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Victory Over Strongholds

 II Corinthians 10:4, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”.

Every person has different personalities and patterns “installed” in them either by nature or by outside forces, such as parental upbringing. Our strengths and weaknesses have developed as we grew up and became adults. Once we have believed in and asked Jesus Christ to come into our lives, we are spiritually made “new”, the Bible describes it as being “born again”, (John 3:3). However, because of some of our backgrounds, there can be some stubborn negative patterns or attitudes in our lives that can be described as strongholds. One of my pastorates was just outside a large city, where several of my parishioners drove to work each day. Because of the racial troubles that these commuters encountered, they had some prejudiced in them that had become a stronghold in their lives. They loved Jesus but needed to grow in their faith and learn to fight their negative patterns with, as our Key Verse says, “weapons not of the world”.

weapons against strongholds

A secular definition of the word, “Stronghold”, is a “place that has been fortified”, (Oxford Languages Dictionary). Everyone has weaknesses to correct in their lives, but some people must battle weaknesses that have been “fortified” in their lives. Something has driven a particular weakness deep into their lives, deeper than what would be thought of as “normal”. Using the same example as mentioned earlier, one of the men who commuted to work, grew up in that city. He told me of a time that his dad had to sleep on the couch, with a shotgun to protect their family. In fact, one night his dad shot a man dead that was breaking into their home. As you can imagine, that “fortified” a prejudice in my parishioner’s mind.

There are many strongholds that can hold a person prisoner in their minds and hearts. These strongholds keep a Christ Follower from becoming a vibrant witness for Christ and robs them of that inner peace that Jesus died to give us. The devil loves to use these strongholds to confirm his lies about Jesus and the power He has to deliver us from all sin. Many times, Christ Followers give up and settle with less that God would want for them. They can even convince themselves that their stronghold is a normal thing to live with as a Believer. The devil knows that God has made His power available to all Believers but does his best to hide that fact. Jesus exposed what Satan has come to do: “steal and kill and destroy”, (John 10:10).

God’s divine power can destroy any and all strongholds in His Children’s lives!

One of the most important statements that can be said about strongholds is that they cannot be broken by our power; nor by increasing our determination. As our verse in II Corinthians reminds us, we must not fight with weapons of this world. Any human effort to break a stronghold is going to fail, if it’s a true stronghold that you’re fighting. Our human efforts can be very important when dealing with the normal daily challenges and temptations of this life. However, when strongholds are in place, we simply don’t have enough self-will to destroy them. This is why the Apostle Paul reminds us that it is useless to fight with the weapons of this world.

God’s divine power can destroy any and all strongholds in His Children’s lives!

How does a person know that they are dealing with a stronghold? In my opinion, we know it has become a stronghold when our efforts to defeat it have failed over and over. I realize some might use this as an excuse for their failures, when the truth is they really haven’t tried to have victory even with their own efforts. But when a sincere Christ Follower has battled with this stronghold long and hard, yet still failing miserably, it is undoubtedly a stronghold.

There is really only one way to deal with a true stronghold and that is total surrender to God. This means that I have truly come to the place that I’m totally convinced that I do not have what it takes for victory. This is a place where we get before God and admit our total helplessness to win over this stronghold. No one gets to this place with simply saying the words, this is a place we get to when we know that we know…we are helpless and hopeless. Our pride has been ripped away, and we humbly fall before God in desperation for His divine power to help us…we’ve come to the end of our rope!

Once we are there, God steps in and provides for us what only He can provide. Read what I Thessalonians 5:23-24 says to us: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it”. Notice the words, “through and through”, in other words, God sanctifies us in every corner of our lives, no stronghold can stand against this work of God. Sanctify means to separate us from all that is unholy, setting us a part for God’s use only! Trust the promise of verse 24, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it”. We can’t but He can…and He will break all strongholds in us! The only question left is: have you come to the end of your self-confidence?

There are a couple more issues about strongholds that we must always remember. The first issue is where does our self-control come into our walk with God? Once we have given up on winning with our self-control then, once God has done His work, we bring our self-control back as a co-partner with God’s divine power. The scriptures are clear that our part is cooperating with God’s power so that our victory over any strongholds continues the rest of our life. Here is the Apostle Paul’s testimony to this principle: I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified”, (I Cor.9:27, NLT). The letter to Titus affirms this same truth: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”, (Titus 2:11-12). These verses, and many more in the New Testament, teach us what our part is, after God does what He only can do in our lives.

Once God has taken the stronghold(s) out of our lives by His divine power, then we walk with Him like any other Believer. All Believers must be God’s co-partners in this journey with Him. God continues to help us, as we continue to help ourselves with staying in step with the Spirit of God in us. God gives all Believers His Holy Spirit the moment we believe in Jesus, (Romans 8:9-11) and reminds us of the truths Jesus taught, (John 14:26). Once we get this picture that these Scriptures paint, we realize that God does all the “heavy” work to keep us walking in victory. Our part is simply to listen and obey. You’ve probably heard the adage, “we do what we want to do”. If we are honest, we know there is truth in that, most of the time. When I tell someone that I don’t have time, that usually means I really don’t want to do what they are asking of me. When it comes to something I want to do, then somehow, I can find the time. The good news is God knows this about us and works in us accordingly: For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him”, (Philippians 2:13, NLT).

God so loves us and wants to help us live in victory, He gives us the desires to do what we must do, in cooperation with His divine power. This is why the scripture concludes: “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”, (Rom.8:31, NLT).

The second issue is about failure after we broke the back of our stronghold(s), by God’s divine power. We must understand that our stronghold was reduced to the level of the other temptations that are common to mankind, not annihilated from existence. After God has been allowed to do His work in you, the stronghold is no longer stronger than other temptations. For example, if fear was a stronghold on you, once God broke the stronghold, it doesn’t mean you’ll never be tempted to fear, it means it no longer has the power it once had over you.

All that to say, if you cave into your temptation, that once was a stronghold on you, it doesn’t mean that the stronghold is back. When God does His work, it is always a complete work… the stronghold broken. But the devil never gives up on any of God’s Children, and we will always need to fight to resist his lies and tricks. In my opinion this life is a daily “practice” to perfect our godliness. If you have ever been on a sports team or took lessons to learn to play an instrument, you know you had to practice, practice and more practice. What is the common denominator of all “practice”, no matter what it is for? It is living with times of failure…if there was never a time of failure, you would stop practicing, there would be no reason for practice. So it is with our practice for godliness, there is going to be times when we simply blow it, stumble, cave to temptation. The devil would have you believe that you might as well give up, you can never get it right. But would we ever have had superstars in the sports world if they believed that lie? The bottom line for every Believer, we have to learn to not allow failure to be some devastating event that causes us to stop trying. The fine line that we walk is to accept failures without making them acceptable. Like all good athletes, they have to accept some failures, as they practice their sport, but that doesn’t mean they think of these failures are acceptable. Their failures drive them to practice more with a determination to be perfect. But as we know, no one will ever be perfect at anything. As Believers, when we fall back into some sin, we must admit it, ask for forgiveness and then determine to keep practicing being better in our godliness!

In summary, read again our scripture on strongholds: "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”, (II Cor. 10:4). Take note, the weapons that are given to us Believers to fight strongholds have “divine power”. We never need to live with strongholds in our lives, once Christ has become our Savior. The Holy Spirit lives in us and will give us all we need to demolish strongholds.

May God help us all to live out the abundant life that Jesus died to give us!

Pastor Ben Walls

Pastor Ben Walls

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