“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). We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
A stronghold is defined by Webster as a place having strong defenses; a fortress. As we progress, growing in our walk with God, the enemy will fight hard by every possible means to discourage and defeat us. To overcome these personal attacks we must understand his methods. He will most often try to defeat us through our minds (our thought lives). This battle is very strong because it goes on continually. In dreams, when we wake up in the morning, and throughout the day, fiery thought darts assail our minds. Our enemy knows that if he can rule in our thoughts, then he can defeat us in our actions, including our prayer lives. We don’t realize the number of negative thoughts that bombard us daily. And they are powerful. They can destroy relationships, affect ministries, drain us of health and energy, as they impact almost every area of our lives.
To avoid destruction, we must learn to take every thought captive to Christ and not listen to the lies of the enemy.
Learning to destroy strongholds of the mind will have a dramatic affect in the life of every person who wants to serve God wholeheartedly. As intercessors, we must take captive our thoughts and walk in truth. Doing this has greatly impacted both my husband’s and my life. Having gained understanding of how to walk free of strongholds, we have been able to teach people in several countries how they, too, can walk in a greater freedom.
A Powerful Enemy – Strongholds in our Mind
Some of Satan’s most powerful weapons against our effectiveness for the Kingdom are strongholds in our minds. A stronghold is a thought pattern, usually planted in our minds during our first five years of life. It grows and gains strength through the years, becoming a practiced way of thinking and an automatic way of living. We all have some strongholds, which have become powerful life messages. An enemy stronghold is based in a lying thought that we have embraced instead of God’s truth. These strongholds are powerful and can cause destructive habits that affect our relationship to God and to others.
Such patterns of thought can bring terrible misunderstandings into our lives. Let me give you some examples of strongholds: “I will never change,” “I’m bad,” “Nobody loves me,” “I’m stupid,” “I’m a failure,” “It’s all my fault,” “Life isn’t safe,” “My situation is hopeless,” etc. Realize that this idea or thought is the open door through which the enemy can defeat us again and again. We are then stuck in a rut. This is how the enemy works. Our strongholds affect one another, and that is why there is so much warfare in marriages and relationships. They trigger another’s emotions or strongholds and work to bring destruction. They need to be brought to the cross in repentance.
“We do this by identifying strongholds and practices in our flesh, hating them, repenting of them, confessing them to the Father; and then believing they have died with Jesus.”
We read in 1 John 3:8, “The son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” We need to believe that His death has set us free. If the body of Christ begins to walk out of these strongholds and begins to believe the truth instead of the lie, Satan knows that we will be unstoppable for the Kingdom of God. This is why he fights so hard to keep these lies hidden in our lives. But there is hope! God can identify and break these strongholds in our mind.
Weapons Against Strongholds
As we enter deeper into the end times, we are going to have to work to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Some weapons to help us to deal with strongholds in our own lives and the lives of others are the following:
- The Word of God – Paul would speak the truth of God’s Word. The Word is our life and sets us free. We must hold onto it with all of our hearts. We must listen to what God says rather than the lies and fiery darts of the enemy.
- Repentance – Repentance removes the legal base of Satan’s attack. When we confess the false belief that we have carried most of our lives, God is able to remove the legal base and the open door of the enemy. He is able to break through the fear that has controlled us. He can speak to our hearts in a new way where we are able to experience His peace and love in a new dimension.
- Personal testimony – We overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony. Personal testimonies touch into the feeling part of our being. Personal testimony given in a spirit of humility helps us to identify with others. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11a) .
- Forgiveness – We must forgive everyone who has hurt or offended us. Usually when strongholds are detected and acknowledged, there is someone who has been involved in the starting or reinforcing of that stronghold. Forgiveness will be a key to our deliverance. We must learn to set those people free.
- The blood of Jesus – There is power in the blood of Jesus. This is power to set the captives free and to live a new kind of life. The blood of Jesus overcomes all obstacles of sin. Jesus’ blood is a weapon of His kindness that disarms the weaponry of the sin of the stronghold. We need to learn to pray the blood of Jesus over our cities, our neighborhoods and our families.
- Prayer – Prayer applies the blood, cross and resurrection life of Jesus. It enables us to hear and receive the Word of God. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
- Dying to sin – We need to hate the strongholds in our lives and our sinful responses. We think we benefit in some way from the stronghold such as the satisfaction of vengeance, feeling powerful and various other ways. We need to be so grieved by our sinful strongholds that we are willing to pay the price of dying to sin. It is a process. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
God will enable us to break through the enemy strongholds in our lives and in our cities and nation. Let us not give up but diligently bring our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
“Therefore, I urge you, brethren, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
To find out more about destroying personal strongholds, get our book called Intercessors Arise: Personal Prayer that Changes the World by Debbie Przybylski.