really true?" The answer to that question should be no! Remember, Satan is the

master of the partial truth. Some of them might be partly true, but none of them are completely true. Write the full truth below each sentence. If you need help, check out the list in Appendix A in the back of the book. I'll do the first two for you, and you can do the rest.

Lies That Keep Us From Losing Weight

1. I'll start being faithful to my boundaries tomorrow.

(As you know, this is usually said to justify eating something really great tonight!)

Truth: If past experience is any indication, there is about a 5% chance that I'll follow my

boundaries tomorrow if I break them today. My best chance of being faithful tomorrow is to be faithful today.

2. Eating is fun.

Truth: Eating a reasonable amount is fun. Eating too much is not fun. It makes me feel

uncomfortable, lethargic, and unhappy. It also makes me gain weight, which isn't fun.

3. I can't stick to my boundaries. I have no self-control.

4. Just one little bite won't hurt.

5. I don't know when I'll get again. I better eat it now.

6. Ive been following my boundaries perfectly for two weeks and haven't lost anything. These boundaries don't work.

7. I already broke my boundaries. I might as well eat

8. I've been so good at following my boundaries that I deserve a treat.

9. Eating will make me feel better.

10. Maybe I'll sleep better if I have something to eat.

11. It's only dough. It's hardly even a cookie.

12. I want it (and that's a good reason to have it).

13. I'm on vacation (at a party, etc.). It's okay to eat.

14. PIl feel more like doing if I have something to eat first.

15. It will go to waste if I don't eat it.

16. I don't eat that much. I just have a low metabolism. (Note: This may be true.)

17. I'm so tired. Maybe a treat will perk me up a little bit.

18. This is so good that I should have another piece.

19. I gained pounds this weekend.

20. I will never be able to lose weight and keep it off.

How did you do?

These are the lies you believe that make you want to break your boundaries. If you were to stop believing them, you wouldn't feel like eating in those situations anymore. Let me encourage you by saying that I used to believe all but one of those lies. There are only a few I still struggle with, and that's because I haven't applied the truth often enough when the lie comes into my mind. As I got rid of the lies one by one, my behavior began to change. The truth started coming to my mind automatically, and when that happened, I no longer felt like eating for the wrong reasons. Because I didn't fee/ like eating, I didn't. The key to

behavior change is to replace lies with truth at the core of your being. The rest of the week will be devoted to that practice.


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