Strongholds…the Truth to WIN the battle!
“Unless you are fully broken, God can’t fully make you into the image of His Son.”
Luke 5:37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined.”
When we experience strongholds in our lives, we are temped to think we may not be saved. The reality is strongholds will not disappear the very moment you get saved. The process in by which God get’s rid of strongholds in a person’s life is part of the sanctification process. When you become saved, you are not automatically sanctified and delivered from all issues and strongholds from your past. Very few may experience such thing, it is possible for God to deliver someone over night for He can do whatever He pleases, He is God. The reality is most of us do not experience that kind of deliverance. Do not be discouraged though! When we come to Christ we ALL need to be sanctified, delivered and tried. James 1:2,3 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
What is a stronghold?
Strongholds are walls or fortresses around beliefs and emotions to protect us from further pain. An important part of healing and transforming the deep wounds, requires divinely pulling down the strongholds. Most people who experience strongholds are those who are taught to turn hurt and pain into anger, thus acting out in some sort of way through addictions like pornography, alcohol, shopping or eating addictions, drugs..etc. Anything that would cover the pain, anything NOT to feel the pain. There are other ways a stronghold may manifest itself, like through our thought life. We may be committing emotional adultery, if we are married against our spouse and God if unmarried, against God. When God starts dealing with a stronghold in your life, 99% of the time the first area of attack from the enemy is your salvation. He wants you to question your salvation because when you do the chances of being discouraged are very high. He comes in at a time when you least expect him and you are not guarded with the armor of the Lord. Your guard is down, your flesh is weak, you want to honor God with all your heart yet the battle rages between the spirit and the flesh. If we do not have the proper weapons to fight the enemy, he will win 100% of the time. As believer’s we think we can take satan on and that is just foolish. We can not take satan on at any point in time, for only God has the power to defeat him. If you are battling a stronghold you are trying desperately to get rid of it there are steps you need to take.
1- Understand this battle you are in is not of this world and it is not against flesh. ( So you must be in the WORD everyday).
Eph 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
2- Put on the full armor of God.
Eph 6:10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
3- Pray earnestly always with thanksgiving.
4- Discipline your mind!!!
2 Cor 10:5 “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,”
Beloved, I can’t stress enough how important this is. Without disciplining your mind your chances of overcoming this stronghold are very slim. Why? Because even if God delivers you from the stronghold you have to deal with temptation still as every human being does and if you have not trained your mind, you will go back into spiritual slavery. So many people have their mind control them, we are a generation of christians who run around with an out of control mind. They love the Lord, read their bibles, go to church, pray and serve. Yet they never understand the importance of disciplining their mind. An undisciplined mind leads to an undisciplined life. Your thought life comes from your heart and while God is dealing with the stronghold your job is to clean your mind everyday. The battle to overcome this stronghold is God’s. ONLY God can deliver one from such. There is nothing you can do to deliver yourself from it, for you do not have the power to bind satan only Jesus does. What you can do is be faithful in what He has commanded and stand in Truth. The 4 points i illustrated above is YOUR responsibility in this battle. The responsibility of deliverance is God’s as He is the only that can conquer satan. There is nothing you can do to speed up the process or make it less painful. Instead of focusing on what you can’t change and have no control over you need to focus on what you CAN and are commanded to do in order to be delivered. Your focus should not be “when” or “how” am I going to be delivered but it should be ” knowing your enemies tactics (for who goes to battle and doesn’t know his enemy?), take up your weapons (the full armor of God), pray earnestly and discipline your mind.
Let me put it like this, my husband has been an athlete all of his life. As a football player he would tell me the stories of his intense training sessions and how much he hurt afterward. What do you expect when to start training? You can expect to say ” I did not sign up for this”, “this is too hard” and “I want to quit”. Now, if you are committed you will not quit, you will work through the pain and learn to discipline your body. This is exactly the same thing we must do with our minds. You keep going through the pain and seemingly tedious task of retraining your mind from worldly things to the things of God. When you feel hurt or frustrated, do not turn it into anger and stuff it down inside. It will manifest itself someway somehow. It will not stay buried. This is how strongholds develop. The key to winning this battle beloved is to exercise these 4 points EVERYDAY. You do not have the luxury of going on a mental vacation, none of us do. We must continue to be faithful to God until’ He delivers us (I promise you there is something He is trying to change in your to conform you into the image of Christ) and even after that we must continue to discipline our minds. Our work doesn’t stop, ever. We have the promise that He will be with us until’ the end of the age. He will walk with you and fight for you but he will not do your part. You must work our your salvation with fear and trembling ( Phil 2:12).
