“You are not to make a covenant with the people who are living in this land, and you are to tear down their altars.But you have not obeyed Me. What is this you have done?
Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thornsin your sides, and their gods will be a trap 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.