Spiritual warfare: Tear down strongholds
I think too many people make strongholds out to be a complex subject. Strongholds are merely incorrect thinking patterns. They are patterns in our minds that are programmed to think contrary to the truth.
For example, a common scenario is where a person feels dirty, guilty and is shameful of their past. They are so used to thinking about their past, that it’s driven the person to think and feel like a failure! They feel unworthy to have a close intimate relationship with God, which greatly affects their spiritual strength, faith, and relationship with Him. No wonder Satan tries to build such strongholds in our minds!
So how does Satan build these strongholds?
He starts by reminding us of our past failures and sins. He brings up things that we ought not to be dwelling upon, and tries to make us agree with him on how badly we failed. We then have the choice to listen and agree with him, or listen to God’s Word (which is telling us that those sins have been washed away). If we take the devil’s bait and begin to mediate on our failures, it will begin to pull us down spiritually and strongholds will develop. We will begin to see ourselves as failures because we’ve taken the bait and chose to meditate on a lie that the devil has fed us!
It is also not uncommon to find a person who picks up a demonic spirit through sin (such as fornication), and that demon uses it’s newly gained rights (or ability) in the person’s mind to quickly build strongholds. Since the demon is able to influence the person from the inside now, it can get the job done much quicker. This is not an uncommon scenario! Not only does the demonic spirit(s) need to be driven out, but the stronghold also needs to be torn down before the person will experience a complete breakthrough.
Strongholds can and do play a big part of how we feel
If we think we are a failure, we will feel like failures. If you think you’re hopeless, you will feel hopeless. If you know you are forgiven, you’ll feel clean inside. If you constantly think of your past failures, you will see yourself as associated with them. If you constantly think of how you have been separated from your past when the Blood of Jesus has washed it away, you will feel bright and clean inside. Changing the way you think can make a big difference in the way you feel!
How do we tear down strongholds?
Strongholds are build upon deception and lies that we’ve accepted into our minds. So how do you counter a lie? How do you counter deception? With the truth. Where do we find the truth? In the Word of God. As we can see in Ephesians, this weapon is known as the sword of the Spirit:
Ephesians 6:17, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
In 2 Corinthians, we are told that our spiritual weaponry is designed to tear down strongholds:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds😉 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
This is a great verse that gives us a good idea of how we are to go about tearing down strongholds in our minds. First, since the sword of the Spirit is the offensive piece of our weaponry, it is a great tool for tearing down strongholds. You need to go on the offensive to tear down a stronghold, and the Word of God is the weapon you cannot afford not to use.
So when the devil tries to tell us, “You really messed up, haven’t you?”
You need to counter it with, “1 John 3:5 tells me that the reason Jesus went to the cross was to take away that sin! Hebrews 8:12 tells me that even God has chosen to forget my sin!”
Boy does Satan hate that! It reminds him of the days when he tried tempting Jesus:
Satan said to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Matthew 4:3)
But Jesus replied with, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
What did Satan do? After Jesus did that a few times, he had no choice but to hit the road… his efforts were useless against Jesus! Jesus knew the relevant scriptures to quote, and took away Satan’s ability to influence Him!
Let’s go back to 2 Corinthians again and see what else it has to say:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
As we can see, we are told to cast down imaginations. What are imaginations? They are things that we imagine… the devil usually plants them in our minds when he asks us a question that starts out with “What if…” Don’t waste your time trying to reason things with the devil. Just throw it out and leave him hanging! Get your mind on God’s Word and off of what the devil is trying to tell you.
What else are we told in this verse? We are to cast down every thought that comes into our minds that opposes the knowledge of God. What is the knowledge of God? Since God associates Himself with His Word (John 1:1), if anything comes into our minds that is contrary to God’s Word, throw it out! Do not waste your time thinking about it or trying to reason with it. If Satan is trying to tell you that God is not wanting to forgive you, then don’t listen to it. Why? Because His Word says otherwise:
Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.” (NASB)
Not only does He want to forgive your sins, so that your relationship with Him can be restored, He longs (which means He deeply desires) to do so! One of the last things Satan wants us to know is God’s forgiving and loving nature towards us even after we have messed up!
As you can see, strongholds are built on lies and deception. How do you counter such things? With truth! Where do you find truth? In the Word of God! Stop thinking about what Satan has been feeding you, and begin to meditate on God’s Word. Take verses in the Bible that run contrary to what the devil’s been feeding you, and repeat them to yourself over and over out loud. Think about them often, and meditate on them. The devil got his stronghold built by causing you to meditate on his lies and deception, so if you want to tear down that stronghold, you need to begin meditating on the exact opposite, which is God’s Word.
Listening to and reasoning with the things the devil puts in your mind is exactly what he wants you to do. It feed his strongholds when you allow your mind to meditate on Satan’s word (opposite of God’s Word). Cut him off at the source and say NO to the garbage he’s been feeding you, and at the same time turn to God’s Word. Begin to feed, meditate upon, think about often and dwell upon on the truth. It will stop Satan dead in his tracks!
It is also possible to have strongholds in place because demonic spirits have attached themselves to you at some point or another, and need to be driven out. If you work hard at tearing down strongholds by applying the truths in God’s Word and this teaching, and yet you seem to hit a wall, it may be because a demonic spirit needs to be driven out. It is very possible (and not uncommon) to experience quite a bit of freedom through applying the principals in this teaching even if there is a demonic spirit present, but you will only go so far and feel like you’re hitting a wall. That is a sign of a demon at work that needs to be driven out. It can be awfully hard to battle when they are working on you from the inside out. Resisting them from the outside is easy, but resisting them when they are on the inside can be extremely hard. If you seem to have reached an immovable mountain, you might want to consider the possibility of needing to have an unclean spirit driven out.
Many Christians today believe that they cannot have demons… nothing could be further from the truth! When you’re in the ministry of deliverance, you see very sincere believers manifest demons quite often. I was one myself… a very sincere believer who dearly loved the Lord… and yet I faced awful demonic bondages and have been through deliverance! There is a teaching specifically on Christians having demons on this site that will show you how it is quite possible for a believer to have a demon and be in need of a deliverance: Can a Christian have a demon?