By Carole Keller
Emotional baggage can be a by-product of, or even a cause of, generational strongholds. Unresolved feelings and anger residing in the spirit are targets for demonic oppression (pride, fear, bitterness). Through rebellion we can pass this kind of bondage on to succeeding generations, and this is what we are seeing today in our families. Unless we were born of parents who revered and served God, most of us are the products of generations before us which rebelled against God.
It is in God’s plan to raise up the foundations of many generations, repair the breach caused by generational sin, and restore to their descendants paths to dwell in: “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12).
God is looking for someone to repair the breach and restore truth. In essence the repairer will build a wall of defense to protect the people. People hurt and suffer oppression because “judgment is turned away backward and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the streets” (Isaiah 59:14). But God wants to re-establish paths to dwell in. And, if we turn back to God, He will restore the ancient paths. Families will be restored. Fathers will turn to their children and children to their fathers (Malachi 4:6).
The whole body is in need of restoration because we all at one time or another have been wounded. It is from wounds that the lusts spring forth. So, bruised people bruise other people. It is the reason why we have such difficulty at times loving each other. We recycle learned behaviors to protect ourselves and many times hurt and offend those we are called to love. This creates walls that divide and separate.
The Bibles states that the iniquities-sins that are regarded as outright rebellion against God-are passed on to the children by their forefathers for three or four generations (Exodus 20:5). God is not talking about unintentional sin, but deliberate transgressions against His laws. Iniquities are committed by those who choose not to obey God, but rather follow a perverse path. In the verse just quoted, God states that He is talking of those who hate Him. Iniquities cause suffering, which is the fruit of rebellion. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23), which creates very oppressive conditions, such as financial bondage, mental illness, violence, drug and alcohol addiction, sexual perversion, physical and verbal abuse, or depression. This just as easily manifests in the children of God who become disobedient. If we refuse to yield our iniquities to God, we become their agents and bring reproach to God and His Kingdom. We struggle and fight with God. In the process, we oppress those around us and may bring judgment upon them rather than being a light. Ultimately, we put our own salvations at risk.
There is only one remedy. We must repent for our own sins and for the iniquities of our forefathers, and be born again of water and the spirit (John 3:5, Acts 2:38). When our sins are covered by the blood in baptism and we let God reign over our lives, we no longer are subject to the curse of the law passed on to us by our parents. On that basis, we can sever all generational curses and reclaim lost ground by taking authority over them and speaking into existence the promises of the redeemed. It is through faith that we can subdue kingdoms, establish righteousness, obtain promises and stop the mouths of lions (Hebrews 11:33).
Law of Sowing and Reaping
There is one important caveat: while we have the authority to rebuke the devil, we must keep in mind the law of sowing and reaping. This is to say there are spiritual consequences when we choose to break, either willfully or ignorantly, the principles of the Kingdom. We can see this principle operating in generational strongholds. For example, if we spend beyond our means, we will become indebted to the lender. If we over indulge, we may suffer poor health and the onset of possible disease. If we fail to forgive offenses, we afford the devil an advantage to oppress us. But because of the blood that was shed, the root holding us captive to the curse can severed. We can be delivered if we repent and if we are willing to obey the principles of the Kingdom. Again, the victory goes back to this one principle the Spirit: Because we are no longer struggling in our own strength to perfect the weaknesses of the flesh, the Holy Spirit will give us power to govern ourselves so that we can tap into the abundant riches of our inheritance. When we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we will abide in His revelation, discernment, and knowledge as we surrender every fear and barrier to His love. This is our inheritance.
So in surrendering our emotions and feelings, God may bring us back to the inherited sins of our forefathers so that there can be a deeper repentance and cleansing.
God brought King David to a place of deep repentance when he murdered Uriah, the husband of Bath-Sheba. (See 2 Samuel 11 and 12.) He acknowledged God’s desire for truth in the “inward parts.” I believe David wanted to know the root of his despicable act. He did not just say “forgive me and let’s be friends again.” He sought an inner cleansing. David confessed his powerlessness over his sinful nature, which he acknowledged had been passed onto him: “…Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” He prayed to be cleansed of his iniquities: “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” The word “cleanse” in this verse means to “empty out.” David wanted more than a surface touch from God; he sought to be purged and changed as he took ownership over his sinful behavior, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” (See Psalm 5:2-3, 5.)
