Are you being hindered by a stronghold? A stronghold is some form of spiritual opposition that seems impenetrable. It is often envisioned as demonic oppression that keeps an individual or a geographical area in misery or sin. There’s certainly something to that, but in 2Corinthians 10:4-5 it refers more to things that hold the mind captive. If the enemy can get you thinking contrary to the knowledge of God, he can keep you from the enjoyment and victory of a life in Christ.
Those who know what’s going on can deal with the problem. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2Cor.10:4). Some strongholds, however, are not always so apparent.
We can unwittingly submit ourselves to a stronghold. It can get a grip on us because our guard is not up, and then we become weaker because of it. I had a strange dream that taught me something about this.
In the dream, I was sitting down and a pop music diva came up from behind. She had often done this before. She greeted me by leaning over and giving me a hug. At the same time she caressed my forehead. I received the gesture simply as a friendly greeting as I had in the past.
But this time it dawned on me that she had placed something in my forehead. Then I realized that she had done this many times before! It wasn’t clear what she placed there, but it caused me to feel sick and weak the rest of the day.
So I confronted her: “We are friends, why are you placing that in my head?” She had purposes to use me, but she just looked at me like a friend and didn’t say anything.
I said, “Can’t I help you without you needing to do that? You can’t put that there any more.” She just stared sheepishly. Then I got angry, and said, “I now render that thing powerless and you will have no more control over me, in Jesus’ name!”
The stronghold was broken. But I had fallen prey to it many times before because I enjoyed her friendship and allowed her hugs.
The Bible says that friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). This was the first problem. I should have never allowed “the world” to become so close to me in the first place. In doing so, it entered into my mind and affected my walk with the Lord, without even realizing it.
Such strongholds that weaken us could be the pop culture that we enjoy, or anything that conforms us to the walk and talk of the world.
Other strongholds like this could be the commitment we place on religious traditions. Many in the church are still bound by guilt trips and religious expectations. I loved the hardliners for so long, I read their books and wrote like them, but they were ultimately making me introspective and critical, making me spiritually sick at times. When I started to place my faith in God’s grace, and the Gospel of “It is finished,” those strongholds were broken.
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 (2Cor.10:5).
I took captive all those guilt trips and self-imposed laws and brought them to the obedience of Christ- His obedience for me! Then I cast down the imaginations that God was still angry with me and that I could never please Him.
There are strongholds of doctrinal prejudice. You can keep from receiving all that God has for you because it doesn’t fit your theological system.
There are strongholds of situational despair. You become overwhelmed because you are looking more to things that are seen than things that are unseen: your spiritual promises in Christ.
What are the strongholds that may be hindering you? Placing hope in God’s Word (the truth as opposed to what the circumstances suggest) can set us free.