PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
What men call “salvation” is simply the first stage of God’s plan for our lives, which is to conform us in character and power to the image of Jesus Christ. If we fail to see our relationship to God as such, we will allow too many areas within us to remain unchanged. Pulling down strongholds is the demolition and removal of these old ways of thinking so that the actual Presence of Jesus Christ can be manifest through us. [Quotation from The Three Battlegrounds by Francis Frangipane].
WHAT IS A STRONGHOLD?
II Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before god for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds.”
All successful deliverance must begin by first removing that which defends the enemy. In speaking of spiritual warfare, the apostle Paul uses the word “strongholds” [A House of THOUGHTS] to define the spiritual fortresses where Satan and his legions hide and are protected.
Warfare is discussed at length in the Old Testament of the Bible; the New Testament’s focus is on LOVE. In 2 Chronicles 26:15, we can look at one instance of a weapon used by Uzziah in the eighth century B.C. during warfare:
“In Jerusalem he made machines invented by skillful men to be on towers and the [corner] bulwarks, with which to shoot arrows and great stones…”
According to The Bible Almanac, the “machines” used, were called CATAPULTS; any type of war machine that could throw stones or arrows. “The average range of a catapult was between 350 and 500 yards. It could throw a 8 foot javelin or a 30 pound stone. In comparison, an enemy arrow could travel up to only 300 yards.”
The fortresses that Paul is talking about however, in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, refers to thought– patterns and ideas that govern individuals and churches, as well as communities and nations. Before victory can be achieved, these “strongholds” must be pulled down and satan’s armor removed. Then the mighty weapons of the Word and the Spirit can be used like a catapult, to plunder the enemy’s house.
WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL MEANING OF A “STRONGHOLD”?
We find David hiding from King Saul in the wilderness strongholds at Horesh in I Samuel 23:14, 19. These were physical structures as the picture above demonstrates, except David and his men were hiding in high mountainside caves, and were difficult to assault. With these images in mind, the inspired writers of the Bible adapted the word “stronghold” to define powerful, vigorously protected spiritual realities or “A House of THOUGHTS”. A STRONGHOLD can be a source of protection for us from the devil, as pointed out clearly in Psalm 18:2;
“The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.”
Or the opposite, a stronghold can be a source of defense for the devil, where demonic or sinful activity is actually defended within us by our house of thoughts, sympathetic toward evil.
The strongholds we are going to expose first are those wrong attitudes that protect and defend the old self, which in most cases become the “fortified dwellings” of demonic oppression in your life. The apostle Paul defines a stronghold as, “arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5). “A demonic stronghold is any type of thinking that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, thus giving the devil a secure place of influence in our thought-life” by Francis Frangipane.
NOT TALKING HERE ABOUT “SPIRIT-POSSESSION”
I do not believe that a Christian can be possessed, for when a person is “possessed” by a demon, that demon fills their spirit the way the Holy Spirit fills the spirit of a Christian.
I DO BELIEVE however, Christians can be oppressed by demons, which can occupy un-transformed thought-systems, especially if those thoughts are defended by self-deception or false doctrines! The thought, “I cannot have a demon because I am a Christian,” is simply untrue. A demon cannot “possess” you, but you can have a demon if you refuse to repent of your sympathetic thoughts toward sin. Your rebellion toward God provides a place for the devil in your life; OPPRESSION.
THE SPIRIT OF FEAR
Several Christians I am told, are tormented by various fears. I personally have a fear of “edges’. Not heights but “edges”. I don’t have a clue where it came from but it has manifested itself on several occasions. Once, Dianne and I were on an outing with some friends. They decided to drive to Whidbey Island, Wa., over the Deception Pass Bridge. Other than by ferry, it is the only way to access the island. Well, they decided to stop in a parking area after crossing the bridge (my eyes were closed while crossing), and proceeded to walk out on the bridge to gaze down over the bridge into the chasm below, showing crashing waves and currents of the sea rushing through below. My exact words to them as they got out of the car,, “NO THANKS, I’ll stay by the car. You go on ahead.” After awhile I thought this is ridiculous. I can do this thing! As I stepped out on the bridge, FEAR took over my body and I dropped to my knees. I turn around, while still on my knees and crawled till I reached solid ground. Was I being attack by I demon? Maybe, but I don’t think so for I don’t have a spirit of fear in my life.
CAN CHRISTIANS BE DECEIVED?
Many believers have been taught that, because of the Holy Spirit, they cannot be deceived. I can tell you right now, that belief is untrue. One reason the Spirit of Truth was sent was because we so easily fall into deception. In fact, the thought that a Christian cannot be deceived is itself a deception. Once a particular lie saturates a believer’s mind, his ideas and opinions are developed and remain in whatever state of spiritual immaturity he happens to be in. ALL MANNER OF SPIRITS WILL ATTACK THE SOUL KNOWING THEY ARE PROTECTED BY THE ARMOR OF THAT PERSON’S OWN THOUGHTS AND DOCTRINES!
Any area of your heart or mind that is not surrendered to Jesus Christ is an area vulnerable to attack. Satan feeds upon sin. Wherever there is a habit of sin in a believer’s life, expect to find demonic activity in that given area. The sin-habit becomes the dwelling place for a spirit that is robbing a believer of power and joy, and that habitation (or habit) is a STRONGHOLD. Dealing with the devil starts by the dealing with the carnal thought systems that protect the enemy.
THERE WERE NO STRONGHOLDS, NO WRONG ATTITUDES IN CHRIST’S MIND
John 14:30 confirms this when it says, “I will not talk with you much more, for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me].” Satan had nothing in Jesus. We also want to be able to say that Satan has no secret place in our “HOUSE OF THOUGHTS”; no “temptation-buzzer” he can push that will open up the door of our soul toward sin.
WHERE DOES DELIVERANCE BEGIN?
The pulling down of strongholds begins with repentance. When Jesus sent out His disciples, “So they went out and preached that men should repent [that they should change their minds for the better–Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon]. And they drove out many demons and anointed with many who were sick and cured them.” (Mark 6:12-13). Regarding the deliverance of spirits that attack the mind, repentance precedes deliverance, and deliverance often leads to healing in other areas.
I’ve been a Christian since August 15th, 1972 and I have already had many strongholds broken in my life [read my blog entitled, “I Took The Red Pill”and the About section]. The strongholds that I had been carrying were broken when I repented and responded to the calling of Jesus. Deliverance is often just that simple when a soul is willing.
My next blog will continue on the strongholds we harbor in “A House Made of Thoughts”.