In prayer, we can plead the blood and sever all instances of physical, mental, and emotional bondage that may have come through our natural bloodline. Here is how:
Steps to Sever Generational Curses
- Identify the root of generational sin that has passed on to you through your parents and grandparents and which you, in turn, imitated in your life and then passed on to your children.
Let us look at the root of rejection and its often traveled road to fornication and other addictive behaviors. As we see the impact of rejection in our lives, we will come to a deeper level of forgiveness that must be offered for those who were primarily responsible for our suffering, as well as a deeper level of repentance for the choices we made to compensate for that loss. An unmet need for love, for example, may have led a person into a relationship outside of marriage that produced a child. Then fifteen to twenty years later, the same pattern could emerge in the life of that child. If we were to look back, we would probably see the sexual perversion in the lives of the forefathers or even three generations in the past.
Well-meaning parents may not have protected their children, through fear of alienation from a strong willed partner. Strong-willed partners rule by intimidation and fear to keep their subjects in line. Therefore, abuse is never confronted. This occurs in the first generation. Then their children, unprotect and unloved, seek other means to have their needs met, such as sexual perversion, drugs, or alcohol-the fruit of rebellion. They, too, are unable to protect their children. This is the second generation. They seek the same characteristics in a partner, marry produce and raise children unto the third generation, keeping intact the inherited iniquities through the natural bloodline of the fathers. Now, the third generation follows in the footsteps of its inheritance. Only the spotless blood of Jesus can reverse the curse.
Here we have grandparents, their adult children, and grandchildren all bound together by the iniquities of the father for three generations, all destined to a common inheritance until someone breaks the curse of rebellion and obeys God. Thanks be to God that he raises up seed to break the curse through the power of the Gospel. If you are a believer born into a family which lived in rebellion, you are a chosen seed to lift up a chosen generation your generation! This underscores the importance of reaching our families with the
Gospel so they can escape the “old waste places” as well as to restore paths for future generations to dwell in.
In this first step, we repent for our sins and those of our forefathers: “Let thine ear now be attentive and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandest thy servant Moses” (Nehemiah 1:6-7). Allow the Holy Spirit to heal your wounds. Let the tears fall.
- After repentance, confront the people who initiated the abuse to prevent a further erosion of the family line.
What is confrontation? Very simply, confrontation is bringing obstacles and offenses into the light rather than covering them up. It is taking exception to the works of darkness, and by our intervention, forbidding the powers of darkness from spreading their venom: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).
Confrontation is vital to close wounds from generational curses and preserve future generations. When we confront the source of the abuse with the offending behavior and its impact upon family members, we are setting a boundary that says, “You may not go any further.” At the same time, we to save a soul from destruction: “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth and one convert him; Let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
Even if the perpetrator of the abuse is not repentant immediately, and especially if there is ongoing abuse in the family, it is important to expose the offending behavior in order to stop it and provide relief for victims of abuse: “Learn to do well; see judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). What does it mean to “seek judgment?” The word speaks of intervention. It means a verdict, justice. In practical terms, God wants us to be advocates for justice. Think restoration and think what God would do if we stood together to raise someone else from the pit of despair? Because this is what we have to do: join forces and come together to help others who are under great spiritual oppression. Alone, the battle is insurmountable, but together as one we cannot be defeated. At the same time, confrontation affords victims the opportunity to clear their conscience and forgive so they can go forward and not come under the condemnation of the devil.
Conquering giants of the past…
Unfortunately, so many Christians are reluctant to confront. They think they are doing God a favor by being passive and silent when there is injustice, abuse or unprovoked attacks. Actually, the opposite is true. We have more respect for the powers of evil that enslave us, more than we have a belief in the power of God to redeem us. We were “born again” to be conquerors. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David all had to confront strongholds, believing that God had given them the victory before they even set out. They all went on to possess their inheritance. We, too, must press on to victory.
