A STRONGHOLD IS NOT A DEMON!! Webster defines a “stronghold” as a “fortified place”. Throughout the evangelical church, the word stronghold has carried with it a dark connotation. Many of us have only heard the word stronghold in connection with the kingdom of Satan. But did you know that we can actually have Holy strongholds as well. Psalm 18:2 describes a stronghold in connection with the kingdom of God.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
The character of a stronghold is defined by the nature of what it’s protecting. If the stronghold is protecting something from the kingdom of Satan, then the stronghold is demonic. If the stronghold is protecting something from the kingdom of God, then the stronghold is Holy.
I have experienced the term stronghold as one that has been loosely tossed around the church. I have typically heard it sound like “stronghold of fear” or “stronghold of bitterness” or “stronghold of blue jeans” (yes I actually heard that one come from the pulpit). Though I have heard a lot of talk that includes the word stronghold, I have very rarely heard anyone take the time to explain what, exactly, a stronghold is.
Many think and teach that strongholds need to be bound and cast out of our lives. In 2 Corinthians chapter ten Paul gives us a different perspective. He teaches us that strongholds aren’t like demons to be bound and cast out. Instead, Paul tells us that strongholds need to be pulled down, demolished or overthrown.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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;
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
(In the amplified, the words “pulled down” are translated “overthrown and demolished”. The amplified bible also further explains “imaginations” as “arguments, reasoning’s and theories” and “high thing” as “proud and lofty”.)
Paul shows us that strongholds consist of imaginations and every high thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. In other words, a stronghold is anything that sets itself up against the truth. A stronghold is a lie. Paul is explaining to us that strongholds are systems of lies. The lies become the only reality we know. Therefore they are extremely well fortified places that encompass our minds while our enemy (Satan) enslaves our hearts.
Just recently the Lord showed me that I had a dark stronghold deep in my heart. It was shaped by the lie that told me that I needed entertainment to live and be happy. It caused me to compromise on books I read and shows/movies I watched. Because of the stronghold my need for entertainment was greater than my need to stay Holy.
In the next blog we will discuss how to pull down or overthrow strongholds.
Has this been helpful for you in understanding strongholds? How is the Lord speaking to your heart through this? What have you believed all of your life that goes against the knowledge of God? What questions do you have?
Jesse and Kara Birkey