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Today’s Truth

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Friend to Friend

A stronghold is one of those churchy Christianese words that is hard to wrap our minds around. It’s not a word we use everyday. So what exactly is a stronghold? Let’s take a look.

A stronghold is a thought pattern that forms a fortress around the mind, holding it prisoner to faulty thinking. It is formed brick-by-brick by repetitive faulty thinking or all at once by a onetime traumatic event such as a rape, molestation, or abuse.

In the Old Testament, a stronghold was a fortified dwelling used for protection from an enemy. David hid in wilderness strongholds when he was hiding from King Saul, who was trying to kill him (1 Samuel 22:4; 23:14). These were usually caves high on a mountainside or some other structure that was hard to attack. In the Old Testament, God is called our stronghold: “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9).

The New Testament writers took this same imagery of a fortress to describe the spiritual tower of bondage, not protection, that we put ourselves in by developing thought patterns and ideas that hold us captive. Beth Moore calls a stronghold, “Anything that we hold onto that ends up holding onto us.” It is anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. A stronghold does not protect us, it protects the enemy who is manipulating our thoughts and suggesting our actions.

A stronghold might be a thought such as:

I’m no good.

I’m damaged goods.

Nobody loves me.

Nobody cares about me.

I can’t do anything right.

A stronghold might be an addiction such as:

Shopping.

Alcohol.

Sexual promiscuity.

Over-eating.

Feeling sorry for yourself.

The enemy locks you up in hopes you’ll never reach for the key that is certainly within your reach. But you can.

The only way to expose the enemy and defeat him is to tear down the stronghold, the fortress where he is hiding. An ungodly habit becomes his habitation, his stronghold in our lives. Once you recognize a lie in your life—perhaps something that has even taken hold of your imagination and stirred ungodly feelings such as jealousy, worry, fear, or anger—you reject the lie and replace it with truth. Each time you reject a lie, you knock one more brick from the enemy’s fortress, and pretty soon, he’s exposed for the liar and deceiver he is.

I do not want to give the impression that this is an easy process. Some of us are so comfortable with our strongholds we don’t even realize they are there. That was the case with me. I had been walking around saved but enslaved for so many years. I dragged the ball and chain of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy around with me everywhere I went, and I grew so used to my limp, I didn’t even notice it. I was comfortable with my weakness and served Satan a cup of tea every day I sat hidden away behind the wall he had helped me build. But praise God, Jesus opened my eyes to the truth and called me out of the fortress that had become my prison cell.

Destroying strongholds is not easy, but it is simple. Paul used words such as struggle, resist, tear down, and fight. The good news is that we’re not a one-woman demolition crew. The Holy Spirit gives us the power, Jesus gives us the light, and God is overseeing the entire project. We simply agree to participate through obedience.

When we talk about strongholds, we’re not talking about random thoughts or occasional sins. A stronghold is a thought pattern or habitual sin. It is a fortress built with the bricks of thoughts and held together by the mortar of emotions. Strongholds become our perception of reality.

In my own life, replacing self-defeating lies with God’s truth helped me chip away at the stronghold of inadequacy that led to a negative cycle of discouragement, despair, and defeat. Rejecting the lie will tear down those strongholds, and after a time, even the ruins are removed.

When we realize the enemy’s true identity, recognize the lies that have formed a stronghold, and tear down those strongholds with God’s truth, we’ll be free.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, show me any strongholds that I have in my life. Show me any areas where I am not totally free from the enemy’s influence. Thank you, Jesus, for coming to set me free. Now help me live free in every area of my life.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

A stronghold in the New Testament imagery is much like a prison.

What is one main difference between a stronghold and a prison?

Go back to today’s truth and break it down. This is one way I study Scripture. Write down your thoughts on each phrase. Then tell me if this was helpful.

  • For though we live in the world
  • We do not wage war as the world does
  • The weapons
  • We fight with
  • Are not the weapons of the world
  • On the contrary
  • They have divine power
  • To demolish strongholds
  • We demolish arguments
  • And every pretension
  • That sets itself up
  • Against the knowledge of God,
  • And we take captive every thought
  • To make it
  • Obedient to Christ.

More from the Girlfriends

You’ve heard the lies before. Maybe even whispered one or two to yourself from time to time. Maybe repeated them so often you’ve started to believe them. “Nobody loves me. I’m worthless. I would be happier married to someone else. I’m just not good enough.” The list goes on. It’s time to recognize the enemy’s lies and to replace those lies with the Bible’s liberating truth. It’s time to renew your mind and think God’s thought rather than be held in bondage by the enemy’s deceptions. It’s time to be set free to see yourself as God see you: His holy, chosen, cleansed, forgiven and dearly loved child. Now that’s a truth worth repeating. To learn more, check out my book I’m Not Good Enough…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. It’s a game changer!

7 Responses to “Breaking Free of Strongholds and Strangleholds”

  1. Pamela says:

    I thank God for your lives Ladies, for the past 3 weeks I have been really dealing with internal issues about myself and everytime I read girlfriends n God, it’s exactly what I’m dealing with and it just amazing me even the more that God would love me that much to amazingly meet me at that moment.
    Thank you Ladies for your obedience to Gods call on your lives:)

  2. Elizabeth says:

    The Friday before Halloween I was sexually assaulted. I started counseling and taking anti-depressants. I have prayed and discussed with my pastor the events of that night. But, I still struggle with feeling important and adequate. I even attempted suicide twice.
    What I am saying is that I have the burden of the stronghold of feeling insecure, as if I am not enough, depressed and scared. This was a stronghold that man built around me that day.

    Yes Jesus can break down that wall but I feel like as a victim myself that you failed to include that sometimes we need outside help. God provides Christian counselors and medical help to those who are struggling with being a victim. Through those things I have grown so much. But the burdens are still in the deepest parts of my soul.

    Prayer is wonderful and that peace is amazing. But please remember that there are aids provided for those who are victims.

  3. JP says:

    Wow I’ve been a Christian for years and I’ve never had this explained to me like you have. I’m so glad I ran across this because it’s a DAILY struggle I’ve had ALL my life. My bio father never wanted me. I had an Aunt tell me all the time my friends weren’t really my friends they just used me. I’m not the prettiest woman either. I’ve been trying to fight the good fight but I seem to fail DAILY. I want freedom! But how? And you’ve given me HOPE. I m going to find Gods promises and knock down the bricks of the enemy!! Thank you so much for your post it gives me the encouragement I need! To know that others deal with this like I do helps me know that if you can overcome so can I!! Be blessed today to know you planted a seed!!! I’m going to water and maintain!! God Bless!!

  4. Olga says:

    Thank you.

  5. Christine says:

    So good. Currently working through my own strongholds so this was right on time for me.

  6. Special Cousin says:

    As I reflect on some very special people that I am very proud of that have “touched” my life in a majestic way, I applaud and celebrate all those that are able to prevent Satan from having a Stronghold of their feet!

    Lord, I utter the words of Mary, Mary – take the shackles off my feet so I can dance, I just want to praise you!!!!

    Truth

    Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’

    Matthew 22:37

    I honor all those that truly love the lord with their heart, soul and mind and have gotten away from any strongholds that might have had them entangled “unnecessarily here”

    in memoriam to Marc Arty Maigan (4/25/66-3/18/15)

  7. Tina says:

    The enemy has kept me trapped in the world of self image. I’ve fought it for years but not anymore! I am bound and determined to blast through this stronghold with every ounce of fiber I have within me. I am on the road to health and cannot wait to see what the Lord is going to do through this journey and once I cross to the other side.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8