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WHEN YOU ALWAYS REACH A LIMIT TO WHAT YOU CAN DO, IT MAY BE THAT YOU NEED TO BIND THE 'STRONG MAN'
In Ephesians 6, we're told directly and bluntly that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Padre Pio was once given the vision of a huge spirit he was assigned to struggle with his whole life.
Call them powers. Call them principalities. Call them "strong men."
It's time for our Church to address this more directly.
There are strong men over municipalities, and states, and nations. There are strong men over ethnic groups. What about us personally?
Think of your life and areas where you are always limited, where you can never break through and yet it seems you should.
Is there a stronghold -- and "strong man" -- over an area of your life? Is there something holding you back? Do you butt your head against the wall?
It's worth contemplating. There are forces that operate with us personally and forces that hover over entire regions.
"You may be a Christian businessman who has a sincere desire to use your finances and talents for the Lord," said the incredibly insightful deliverance expert, Derek Prince. "But, somehow, your business never really prospers the way it should. Just when you are on the brink of a breakthrough, success eludes you. I want to suggest that there may be a strong man over your business. Whatever your specific situation, ask God to reveal the strong man to you, because He alone has the solution to your difficulty. As He reveals it, repent of any sin He shows you; then, bind the strong man and enter into the fullness of life... that God desires for you."
Recall Matthew 12:29, where Jesus says that in order to get rid of demons, we must first bind the principality. As He put it, "how can anyone enter a strong manís house and carry off [recover] his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man?"
When there's a limit to what you can do, or where you can go, and how much you can love -- how far you can go in solving issues -- there may be a stronghold over an aspect of your life or even your family, a strong man who needs to be bound (if the problem is not that what you want isn't good for you, and is worldly). Ask God what it is. He'll reveal it to you (in His time and way). It could be an imperfection. It could be pride. It could be self-righteousness. It could be timidity. It could be many things -- often, hidden things, characteristics we don't even usually contemplate, things that run in our families!
Break them down; cast it off -- in the Name of Jesus (and only in His Name).
When there's a hole in an umbrella, things can come in.
Cast out wrong ambitions. Forget about things that go to ego. Meditate during the Rosary on God's Will for you. Meditate on today's Mass reading (2/25/14, at the end of this article). Then, in Jesus' Name, with the help of our angels, with Michael, with the saints, bind the strong man.
The Lord gives us the image of a cruel leader -- a despot -- who has slaves and all sorts of stolen goods in his house. He has control of his household. It's very difficult to get in to set his slaves free or regain the plunder. If you do get in, you're fighting the strong man while you're trying to recover his plunder, and it's too much to do. The logical approach, notes Prince, is to begin by binding the strong man.
Tie him up. Put a gag in his mouth. Then, walk in and reclaim what is yours.
This is a significant spiritual principle.
When things aren't going your way, when you are not seeing spiritual breakthroughs in your family, business, or your church, when things are not going as you think (in humility) they should, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the "hold," the bondage, the restraint around you.
Meditate on your disposition. Break strongholds during the Eucharist.
"You must be an optimist," says Prince. "If you are a pessimist, your mind is open to attack by Satan." Adds this brilliant writer -- educated at Oxford, but more impressively educated in the travels of life: "For me," "the concept of demonic entities ruling over cities is not a mere theory. I have seen in my own ministry how this principle works. As I have traveled from city to city and from place to place, I have learned that to be effective in ministry in a certain locality, I often must identify the particular satanic power that is at work in that city. And it is different from city to city." It's also different from family to family and person to person."
"If you want to be successful in any given situation, you must discover who or what the satanic 'strong man' is over that situation," noted the author. "Then, once you have bound the strong man, you can do what needs to be done. But the principle is to first bind the strong man -- then set his captives free and recover what was lost."
[resources: Prince's Pulling Down Strongolds and They Shall Expel Demons]
[Michael Brown spiritual retreats: Virginia]
[James: 4:1-10: "Beloved:
Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly,
to spend it on your passions.
Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God?
Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world
makes himself an enemy of God.
Or do you suppose that the Scripture speaks without meaning when it says,
The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy?
But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
So submit yourselves to God.
Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners,
and purify your hearts, you of two minds.
Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep.
Let your laughter be turned into mourning
and your joy into dejection.
Humble yourselves before the Lord
and he will exalt you."]
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