THE NATURE OF STRONGHOLDS
WHAT ARE STRONGHOLDS?
Strongholds are spiritual fortresses where Satan has been able to set up camp in us and call the shots. Strong- holds manifest as habits that control us instead of us controlling them: addictions, obsessions and compulsions, and emotional extremes such as rage. These are areas where, no matter what we do, we cannot be consistent in managing our responses.
HOW DO THEY GET SET UP?
Painful or Traumatic Experiences (Acute or Chronic)
· Childhood Abuse (sexual, verbal, emotional, physical) or Abandonment
· Adult Trauma
· Peer Jeers (childhood to young adult)
· Frightening situations
Unrestrained Sin or Rebellious Patterns
· Either in childhood or adulthood
· Indulging behaviors without boundaries
· Long-term defiance or resistance (against rules or authority, be it God or man).
· Family Temperament and Personality Tendencies
· Genetic or modeled
· Family environment
HOW ARE THEY BROUGHT DOWN?
It is not easy. It is a sloppy process and, ultimately, the last blow must come from God. But, there are some things you not only can do, you must do. As the walls of Jericho came down by the power of God, but in concert with His obedient people, so we must work in partnership with God. There are three Scripture references that directly apply: II Corinthians 10: 3-6; Ephesians 6:10-18; Romans 7:14 – 8:4. There is space only for a brief overview of these scriptures, but they are rich, and it is recommended that you carefully study these to glean their fullest guidance.
II Corinthians 10: 3-6
Strongholds are only brought down through the power of God (our weapons are spiritual not carnal). But the Greek here suggests a committed, aggressive assault against stronghold behaviors when they appear. Making exceptions and giving in to them fuels the stronghold and feeds our idols. As an undisciplined child soon is in control, so benign neglect or outright embrace of stronghold issues empowers it. Attack maverick mental responses:
· Don’t let your imagination run amuck. The minute you realize you’re obsessing, daydreaming in ways that are attached to the stronghold or otherwise feeding it, aggressively resist those “symptoms.”
· Any thought that runs counter to God’s truth…that competes with His ways must equally be attacked.
· Bring captive every thought. Strongholds lodge in the mind and manipulate and seek to control the thought life. Left untended, our thoughts will very quickly careen out of control. Remember, making exceptions fuels and strengthens the stronghold.
· Be ready to come against any disobedience the moment you recognize it.
Ephesians 6: 10-18
Understanding and using the spiritual weapons – the whole armor of God – is part of the spiritual weapons alluded to in II Corinthians 10. Ask God to show you where you are believing a lie. Where are the false beliefs in your personal script? This goes to both the “girdle” of truth and the shield of faith. Stay in God’s word as it pertains to your stronghold issues. Find scripture that directly applies to the issues you struggle with: study it, mull over it, meditate upon it…fuel your soul and spirit with His word. Resist the temptations and tendencies of your stronghold with Scripture. Speak it. Think it. Pray it.
Regularly go over the elements of your armor and ask God to show you where the cracks are. Once you have done all you can do, then “stand” (vs. 13-14). This is where God’s hand, His Spirit, must do what you cannot. Do all you can and the Lord must do the rest.
At this point our will does not empower. It can point our ship in the right direction, but it cannot accomplish. It is the Spirit, not the will, that is the empowering agent here. That means we must yield (surrender, relinquish). We must get out of God’s way by ceasing our futile efforts. At this point in the process it is only the Spirit of God released in the yielded, surrendered follower that can finally pull down the strongholds of our flesh.
We must do what we can do and the Holy Spirit will do what we cannot.
Brenda Cox, May 2006 - The Journey