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Understanding Footholds

150 150 Tim Howard

“In your anger do not sin, do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”  (Ephesians 4:26-27)

What is a foothold? 

In the early hours of June 6th, 1944 perhaps one of the greatest footholds in military history was launched and established on the beaches of Normandy France.  British, Canadian, and American troops stormed the beaches of France in an attempt to control a section of ground from which they could make further advancement into German held territory.  Without this foothold or section of ground to advance from, the ability of the allied army to move forward could have been severely compromised.  After many hours of fighting and the loss of many lives the allied army outflanked the German positions and began to take more and more territory from the Germans.  It was difficult and slow but by August 25th 1944 American troops reached Paris.

Definition of Foothold:  A firm base for progress or a secure starting position from which further advancements can be made.

From a spiritual perspective:

  1. Footholds are doors we knowingly or unknowingly open that give the enemy a greater ability to make advances into our lives.  Some footholds or access points are easier to see, while other footholds are hidden from us and we don’t realize how we are giving the enemy the upper hand.
  2. It is imperative that we understand demonic footholds lead to varying degrees of oppression.  And demonic oppression is mostly advanced through demonic lies. The more we accept the lies the greater the oppression. The greater the oppression the more Satan can influence our attitudes, behavior, and decisions; and sometimes he can even affect our health.
  3. The enemy always uses deceit to bring us down.  I don’t know how to express this strong enough.  Satan’s ability to oppress us and destroy us almost always stem from some lie we have accepted as truth.  We know the enemy forces of evil are able to project thoughts into our minds in the form of temptation because we have all experienced it.  But we don’t seem to realize how he uses this same mind projection ability to convince us of his lies.
  4. In John 8:32 it says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  One of the greatest weapons we can use to fight back is by replacing satanic lies with the truth of God’s Word and helping people see their situation through the lens of truth.  Our enemy is a master at twisting and distorting the painful events we have endured at the hands of others and filling us with hatred and unforgiveness or making us believe it was completely our fault.
  5. Satan is not only clever at sneaking in through footholds; he is also a master at creating footholds.   He influences others to create footholds in our lives through sexual, verbal, and physical abuse.  There are many different kinds of footholds, but they all achieve the same thing, allowing Satan an opening to further unleash his oppressive lies.
  6. Oppression can be described as: the dominating weight or pressure we take upon ourselves by accepting Satan’s lies about us that lead to very destructive thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.  And oppression produces some very damaging fruit; fruit that is filled with deadly poison. Fruit such as hatred, bitterness, anger, sorrow, worry, hopelessness, addictions, and suicide can keep us tied up in knots and prevent us from achieving all that Christ wants us to be.
  7. Remember, a foothold is any sin, situation, or event that the enemy can use as the starting point to advance greater levels of control over us.   Some of the most common footholds are: Deliberate sin, physical, emotional or sexual wounds inflicted upon us by others, painful events from our past, participating in activities associated with the occult, rejection or abandonment, pride.
  8. Each foothold produces a different set of lies.
  9. What are some keys that will unlock the grip of oppression?  They are: repentance, being sorry enough for our sins that we commit to turn away from them.  Asking God to forgive us and believing he has.  Replacing the lies we have believed with the truth of God’s Word and looking at the wounds we have endured through the lens of truth.  Our ability to forgive ourselves and others who have hurt us.  We need to confess any anger or resentment toward God for the painful circumstances and events that have created deep emotional wounds within us.  Combine these keys with some specific targeted prayers asking Jesus to cut the oppression off of us and the footholds will be taken away.
  10. If the allied armies would have failed to create a foothold in Normandy, France, I am quite certain the allied Generals would have strived to create a foothold somewhere else at a later time.  Just as we will always be tempted by Satan and no amount of freedom ministry can make that stop, the enemy’s attempts to establish a foothold will never stop.  He will always be looking to stage hurtful situations that he can use to advance his lies, or pick apart our defenses until he finds an opening to launch an attack from.  We may find new freedom by removing the enemy’s footholds, but we must never let our guard down as he will constantly be trying to establish new ones.

Question: In the last couple of months, can you think of an area where Satan tried to create a foothold in your life?  If so, what did you do?


Tim Howard

Tim Howard was born in Muscatine Iowa, but has lived his entire life in Illinois. Tim is an ordained Pastor in The Wesleyan Church as a result of being called into ministry later in life and following the educational track offered by The Wesleyan Church toward ordination. Tim was Vice President General Manager of Graphic Image when he was called out of the secular world to serve full time in ministry. Tim served on staff at Heritage Wesleyan Church in Rock Island IL for ten years finishing his time there as Adult Ministry Department Head. After leaving Heritage in August of 2010, Tim founded and launched Wellsprings of Freedom International, where he is currently serving as President. Tim and his wife Gracie are the proud parents of two sons and adore their two grandchildren.

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