Do you feel hopelessly flawed?
Are you “stuck” in the same place after much healing and deliverance?
Do you feel that even God can’t help you?
Join the party. There are a lot of people out there with the same difficulties. If this is true of you, you are likely dealing with the three-headed monster of Shame, Fear & Control (S-F-C).
No matter who you are, what your background is or how much Christian training or knowledge you’ve been exposed to, you may be walking in the victimization of this stronghold, and it’s not an enviable place to be. Been there, done that.
Back to the Garden
Almost without exception, almost all human troubles are related to the original sin of Adam and Eve. Their sin set the tone for the inevitable separation in our relationship with God, with each other and ourselves. As someone said, “If you want to know how far we’ve fallen, consider the climb back up!” Without Jesus’ death and resurrection, reconciliation in these three areas was impossible, but because He was the Second Adam, He completely healed us of what the first one got us into!
“Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] as Adam did. Adam was a type (prefigure) of the One Who was to come [in reverse, [a]the former destructive, the Latter saving]” (Rom. 5:14 AMP).
The Garden sin scenario involved a number of things, but primarily, we find the stronghold of Shame, Fear and Control rearing its ugly head. After Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately ran from God out of fear, which they had never felt before they sinned, and in their shame, sought to control their fear by covering themselves with fig leaves. Shame, Fear, Control.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves (control) Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid (fear) from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked (shame); so I hid” (Gen. 3:6-9 NIV).
Shame based living
Since our carnal flesh is found in the Adamic sin genetic transference, Satan’s tempts us to use the same methodology concerning S-F-C with all of us. Because Adam’s sin was passed down to us through the genes of our ancestors, we inherit shame-based living. We are born into it, and it only needs to be triggered by shameful events to become full-blown. Guilt is shame’s distant relative, coming and going, according to what we feel we may have done or not done. However, shame remains constant. It may be subtle or not so subtle, but the results are a lack of freedom and joy in living the Christian life.
Recently, the head of our ministry (http://www.transformationranch.org), Rock Hobbs, and I were ministering to a man with an alcoholic background, which ran on both sides of his family including aunts and uncles. We saw the sins of the fathers operating in his situation but also tremendous humiliation and shame provoked by fear. The shame had been triggered by several life events in which he was publically humiliated.
Once this process begins, the S-F-C stronghold starts to build a fortress against freedom, drawing on our shame, the fear of being found out and the control to ensure we remain “looking good,” no matter what. My heavens! What if someone found out we’re not all we seem!
Just another fig leaf
Ecclesiastes says, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” This is true with regard to S-F-C. The circumstances may be different – different sin scenario – molestation or other acts we might have been involved in, but the result is ultimately another fig leaf held neatly in place by our best efforts — control. The problem is, in most cases, no amount of prayer, Scripture memory, anointed preaching or fasting has an effect on S-F-C stronghold because it often goes undetected because of our denial, poor memories or lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). We often wither under the barrage of negative belief that seems endless and give up the ultimate victory that may be within our grasp.
Strongholds are strong! According to 2 Cor. 10:4-5, they are mental fortresses that defy Godly reason and truth with their seeming impenetrability.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of stronghold [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”
Strongholds are surrounded by deception, lies and ungodly beliefs that have crept into our thinking since we first crawled out of the womb. The longer the stronghold remains, the harder it is to break because people assume “it’s just the way they are.” God hates diabolical strongholds! The S-F-C stronghold is heavy duty, but once it begins to break, all manner of evil that has remained through its deceptive efforts can be cut off!
Steps to freedom:
- Shattering shame — As with every deliverance God grants to us, step number one is seeing our problem. If we remain safely surrounded by our Christian platitudes and denial that we have a problem, the problem remains. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and He wants us to acknowledge that all may not be well with us. Before our ministry, Transformation Ministries (http://www.transformationranch.org), began teaching and ministering to people with this stronghold, God spoke to me and said, “You still have a lot of shame operating in you.” I knew I still felt guilty at times, but I hadn’t recognized it as shame. I began to ask God what it was, and He slowly and methodologically began to daily show me the roots of my shame, which quite frankly, I was aware of and had carried all my life! I just didn’t realize it was the source of so many problems, nor did I understand how to deal with it. As I began to address the shame, fear and control in the stronghold, it began to shatter. Defeating strongholds is like eating an elephant – one bite at a time!
- Ferreting out Fear – Fear in our lives runs the gamut. It can be everything from fear of man to fear of failure to fear of death and dying. Because of Adamic sin, we are shot through with it! I found one website that claimed to list all the phobias known to man – http://phobialist.com, but the author said he didn’t know how to cure them – he just liked naming them and has been collecting them for 20 years! According to the author of phobialist, the Bible says, “fear not” or something related 314 times in the original languages, which includes words that have been translated into other words such as terrible, dreadful, reverence, and terrible acts. As for the different translations blueletterbible.com also list the following: NKJV 129, NIV 66, NASB 127, ASV 148, DBY 155, HNV 44, NLT 38, ESV 137, RSV 139, YNG 115, WEB 144. Fear must be found out and dealt with!
- Cutting Control – Control is a result of submitting to fear in others and ourselves. Any attempt to control ourselves or others because of fear isn’t God’s way. Extreme control over others, often referred to as jezebelic control, named after the evil queen Jezebel, is motivated by evil and may involve witchcraft or diabolical mental control. This needs to be cut off by the Sword of the Spirit by using our authority in Jesus’ name. We often find this kind of control in husband-wife, mother-father-son-daughter or relationships in which fear and intimation have been used to keep someone in check or under their control.
Spiritual battles can be long and hard, but knowing what we’re up against and how demonic forces operate can bring victory. It’s in hiding that Satan and his lies continue to oppress the believer into cowering and fear.
Submission is often treated as if it’s a dirty word in our culture, but it’s beautiful when it’s done in real love that desires the best in others, and not by taking advantage of them and using them for our own selfish purposes. God’s agape love is always the answer. He loves us for ourselves and not for what we do or don’t do. He doesn’t force our will, and He certainly provides every opportunity to be forgiven and to forgive. As we walk in this agape, shame, fear and control will become apparent, and we will be ready to be set free!
Editor’s note: The content in this article was taken from the teaching on the S-F-C stronghold by Chester and Betty Kylstra of Restoring the Foundations (http://rtfi.org). Below is a link to their article, Overcoming the Hidden Joy Killer, which will shed further light on this stronghold – http://revivalmag.com/article/overcoming-hidden-joy-killer.