Toss Your Emotional Baggage

Dr. Tony EvansBy Dr. Tony Evans4 Minutes

An emotional stronghold isn’t the same thing as simply having a bad day. We all have bad days or even bad weeks. An emotional stronghold is an attitude or emotion that stays with you day in and day out. It does more than just show up from time to time. It dictates and dominates your thoughts and choices and thus your life itself.

God never intended for you to wake up depressed every day or to always be paralyzed by fear. He didn’t create you to carry anger around for five, fifteen, or fifty years. God has promised you a full life in Christ. If you’re not experiencing the abundant life Christ freely gives, you may be living with an emotional stronghold.

God wants to free you from the endless and fruitless task of denying or suppressing emotional strongholds through distractions, pills, entertainment, spending, or the like. He wants to reveal to you the root behind what you are experiencing. Just as a doctor will not only listen to how you feel when you go in for an examination but will also probe deeper through X-rays or tests, so too overcoming emotional strongholds involves going deeper than just your feelings to discover the root cause.

Certainly, some emotional strongholds are tied to physiological causes such as a chemical imbalance, and those need to be addressed physically. However, a large number of emotional strongholds are not physiological. They are rooted in sin. The sin may be your own, or someone else’s sin may be affecting you, or your environment may be contaminated by sin. Maybe you were abused as a child, raped, betrayed in a relationship, or unwanted. It wasn’t your sin that created the stronghold of fear, insecurity, guilt, or shame that you may be facing now. But it was still sin that caused it.

Emotional strongholds often come as a result of what I call atmospheric sin – sin that so clouds the atmosphere around us that its results affect us whether we committed the sin or not. It’s similar in concept to secondhand smoke and lung cancer. You may not have smoked the cigarettes yourself, but studies show that if you grew up in a home contaminated by cigarette smoke, you have a higher potential for contracting lung cancer. The same holds true for sin. An environment deeply contaminated by sin leads to a greater susceptibility to emotional strongholds.


Pray and ask God to reveal your discouraging thoughts, beliefs, or words; your sentiments of giving up … anything that reflects a spirit of insignificance or anything similar. Also, think of things others may have said to you to cause you to believe you were not valuable or were unable to be victorious in your life. Write these all down. For each untruth, look for a countering truth from God’s Word. When you write down the countering truth, be sure to cross out the untruth and pray in Christ’s name that it will no longer affect your life and the lives of those around you. Then thank God that the power of His truth has been let loose to do its work of healing, empowerment, and grace in you.