And Nothing But the Truth
by John MacArthur
God never intended His people to worship Him apart from the use of their minds. Real spirituality begins with a precise understanding of truth. Yet I see much of contemporary Christianity heading down the paths of mystical experience and fantasy.
That was illustrated in an article I once read in the Los Angeles Times:
PASADENA, Calif. – Under the militant banner of “spiritual warfare,” a growing number of evangelical and charismatic Christian leaders are preparing broad assaults on what they call the cosmic powers of darkness.
Fascinated with the notion that Satan commands a hierarchy of territorial demons, some mission agencies and big-church pastors are devising strategies for “breaking the strongholds” of those evil spirits alleged to be controlling cities and countries.
Some proponents in the fledgling movement already claim focused prayer meetings ended the curse of the Bermuda Triangle, led to the 1985 downfall of guru Baghwan Shree Rajneesh and produced a two-week drop in crime and freeway traffic in Los Angeles for the 1984 Olympics.
Fuller Seminary professor C. Peter Wagner, who has written extensively on the subject, led a so called summit meeting on cosmic-level spiritual warfare … in Pasadena, Calif. Two dozen men and women took part, including a Texas couple who head a group called the “Generals of Intercession” and an Oregon man who conducts “spiritual-warfare bootcamps.”
In his opening remarks, Wagner said, “If you do not know what you are doing, and few … have the necessary expertise, Satan will eat you for breakfast.”
I am fearful that this type of mindset is just one example of how the church has fallen victim to the New Age Movement, a thinly veiled form of Hindu mysticism. It is belief in everything, and a belief in nothing – with no distinction between reality and fantasy.
Much of the professing church is in perfect harmony with the New Age movement’s spirit of anti-intellectualism. For example, the Roman Catholic Church emphasizes ritual – a mechanical anti-intellectualism in which mystical ceremony replaces intelligent worship. Here Scripture becomes subservient to the church.
Liberal Protestants have emphasized social reform – a political anti-intellectualism produced by the despair of trying to find truth without submitting to the authority of Scripture as the standard for ruling the church.
Charismatics have long emphasized subjectivism – an experiential anti-intellectualism that is the product of weak theology and a careless handling of Scripture.
Those trends all contribute to a kind of mindless, mystical Christianity that is the antithesis of God’s design for His church.
That’s why I’m so concerned. A seminary professor claims that if we don’t learn some mysterious techniques of spiritual warfare, Satan will eat us for breakfast! Is that true? The apostle Peter said, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But the context is calling for sobriety and vigilance, not a mystical cosmic warfare strategy.
Some suggest all we need to do is bind Satan – just say, “Satan, I bind you,” and he is caught. They cite Matthew 12:29, where Jesus says, “How can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”
But Jesus was dispelling the Pharisees’ foolish accusation that He worked under Satan’s power (vv. 27-28), not relating a scenario whereby believers could “bind” Satan. He used the illustration of a thief, who, planning to rob a strong man’s house while the man was there, would first have to bind him or risk being arrested and beaten. Jesus’ point was that He had demonstrated to the Pharisees and all Israel His power over Satan and the kingdom of evil. Only God has the power and authority to enter the very house of Satan, successfully bind him, and carry off his property. Even Paul was hindered by Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Are we to assume he didn’t know the correct formula?
There is no magic phrase or mantra we can say that will bind Satan, but God has not left us without a divine strategy for dealing with him. God’s strategy centers on objective truth, not subjective experience. It begins with sound doctrine, not cabalistic technique. Yet ironically, those who talk most about warfare against Satan often minimize the importance of doctrine.
In Ephesians 6:11 Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” What is our armor? It consists of the belt of truthfulness (not merely knowing the truth, but being committed to it), the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace (confidence that we have made peace with God), the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation (confidence in our security in Christ), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. None of those hints at any secret technique. Rather, they speak of clear understanding and a solid commitment to biblical truth and holiness.
When we resist Satan by taking our stand in the armor of God’s truth, he flees. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Peter said, “Resist him, firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9, emphasis added) – firm in the Christian faith, which is the revealed truth. This is objective truth, not some unseen cosmic force. Since Satan is a deceiver and a liar, we can successfully resist him only by knowing and obeying the truth.
Paul said, “For 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. 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). Again, we don’t battle Satan with magic words and imaginary forces; we rely on the power of His truth as it brings even our thoughts captive to our Lord. That is genuine and ultimate victory over satanic forces.
No matter how Satan attacks, the solution is the same. We stand in the truth. We don’t need to learn hidden strategies to fight Satan. God’s truth is the supreme weapon against the father of lies (cf. John 8:44). Only when we know the truth and commit ourselves to obey it will we stand strong.