A few days ago, I talked about the concept of the sins of the fathers visiting to the "fourth generation." This is a very hotly debated subject because many people believe that grace through faith in Jesus Christ covers all sins. It does, but I'm getting back to the concept that salvation is life-changing and that's what makes it possible for that grace to cancel the effect of sin that would otherwise last for generations upon generations. When you trust in Christ and develop new life, the old behavior patterns that have been characteristic of you (which you learned from your parents who had not found new life in Christ) pass away, and you will not model those behaviors for your children. Instead you will model freedom in Christ. This is why children can be consecrated through their parents' faith. Parents will make mistakes because even when we have life in Christ we are still human, and because children are not perfect they will stumble into their own sins as they grow. This is why everybody needs the cleansing that Christ offers and we can't just count on saving our children on our own. But they sure have a lot less old baggage to die to when we aren't giving them our baggage! We will be extending the grace and love of God to them and they to their children, etc. That is a cycle that is not easily broken, especially when we lay a very strong foundation for them; and that's how the love of God extends to a thousand generations.
These strongholds in our lives only have as much power as we abdicate. God has authority over Satan and over all his little minions. As His children, we also have that authority; and we are to resist the devil and he will flee. This takes a whole lot of self-awareness and awareness of what is happening in the battlefield. There is a key point to loving God with heart, mind, soul, and strength... Our emotions make us a ware of our need for Him. Our mind helps us come to know Him, and our soul communes with Him. When these things are all set on Him, then our strength makes us live out the truth. Satan uses the heart, mind, and strength to attack the soul, and his primary area of attack is the mind. So we have to be always feeding the mind the right things, even and especially when he attacks our heart and strength. That's what living by faith is about. The mind can't force change, but the mind is like a hunter and brings home a feast that the heart, soul, and strength feed on.