Therefore, as we stand against generational strongholds, we will have to conquer the little giants we hid behind in the past. One of those giants all of us face, in one way or another, is fear. Standing up to the strongholds in one’s family is perhaps the greatest fear most of us will face, because in most situations we are confronting a spiritual stronghold that has controlled the family for generations. Moreover, when we confront the oppressor, there is a very real risk of alienating the affections of other family members and the ties that have always bound us together. Whatever the fear, the only way we can surmount it is to go through it, as awful as that sounds. Nevertheless, because we are obeying the counsel of God, we have confidence because God secures us: “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee” (Psalm 5:11). We must make a choice about whom we will serve: the Lord who redeemed us from bondage or the demons of the past who robbed us of our freedom of choice. We must be willing to confront our giants of fear to claim inheritance. God told the Israelites that they had compassed their mountain long enough, saying “turn you northward” (Deuteronomy 2:3).
Living in fear is simply not an option for a Christian. It ruins innocent lives and keeps those who live with it imprisoned. If we get in the habit of confronting abuse and speaking truthfully, the oppressor in time will see his need to change: “…but by manifestation the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2). Nevertheless, the outcome is not as important as the crossing over and facing the source of our fear. Only God can change a heart. When we cross over and challenge fear on the basis of what Jesus did for us on the Cross, we will no longer be subject to that particular fear. We will gain spiritual ground. So the righteous become bold as lions (Proverbs 28:1). We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).
While confrontation is liberating, it must be exercised with wisdom and discernment. For this reason, confrontation must always be grounded in prayer to ensure that the spirit of our confrontation is rooted in love. Always go to God in prayer beforehand to get direction on His timing and the substance of your confrontation. Otherwise, you could proceed in your own might and cause more problems. If you rely on God’s strength, He will grant you grace to confront others, and He will prepare your adversary’s heart to hear your grievance. Whether he will act upon it does not matter. What does matter is that you confronted fear and overcame it through the grace of God, even if your adversary resisted the truth of your confession. You held your ground: this is your victory! Your victory is in the spiritual realm where the battle is fought and won. Therefore, you can be confident that God is working regardless of the initial outcome. Keep in mind when you become victorious that it was not your obedience that gave you success. It was God’s wisdom, counsel, knowledge, insight, and unconquerable grace that delivered you. To God be the glory!
I have taught principles of confrontation to individuals in need of deliverance from oppression. In one situation, God worked in the heart of the oppressor (the husband) so that, over time, he went from being wrathful to downright contrite when confronted. This is an unfolding miracle of transformation resulting from confrontation. The confronter (his wife), by her own accounts, had been passive and accepted his abuse for over twenty-five years. Then one day, she confronted this abuse and by so doing set a boundary. She was saying in effect: “You may not abuse me any more.” She was instantly set free from the bondage of fear in the relationship, and her confidence in God increased steadily. Each confrontation exposed the offense instead of condoning it. The human rights of family members under the scourge of the oppressor were defended. Principalities and powers were being broken. In time, the husband began to listen and ponder the impact of his words. He would ask to be forgiven.
What do you suppose was happening in the spiritual realm? The oppressor was submitting to the power of God because the stronghold behind his abuse was being broken piece by piece. There were eruptions to be sure, but family members continued to confront each other with their expectations. Sanity and self-respect gradually were restored. She and her family were kept in their struggles by the power of God, who honored her obedience in the midst of chaos, as it is written, “…If God be for us who can be against us…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:31, 35-37). Today, this woman who confronted her husband is an example to other victims of abuse. Increasing in spiritual authority and joy, she exudes great faith in the power of God and demonstrates confidence that all will be well one day. Once we experience the faithfulness of God in battle, we will become more emboldened to exercise our faith in the future.
- Speak positive words into existence for those under spiritual attack
Too often we give too much negative attention to the work of the devil as if he could destroy and do not give glory to God in the midst of the battle. God is saying to us: “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy?” And where is the fury of the oppressor?” (Isaiah 51:12-13). Shatter the dark forces in the spiritual realm with a vision of what God will do: “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous, with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12).
Negative reports instill fear causing hopelessness, fatigue, depression, self-pity, and capitulation. Rather, we should declare the works of the Lord that were finished when Jesus conquered death and hell.
