WHAT IS A STRONGHOLD?
Most of us think of strongholds, more in terms of an actual external sense. But listen to this scripture in 2 Corinthians 10:4
“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds) Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
Another translation says:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
It says, “We destroy arguments”—that’s a way of thinking—”We destroy every lofty opinion”—that’s a way of thinking.
A stronghold is sort of a nucleus or an epicenter of unbelief that we have in our lives that exalts itself against the knowledge that’s only revealed through Jesus Christ.
In the Greek, the word for “stronghold” means “fortified place”—in other words, a place of greatest protection in your life. It also means “bastion” or “false argument.” In other words, instead of being fortified behind the stronghold of Jesus’ protection you can be hidden behind the falseness of the enemy and not even realize it. “False argument” means—opposing that which is true knowledge that comes from God.
And so a definition of “stronghold” is this: A stronghold is a mindset, a value system, or a thought process that doesn’t allow you to use your full potential for Jesus Christ in his glory. And it doesn’t allow the believer to live their potential in the glory of God in every single area of their life.
Galatians 5:1 says
“It is for freedom that Christ as set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”
This liberty was directed not at the world but to the church – to genuine believers.
A believer is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective spirit filled life God has planned for us.
God’s word is the perfect law that gives freedom.
The word strongholds is found once in the New Testament, used metaphorically by Paul in a description of the Christian’s spiritual battle. Another translation is this:
“Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses [strongholds]” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NASB)
This passage reveals the following facts about our warfare:
- Our battle is not planned according to the way this world fights; earthly stratagems are not our concern.
- Our weapons are not physical, for our warfare is spiritual in nature. Rather than guns and tanks, our weapons are those of the “full armor of God” and consist of “the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:14-17
- Our power comes from God alone.
- God’s plan is to demolish spiritual strongholds.
Sometimes we want God to magically wave a wand over us and remove every hindrance without requiring anything of us. If he would do that, without our cooperation we would probably soon pick up another hindrance in its place. He desires to change us from the inside out… renewing our minds, starving our self destructive ways and he wants to teach us how to form new habits.
Liberty and authority always go hand in hand. Let’s never forget whose authority we stand in and then we will find liberty. If we try to control our life in our own authority we will fail.
“The Lord is the Spirit who gives them life, and where he is there is freedom from trying to be saved by keeping the laws of God.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
His Spirit brings liberty!!
The Lord is the one and only possessor of true liberty. All we have to do is learn to receive. When we receive Jesus as Savior we literally receive Jesus!! His Spirit takes up actual residence in side of us.
Romans 8:9 tells the necessity of this reception.
“If anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not have Christ.”
Freedom and Lordship are inseparable partners in the believer’s life.
Jesus warned us that the road into his life is a narrow road:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Do you think this could be an encouragement to a different way of living in this age? Salvation for Jesus was not just to keep us from destruction, but opening a door for us into a relationship with his Father.
Jesus didn’t want to provoke exclusivity or fear with His words, but rather to equip hungry hearts to know how to know Him. How to be free!! Following the broad way of self-interest will devour us, but there is a narrower path that will lead us to life.
Jesus preached sermons by walking with people, answering their questions and stimulating their better hopes. In the face of those realities, He pointed down the road His Father would have them go, where they could know Him and live freely in His life.
That’s why Jesus contrasted the broad road with the narrow one. His way is not obvious to our natural inclinations. It may not look as satisfying at the outset, but that’s because true joy and freedom don’t lie in the things we think we want, or what the crowd tells us we want, but by embracing what God knows is best for us.
That’s why he also warned us:
Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it (Matthew 16:25).
He knew the way of destruction puts up an attractive facade that appeals to our selfish desires and the illusion of an easier way.
The life of Jesus is about learning to listen to His impulses in the next choice before you.
Here’s the picture: the Christian, wearing his spiritual armor and bearing his spiritual weapons, sets out to “conquer” the world for Christ, but he soon finds obstacles. The enemy has erected strongly fortified garrisons to resist the Truth and thwart God’s plan of redemption.
There is the fortress of human reasoning, reinforced with many subtle arguments and the pretense of logic and wrong thinking based on our past generational environments.
There is the castle of passion, with flaming battlements defended by lust, pleasure, and greed.
And there is the pinnacle of pride, in which the human heart sits enthroned and revels in thoughts of its own excellence and sufficiency.
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