The world we live in today is full of trials and strongholds. Many Christians are engaged in a constant spiritual battle against the forces of evil and are unaware. Everything we see in the physical is a manifestation of what is happening in the spirit realm. The battle waged against us is in our mind and its main purpose is to distort our thoughts about God and his commands. Satan knows that the mind is very powerful so he will never play fair because if he gains control of the mind he holds on to it by building a stronghold for himself. These strongholds cause you and me to ask questions like Is God for me or does he hate me? Does he love me or am I just a pawn to him? Am I disappointing God? Will he ever forgive me? These questions can take us to very dark places especially when we are under pressure or trials.
Merriam-Webster defines stronghold as a fortified place, a place of security and survival. Satan needs to keep himself hidden in our lives to continue his deceits and thus we never ever know we have a spiritual stronghold. The bible describes stronghold as arguments and lofty opinions that are raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). What are you listening to? What is your mind assimilating today? What are you choosing to believe?
In what form do these strongholds come? You will find strongholds in the form of personal insecurities, fears, generational curses, witchcraft, guilt, sins, trauma and worry OR in the form of mental blocks which come from idolism, atheism, Darwinism, agnosticism, materialism, egotism, and other worldly invented isms (ism is suffix at the end of a word that indicates actions, systems, philosophies, and practices) that undermine God’s word.
I enjoy listening to Joyce Meyer because she speaks a lot about the battle of the mind. Friends, it is important that we learn how to win this fight, or else we will be stuck in a life devoid of peace and victory.
“Satan rattled me and I fell for his trap. In the dark, my soul was tired, I lacked the words to pray, tears were endless, guilt increased, my heart beat got faster, and discouragement was stealing my strength. In the midst of this chaotic mind, I heard the voice say to me “speak peace to your mind, reach out and take it. Do not worry that you fell, get up and keep walking, keep your mind stayed on me” Under my breath, I whispered peace to my heart until the darkness was gone”.
I began to ponder on those words. How can I keep my mind stayed on you when I am constantly torn each time I get up to walk? Isaiah 26:3 ESV says “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you”. This verse took me on a journey to understanding strongholds and what I am to do when I encounter them. My whole life, movies made me believe spiritual warfare was mostly about praying till I sweat and fasting until my body breaks. Do not get me wrong, praying and fasting are very vital for our Christian walk, I just want to draw your attention to what was revealed to Paul;
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. I used to rattle over these words until I realized one simple truth.
“Our weapon against strongholds is the truth of the word of God”
How to defeat strongholds
Know your weapon: The word of God (The Bible) is perfect truth and this is your weapon against anything you come across. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44) and the only way to defeat lies is, to tell the truth. When I was rattled with anxiety and discouragement, I was reminded to speak peace which is such simple word but yet powerful. You might ask how something as simple as just speaking the truth of the word brings down Satan. God created the world by word of mouth (Psalm 33:6) and since we are made in his image, we have the same power in our mouths. During Jesus’s time on earth, he reiterated the importance of relying on the word of God. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus says “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”.
If you are reading this today, I encourage you to find the Bible, study and assimilate those words so that they are part of you. The words you speak from the bible will negate every form of evil. Satan puts these stumbling blocks and strongholds in front of us and he watches our minds play out different scenarios. Only the word of God will remove every stone standing in your way, kill every Goliath in your life, bring peace to your troubled mind, and opens your eyes to the philosophies and lies of Satan.
Cast down every false thought and argument: Be careful what you ingest and what you allow your mind to assimilate. 1 Corinthians 6:12 reminds us that though all things are lawful, not all of them are helpful. Do not be dominated by them. Satan is relying on us to live based on how we feel. We are flawed people; we are inclined to self-preservation, so how can we possibly make sound judgments? There are strong biases in our minds, we see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear, so do not trust your thoughts. If your pot of food is not seasoned, it will be tasteless. Is your mind seasoned? Romans 12:2 encourage us to continuously renew our minds with the word of God. If you know the word of God, you will not be drawn in by false idealisms and practices that make you feel good. When will we wake up? You may not know how to start casting down these false ideas but God will always give grace to those whose hearts are willing.
In order to cast down strongholds and lofty opinions, you must be filled with power and truth of the Spirit of God by fixing your mind on the things of God (Philippians 4:8). How are you supposed to fill your minds with the things of God when each night you are out in clubs after work? My friends, you cannot fight Satan while standing in his domain because he will always win. That is like trying to tell an unbeliever about Jesus while wearing the skimpiest outfit. Reject Satan’s lies about your life, your own feelings and never accept them because they keep those strongholds bound to you. I began to examine every thought and check if they are in line with God’s word because my experiences have taught me that my own wisdom is foolishness. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path”. To acknowledge is to accept the existence and truth of the almighty God. Once you acknowledge Jesus Christ, do not deny his existence by the way you choose to live. But Chi I have been speaking the word in prayer and committing all to God but why do I still suffer?
Bring those thoughts and strongholds to obedience in Christ: My friend, I cannot tell you when or how your problem will go but one thing I can tell you is that you will be victorious as long as you remain obedient. I am saying surrender your will to God. One of the most difficult things we face is forsaking our own will. What strongholds are keeping you from obeying God? What desire is keeping Satan the king of your house? Sometimes, it is hard to give up our ways and desires especially if we have lived that way for so long. I know this because I struggled until I realized it is not worth losing my place in heaven. I have never received applause from my earthly father by being disobedient. So how do we expect victory when we continuously disobey God? I listened to an ex-Muslim talk about his conversion to Jesus and I could see his passion, such that even I did not have. If an ex-Muslim from the deepest parts of Iran has so much passion to please Jesus, why are we who were born Christians deny his existence by our actions?
Have you ever come to a point in your life where you say to yourself nothing else matters but Jesus? How deep is your love and passion for Jesus? Can you truly say that you are sold out for Jesus? I have witnessed so much of God in my life that I can’t let go and by his grace, I never will. My friends, Jesus is King and love and all he wants is the best for us. Please surrender to God in obedience and give the Holy Spirit access to do wonders in your life (Jeremiah 33:3). Do not look sideways at your unsaved friends who are “successful”. I tell you those successes are only temporary because Satan will make a show of them in time (Psalm 37:1-7). Romans 1:28 says “Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done”.
Remain in thanksgiving: A grateful and thankful heart gives Satan misery. Lift up a song in the midst of the war you are facing and the Lord will fight your battle. Do not worry or fear the abilities Satan demonstrates, remember he has had eons to practice. Choose to believe that God is on your side and he will see you through. Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your requests known to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.
I pray this message has blessed and empowered you. When you seek God the most, Satan sends his greatest attacks. These attacks steal the peace and rest from us in ways we do not even know. So over the coming weeks, I will discuss some of the forms of strongholds I mentioned and how they gain entrance into our lives. By the grace of God, we will no longer remain ignorant of Satan’s vices. Remain blessed!!!