We can have strongholds IN THE LORD. He after all is our refuge and strong tower! He is the lover of your soul and there is not a moment that He doesn’t want to be with you. That’s also why He promises emphatically that if you will draw near to Him He WILL draw near to you.
So let’s settle that at the outset. If you want to be more connected to God, He wants to be connected to you even more than you want to be connected! But what if we don’t even want to draw near to Him?
Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
So what if we don’t even want to draw near to Him? Well Hebrews 11:6 says that he who comes to God MUST (1) believe that He is & believe (2) that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!
If you are not currently in the place of hunger to draw near to God, who are you believing that He is? Secondly, do you think He is a rewarder - or not? “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits …” (Ps. 103:2)
Maybe you’ve met a Christian that says they don’t seek God for anything … they just seek Him for Him! Well, scripturally, we are supposed to seek Him knowing that He’s the rewarder! That sort of no-reward approach to Christianity will not last. He wants to be your provision. He wants to be your supply - and He wants that to motivate you!
Without faith, it is impossible to please Him! Faith is not an a la carte item in the Christian life; it is the main dish! The righteous shall live by faith! Not have faith sometimes; we will actually LIVE by faith!
Faith is ALWAYS an invitation to greater relationship with God. Every ounce of His grace is an invitation to relationship. Every new facet or perspective on His provision, sufficiency, and supply, is actually an invitation to closer relationship.
God is a rewarder. The first point is that you cannot please God apart from faith. The second point is that God is a rewarder.…” Look at the father’s response to his older son in Lk. 15:31 “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” Do you notice the 2 priorities of the father? Intimacy (you’re always with me) and provision (all that I have is yours). Religion is trying to do for God what you’ve not yet allowed Him to do for you. The Father is not against your service, He just wants it to be out of His provision and out of intimacy with Him … and not in order to either earn intimacy with Him or to earn provision.
Mark Crawford says the kingdom of God is not about you changing; the kingdom of God is about exchange. Everything in the kingdom is about exchange! He became sin who knew no sin in order that I might become the righteousness of God in Him! Religion is about change. Change yourself. Change yourself. Will power. Change yourself. Check yourself. If you are a little depressed … not really wanting to seek God …. are you operating in “change” or “exchange?”
What about us doing for God? This is a “chicken or egg” question. God knows that when we receive from Him we will become like Him! We will lay down our life because He laid down His!
David slayed Goliath for God and the Israelites but remember … God had slayed a lion and a bear for David! Matthew 10:8 says “freely you have received, freely give.” Do not minister what you’ve not freely received. If you didn’t freely receive it, it means it’s not from grace which means it won’t have the power of God upon it. This is, I believe, the biggest problem in all of ministry - trying to give away something that you have not yet received from God.
The Lord spoke to me early this summer and then I started reading the Psalms like this for a month or two - looking for everything in the Psalms that said who God is to me! My relationship with God grew and this became a stronghold for me in Him. Here’s the phrase God gave me:
"All of who I AM is who I want to be for you!"
Faith is spelled R-E-C-E-I-V-E. The only way to please the Father is to receive. Said shortly:
Receive to Please
Go ahead and start building this stronghold in your life! Read the Psalms looking for who God is and therefore who He wants to be for you!