Speak power, authority, and victory over the one under attack in an affirmative statement of victory. For example, ‘my child will be mightily used by God.” “Like the tree planted by the rivers of living waters (Psalm1), Catherine will produce fruit in her season.” “No weapon formed against Catherine will prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). “You (God) will deliver her from the snare of the fowler…” (Psalm 91:3).
This is a good time to talk about spiritual warfare. Believers must know their position in Jesus Christ and the spiritual weapons they have been given to defend themselves and their loved ones from attack. (See “Spiritual Weapons” below.)
Jesus said from the time of John the Baptist, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12). No weapon formed against us can prosper and every tongue that rises against us in judgment we can condemn (Isaiah 54:17). In effect, we can cancel the plans of the devil against ourselves and our families as they affect our finances, mental-physical-psychological health, and well-being. Declare God’s protection: Though “…a thousand shall fall at (my) side and ten thousand at (my right hand; it shall not come (near) me” (Psalm 91: personalized).
The basic premises for taking dominion are:
- We are redeemed from the curse of the law which gives us the right to claim the “blessing” of Abraham (Galatians 3:13-14). The blessing of Abraham, which is dependent upon our faith in Jesus Christ, is our shield: “…Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). The blessing was a reward to Abraham for his faith in God.
- We are set free from punishment through the blood of Jesus! “And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20). Jesus won our freedom and independence from the devil. He disarmed principalities and powers of their uncontested rule over people so they can choose to live under His lordship (Colossians 2:15).
- When we are redeemed through the Blood, we acquire spiritual authority to take back dominion offensively from the devil. We become conquerors (Romans 8:37). Obedience to the Gospel releases the authority to use these keys of the kingdom (binding and loosing) against the gates of hell and all the powers of hell that keep people in bondage. (See Mark 16:17-18.)
- Our authority is used through the name of Jesus: “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name” (Luke 10:17). We take authority in the name of Jesus, which brings all the power of God to bear against the devil
When talking about breaking generational strongholds (particularly where there is continuing abuse), anticipate resistance initially because the people bound by their iniquities will not always want to change. Remember, you are engaged in a cause worth fighting for: the soul of your family. Children who inherit the iniquities of their fathers become easy prey to the devil. Raised in the mist of an abusive atmosphere where there is no justice when wronged, they often seek to have their met outside of the family in rebellion or resort to mind-altering substances to alleviate the emotional pain. Unless someone pulls them out of the line of fire and pleads their cause, they could be damage for life. We must stand in the gap for them rebuke their oppressor (Isaiah 1:17). The abuse has to stop somewhere.
The most important principle to always keep mind is that we are not fighting people, but principalities and powers. We have authority over them; they can be broken. They will be broken because Jesus has already won the battle.
But we do need to know how to fight.
The Snare of Strife and Dissension
One of the devil’s most effective weapons in maintaining generational strongholds is to stir up strife and dissension that tear people apart. This is why our emotions must be under control of the Holy Spirit. Satanic enterprise creates strife when it finds human cooperation to do its bidding. Where there is strife, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16). Words just roll out of our mouths. Once we yield to strife, we relinquish ground. The devil, on the other hand, advances and is in a strategic position to re-capture territory from us. We operate with the devil and give him opportunity to rule when we have an unresolved root of anger. This is why Jesus stressed that we should reconcile quickly with our opponent when we have a chance: “Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison” (Matthew 5:25).
Even if family members are not willing to admit their faults, it is important for believers to keep their own conscience clear so they will not be held captive by guilt and condemnation. Guilt and condemnation will lead you to use fleshly weapons when spiritual weapons are called for. If you offend, no matter the circumstance, be willing to acknowledge it so you can go on with a clear conscience. The importance of this principle is clearly stated in this passage from the Bible: “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself and make sure thy friend” (Proverbs 6:2-3). This also is why the Pharisees and Scribes tried so desperately to get Jesus to say the wrong thing — anything that would conflict with God’s Word, because then they would be able to accuse Him. This is where the devil has most of us and why it is so important that we allow God to uproot every diseased plant. Even though we may have been saved, the material is there to quickly go back to our old nature when we are attacked.
