Spiritual Disciplines // STUDY & SELF EXAMINATION
By Donia Hovet
This past Sunday I shared this story about a lie the enemy has used in my life:
When I graduated from college, I was 8 ½ months pregnant with my first child. Instead of starting my career, I became a stay-at-home with a brand new baby. I felt CALLED to care for her. Enter the lie of the enemy. When we do what God calls us to do, he comes after us (prowling around like a roaring lion, 1 Peter 5:8). For years, I lived with this nagging lie: that I had amounted to nothing. It penetrated my heart, my thoughts, my relationship with God. Bitterness threatened to steal the joy of motherhood. Society said I should and could have it all. But I knew my babies needed me and for ten years the enemy hounded me with the same lie: you have accomplished nothing. You ARE nothing. Even now, I have to ward this lie off with the truth of God’s word.
We all have go-to lies that the enemy wants to parade as truth in our lives. These are called strongholds.
Today we are going to use the spiritual disciplines of study and self-examination to form some weapons against the lies of the enemy in our lives.
SELF-EXAMINATION: Take some time to discern some strongholds in your life. In the following four areas, circle or highlight anything that applies. Take a minute or two for each area, to really consider and think of concrete examples where these strongholds have affected your behavior, thoughts and/or emotions.
- Money: Do you find yourself obsessing about money? Does it make you angry and worried? Do you fight stinginess? Are you always wanting more (money, possessions, experiences)? Are you resistant to tithing or giving in general?
- Control: Do you find yourself angry over rules and regulations? Do you find yourself challenging or questioning authority figures and/or experts? Do you manipulate to get your own way? Do you fantasize about being the one in charge?
- Image: Do you think a lot about how you look? Do you shop too much? Do you feel poorly about your body? Do your possessions make you feel good about yourself? Does your job or status give you your sense of worth?
- Circumstance: Do you fixate on news and alerts? Are you completely overwhelmed by the events of the past year? Do you find yourself feeling hopeless and despairing? Do you regularly retreat into escapism/entertainment?
STUDY: Read the following scriptures. Write them each down on a piece of paper (or type and print). Place them in strategic places to read throughout the week (Some ideas: bathroom mirror, dashboard, refrigerator, desk at work, etc.).
- Combat the stronghold of money: Matthew 6:31-33
- Combat the stronghold of control: Mark 8:34-37
- Combat the stronghold of image: Ephesians 2:8-10
- Combat the stronghold of circumstance: 1 John 4:4; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:26-28 (NIV)
MEMORIZE the scriptures above and refer to them when you are being accosted by the enemy.