TEARING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
1. INTRODUCTION - OUR WARFARE
· 2 Cor. 10:3-5 You are each engaged in your own area of personal warfare.
· “War after flesh” - your struggle and fight is never with people. It is a spiritual conflict.
· Conflict : fights with people reveal you have lost sight of the real warfare.
· Key Questions : Where is the warfare located?
What am I fighting against?
What weapons are available to me?
How do I use those weapons effectively?
2. STRONGHOLDS IN THE SOUL
· The warfare is located primarily in the soul of man - particularly the thought life.
· Prov.23:7 As a man thinks in his heart so is he.
· Whatever controls the thought-life affects the direction of your life.
· OT Picture of our warfare = pulling down a stronghold.
· “Pulling Down” (2506 Strongs) = Demolition, extinction, bring down with violence, destroy.
· Stronghold (3794 Strongs) = to fortify, hold strongly.
= A fortified dwelling place, often difficult to access on a mountain side, used for protection and for defense against opposing military forces.
· Erected by a wounded soul to keep pain out, protect wrong thought patterns and beliefs.
· Actually keeps the pain of unresolved conflict in and keeps God’s truth out.
· Erected to protect unmet needs, wounds, fears, humiliating memories.
· Thought patterns or mind-sets that resist change and are filled with despair.
· “Imaginations” = rooted in pride, rise up and resist coming to know God.
· “High Things” = rooted in pride, rise up and resist coming to know God.
· “Every Thought” = thoughts that rebel, resist, deny, excuse, reason away the truth of God.
· a mental and emotional judgment that “I am not accepted”.
· constantly misinterprets all actions as being personal rejection
· hears the truth of god’s love and acceptance but resists accepting it personally.
2. Doorway - points of access for demonic spirits to enter into a person’s life
· Eph.4:26 Give no place - foothold, beachhead, open door - to the devil.
· Strongholds allowed entry by friendly forces and opposed entry by enemy.
· Strongholds are like signs posted in the spirit world “access here”
· Mt.12:43-45 Evil spirits are able to read the condition of the human soul and recognise any legal basis for entry and enter without resistance. One evil spirit is able to communicate with and attract the entry of others.
3. Dwelling Places - places for evil spirits to dwell and remain concealed.
· “My house” - evil spirits seek to dwell within the human body and soul.
· Strongholds = a house made of thoughts contrary to truth.
· Spirits dwell within the areas of wrong thinking and unresolved emotional pain and work to torment, increase their hold and territory, reinforce the wrong thoughts and resist the access of the Word and Spirit of God.
· The wrong thoughts and mind-sets form the fabric of the dwelling place and are what the evil spirits cling on to and reside within.
· “Seeking rest” = A dwelling where they are comfortable and at home.
· e.g. unforgiveness, rejection, independence, fear, control, lust.
3. STRONGHOLDS MUST BE DISARMED
Lk.11:21-22 Strongman, armed, keeps his palace.
· Armed (2528 Strongs) = to fully equip with weapons and armour.
· Strongman (2478 Strongs) = forcible, aggressive, powerful evil spirit.
· Armour (3833 Strongs) = total covering, protection, defense.
· Palace (833 Strongs) = yard open to the wind, sheepfold, place where King exercises authority.
· The Strongman is the evil spirit that has gained entry to a person’s life and is exercising authority or influence to rob and destroy the person’s potential.
· The evil spirit is armed or energised for conflict by the sin, wrong thoughts, unresolved grief. These provide the armour that protects or fends him.
· Casting out a spirit is ineffective if the “house of thoughts” or stronghold that armed and defended him is not confronted and pulled down (demolished) .
· The spirit is armed by what you permit to indwell your heart.
· Jn.14:30 “The prince of this world comes and has nothing in me”. Because nothing in Jesus life was out of harmony with God’s thoughts and will the devil had no door or dwelling place within him.
· Lasting deliverance or freedom from evil spirits requires that strongholds be demolished i.e. “Take away all the armour wherein he trusted”.