Therefore, our emotions and feelings play a big role in our spiritual lives. When we defend ourselves or retaliate, we empower our human nature. The minute we open our mouths in self-defense or retaliation, no matter how righteous our answers, we lose ground spiritually. When we fight through our emotions and feelings we can never win. It is a very tough battle to overcome a spirit of anger on our own. But if we yield anger to God and, by His grace, do not retaliate, we can take a city: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Proverbs 16:32 Unless we confront the roots of our negative emotions, we have diminished control over our own spirits and may easily yield to the spirits holding us captive. The more we yield to them, the more vulnerable and broken we become. “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28).
Once we are delivered from the roots of our emotional bondage, we will acquire greater spiritual authority, and the devil will no longer have the access he once reveled in. Therefore, if we want to be victorious Christians we have to get at the cause of our negative feelings, and then we must renew our minds and build up our defenses through prayer and the Word of God.
There are several weapons mentioned frequently in Bible with which to overcome strongholds. Prayer and intercession are foundational. But there are three other weapons that are very important for a Christian to exercise in the spiritual life that I would like to include in this chapter.
- One of the most powerful weapons at our disposal to overcome spiritual attacks is to speak God’s Word into existence.
Declaring God’s Word in a situation always trumps the powers of darkness. God’s word reminds us that it is not by power or might, but by His spirit that anything is accomplished in the Kingdom of God (Zechariah 4:6). It is the spirit that quickens (John 6:63). God’s Word is spirit, and the spirit of the word is released through our mouths to establish God’s will. Even if you do not see any results, know that you are laying a foundation that all the forces of hell cannot conquer, but you must build upon this foundation and live what you speak to hit your target.
- The next weapon to break demonic strongholds and take back what the devil has stolen is binding and loosing: “And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19).
Binding and loosing is consistent with our authority to take dominion and, for this reason, all Christians should be familiar with it.
This weapon did not originate in the New Testament. It was used frequently by the first century Jewish rabbis to forbid or permit religious practices. The Jews would declare what was an unlawful practice and would bind it, or loose it if was declared lawful. We can do the same in our response to the devil when he seeks to usurp our authority through Jesus. We rebuke him on the basis of the Cross which won our independence from him. This is why keeping a good conscience with our enemies will work to our advantage when we must engage in spiritual warfare. Without it our faith can become shipwrecked: “Holding faith and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck” (I Timothy 1:19).
Simply, binding means to prohibit and loosing means to permit. Binding is an authoritative command to stop the devil. You are forbidding entrance, prohibiting infiltration, and cutting off occupation based upon God’s Word. In effect, you are arresting the devil’s works (bringing them to a stop), rebuking him (turning him back or keeping him down), renouncing his works (refusing to follow/obey), taking dominion and sending him and his demons back to hell. The point is you have verbally prohibit, forbid (bind), and refuse to submit to the devil’s work, not accept it as inevitable or learn to live with it, but to cast it off. You must open your mouth. The Bible states that we are to resist the devil (James 4:7). “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9). To do this, you must understand and become familiar with your authority. In binding, you are speaking to the mountain (Mark 11:23), you are commanding the devil to go.
- The third and most important weapon by which we overcome the oppressor is our faith: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
A person may believe that, if he turns on the ignition to his car and puts his foot on the accelerator, then the car will move forward. However, if he does not exercise that faith, his faith is dead, as is his car. That car will not move unless he acts upon his faith. Faith and corresponding action are what moves the car.
The same is true with Biblical principles. We must apply what we believe. If we believe the Word of God is true, and that obeying God will perfect love in us, then that faith will move us to action. That action — our obedience — saves, delivers, perfects, and redeems us through grace: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace is the unmerited favor of God to do good. When we step forward to obey grace is activated, and suddenly we have to perform the work through the power of His Spirit, which is in us, is it teaches us all things.
Personal Failures no Barrier to Overcoming Faith
Abraham struggled with fear like we all do, and made a few mistakes along the way. Yet, despite failures, he never ceased to walk in faith. His belief in God’s promises, despite all his obstacles, won the favor of God. God called him righteous and he became the father of the faithful. So when you make mistakes, do not think it is over. Keep on walking.
