There are many mountains you will climb in your journey of faith, and many battles you will fight and, in Christ, they have Kingdom purpose (even if the enemy meant otherwise, or even if you brought them upon yourself!) and you will experience them working “together for good” as you walk according to God’s purpose for you. I have learned that the victories we see are first seen within ourselves, before we see them outside of ourselves! As you journey, one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself- both spiritually and in the natural- is examine who you are.
I don’t mean “who you are in Christ”, but who you are, as a human being. Much of who you are right now is heavily influenced by your experiences with your family, especially your parents, or the people who raised you. We all experience family pressures and expectations that our parents put upon us and those shape us over time- for better and for worse. But as we grow, we start to think differently than our parents did, and often times there is a disconnect or even conflict as they express disapproval for our decisions or the way we do things. It is important to understand that you are not your parents. Just like you have your struggles, your parents have theirs and many parents – even the best ones, the most godly and most loving parents – aren’t perfect people and their own issues, the way they were raised, their pain and experiences are used to shape and influence you.
One of the most significant things you can do is let the Lord show you who or what your “father’s idols” are and how they may have gotten in the way of who you are, and who the Lord has called you to be. Let me explain…
“…before the Lord could use Gideon to face the world and win, he first had to face his own family and win, defending his position in faith and obeying what the Lord had told him to do.”
Judges chapters 6-8 tell the story of Gideon, whom the Lord used mightily to defeat “Midianites, Amalekites, and the people from the east” who had decimated and pillaged the Israelites into hiding, famine and poverty. However, before all of that happened, Gideon had to do something else. “…the Lord said to him, ‘Take a bull from your father’s herd and a second bull seven years old. Tear down your father’s Baal altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this stronghold in an orderly way. Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole that you will cut down.'”
This was deeply significant because in those days household idols were passed down from father to son. This means that Gideon was essentially tearing down his own inheritance in order to let the Lord give him one. Wow!! Gideon obeyed and guess what? His family members wanted to kill him. His own father refused to take sides, simply saying “Let Ba’al defend himself,” leaving Gideon hanging out there on his own! But before the Lord could use Gideon to face the world and win, he first had to face his own family and win, defending his position in faith and obeying what the Lord had told him to do! [Read this next: “Physician, Heal Thyself”, Part 1″]
“Your father’s idols” are something we all have to contend with in our lives, and the Lord has something bigger for you- but your first step may be facing your own family and “tearing down” old idols– exposing issues, family secrets, pain and more in order to fight the bigger battles God needs you to win!
Thought for today
Facing his father and his father’s household was the first step to victory for Gideon. Sometimes facing our family is the hardest thing we can do! But tearing down “your father’s altars” and seeking the Lord for what family strongholds or demonic, familiar spirits could be trying to influence you is an important step of bold faith that many never take! Even good parents cause damage to their children without meaning to, because they are as flawed as you are! But part of your path to freedom in Christ may be confronting those “idols” of addiction, old ways of thinking, religious oppression, disapproval, control, and even their misguided good intentions. What Gideon did wasn’t easy, but it was necessary because the Lord wanted to show Gideon that 1) His true inheritance wasn’t from his earthly father, but from his Heavenly Father, and 2) He would build an altar to God on those “former things” and worship God for the new thing He was about to do!!