· i.e. All mind sets, attitudes, ideas, beliefs, desires, habits contrary to the Word of God must be confronted and removed.
4. YOU MUST OWN YOUR STRONGHOLD AND WAR AGAINST IT
· Strongholds that exist in your life are your responsibility. Your reactions, your wrong thinking was what allowed them to form and develop and become established.
· Ownership means taking responsibility. You permitted them to develop by agreeing. Now you can disagree with them and warfare against them.
· Exodus 23:29-30 Little by little - you shall drive them out. Make no agreement with them - they shall not dwell in your land lest they make you sin against me.
· Num. 33:52-55 You shall drive them out, destroy all their pictures, destroy all their molten images and pluck down all their high places, you shall dispossess. “Drive out” - 3423 to occupy by driving out the previous tenants and occupying their place.
· Don’t deny = refuse to admit something wrong, pretend all OK.
· Don’t compromise = accept the presence of the stronghold as inevitable, “just me”.
· Result of compromise - those you let remain = pricks in eyes, thorns in sides, vex you.
· 2 Cor.10:3-5 Pull down = bring down or demolish with violence.
· “Bringing every thought captive” = 163 = to make prisoner of war, lead away from battle defeated and in chains.
· Thoughts contrary to god’s truth must be identified, confronted, overcome and lead away from the battle (your mind) defeated and in chains.
· Emotional pain/grief attached to thoughts energises them and arms them with anger or fear. Unresolved issues must be led out into the light and resolved.
5. YOUR WEAPONS ARE POWERFUL
· Weapons of our warfare are mighty through God” (2 Cor.10:4).
· God has supplied you with weapons that are mighty
· Mighty - 1415 Strongs = Powerful, capable of getting the job done. Root = Dunamis = miraculous, supernatural power or force.
· The warfare is against spiritual forces. God has supplied spiritual weapons.
· The weapons are “mighty through God”.
· You must activate your faith - God is the source of the power.
· It is through God that the weapons work.
· The key is not struggle but surrender and trust.
· The holy Spirit reveals what keys unlock or prevail best against different strongholds.
1. Humility - admit real condition, need for help, agree with God.
2. Binding and loosing - restricting and releasing spirit forces.
3. Repentance - acknowledging truth, changing heart attitudes.
4. Forgiveness - releasing the debt of the failure of others, injustice.
5. Blood of Christ - overcoming guilt, failure, accusation.
6. Name of Jesus - authority to speak, bind, resist.
7. Word of God - penetrates, connects, renews mind.
8. Fellowship - exposes attitudes, builds togetherness.
9. Praise - alters the atmosphere, silences the enemy.
10.Fasting - diminishes the power of the flesh, increases spiritual
11. Giving - breaks selfishness, poverty.
12. Loving Kindness - overcomes evil.
· Do not attempt to answer all the questions.
Read 2 Cor. 10:3-6
· What awareness do you have of personal spiritual conflict? Give an example.
· Do you tend to view interpersonal conflict as just natural, just spiritual, or a mixture of natural and spiritual? Why?
· What does the term “not war after the flesh” mean?
· What is the principle area of conflict listed in verse 5? Why?
· How do unmet needs and unspoken expectations contribute to much interpersonal conflict?
· What is the goal of the warfare listed in verse 5? Why is humility so important? (Ja.4:6).
Read Mt. 12:43-45
· After deliverance what does the spirit that has been cast out do?
· What does v.44 suggest about the ability of spirits to “discern your condition”?
· When strongholds or sin areas exist what does the spirit do v 45?
· What is the possible impact upon the person?
· Why is repentance such an essential foundation for the Christian life?
· What do you think is the principle reason people struggle to get victory over personal problems and don’t seem to succeed?
· What personal area would you consider you most struggle to get victory in? Can you name it?
· What thinking directs or controls or dominates this area of struggle?
· What could you do to “warfare” against this stronghold?
· What does it mean in 2 Cor.10:5 “to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. How do you do this?
· Identify some of the weapons listed in the study and choose one:
· Why is it a weapon?
· What does it do?
· Why is it important in a Christian’s life?