Two accounts are given in the Bible of Abraham lying about the true identity of his wife, Sarah. In the first account (Genesis 12:11), Abraham had just embarked on his journey with God and was entering Egypt to avoid a famine. Abraham, who anticipated that the Egyptians would be impressed by Sarah’s beauty, sought his own safety at the price of Sarah’s honor. Because he lacked faith in God to protect his life, he plotted with Sarah to represent herself as his sister if approached by the Egyptians. (The Bible indicates that Sarah as well as Abraham was fathered by Terah, but with different mothers, making Sarah Abraham’s half-sister.) Abraham’s fear came to pass as Sarah was summoned to Pharaoh’s court.
Abraham did not easily conquer fear, as the same scenario was repeated 25 years later when Sarah was 90 years old. In the second account (Genesis 20), Abraham tells Abimelech, King of Gerar, that Sarah was his sister “when God caused me to wander from father’s house” (Genesis 20:11-13), which was first account. He trusted in his lie, the work of own ingenuity, to deliver him again. Abraham deceived the king into thinking Sarah was his sister, rather than his wife, and the king then sent for her.
Fear distorts our thinking so that our mountain is bigger than God. Abraham was afraid to tell the truth, and he may never have completely conquered this particular fear. I have the feeling that Abraham’s deception was discussed in the household, because Abraham’s fear was passed down to his son, Isaac, who used the same alibi to protect himself when facing a similar challenge (Genesis 26:7). Nevertheless, the apparent success of the subterfuge demonstrates God’s commitment to Abraham to keep him in order to preserve His covenant with him. The same is true with Christians. God will never abandon us even in the midst of our greatest failures and battles if we stay in relationship with Him. When we go through the fire, the fire will not kindle upon us (Isaiah 43:2). If we continue to trust God when we are fearful and walk through the trial, His love will cast out all fear, grant us discernment, and deliver us from evil. Thus we are kept by the power of God through faith unto deliverance (1 Peter 1:6).
So, fear was present with Abraham, but this man, who doubted God’s power to produce an heir through Sarah’s barren womb and fathered a son through the bondwoman, was the same man who was willing to cut off the rightful heir, knowing that God would preserve the promise and raise up Isaac if necessary. What happened to Abraham’s fear was a stronghold that Abraham learned to conquer by his obedience. For this reason, God said of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:19).
Why was Abraham called the “father of the faithful?” Was it because he had total trust in God? We know the answer to that question is “no.” Abraham is called the “father of the faithful” because he continued to believe God’s promise regardless of the roadblocks he encountered. Thus he obeyed God. Though fearful, he faced his trials and, through trials, his faith in God was perfected. The only way to subdue fear and regain confidence in God is to do the very thing that your fear warns against. For example, if God says to confess your faults and fear seeks to protect your image and reputation, do what fear tells you not to do: confess you faults. Your character is at stake. Have no faith in the word “can’t.” Believe God at His Word. You can do all things through Christ—all things.
When we obey, we defeat our oppressor and gain new ground, or spiritual authority. When we are faithful, God makes us rulers: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? “(Matthew 24:45). God said Abraham was faithful because he did justice and judgment. Even though his works were not flawless, he walked in the knowledge he had. By and by he believed God and his belief, lived out in obedience, counted as righteousness, even though he was imperfect. And he grew in the knowledge of God and was transformed into a spiritual giant.
Acquiring Spoils from the Battle
The Bible states that, “The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18). Jesus said they who do and teach His commandments will be great (Matthew 5:19). In Deuteronomy 6:3, God states that if we obey His commandments it would be well with us, and we would “increase mightily as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised…”
Those who obey God as they journey throughout life have a foundation so that when trials come, they will be able to stand; they will have revelation and knowledge.
We may be called to do things we do not know how to do, but if we use what God has given us and let God transform our weaknesses into strengths, He will increase our authority and we will become useful to the Kingdom. There has to be more than believing; believing must lead into obedience for there to be a reward and/or promotion. “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things…” (Matthew 25:21).
This article “Confronting Generational Strongholds” was taken from “There’s Healing In His Wings: A Path To Deliverance & Restoration In The Church” by Carole J. Keller and may be used for research and study purposes only.