·           2 Tim 3:1-2  Last days – fierce, dangerous times – men lovers of selves.

·           2 Cor 10:3-6  Weapons of warfare are mighty in God to pull down strongholds.


1.      What is a stronghold?

·           OT picture = fortified position in side of mountain; enemy inhabit.

·           NT stronghold = mindset impregnated with hopelessness.

                            = located in the minds – place of access/conceal spirits.

·           Mindset that is in conflict with will of God and opposes knowing God.

·           Constructed of reasonings, thought patterns that exalt self.


2.      What is the stronghold of distrust?

·           Trust – most fragile quality in all relationships, make relationship possible.

·           Distrust = ‘Dis’ = God of the Greeks (Jupiter), one who rules ships, heavens.

·           Distrust = suspicion; to have no trust in, to doubt.

·           Stronghold of distrust is a mindset that continually views people with suspicion, distrust and doubt making it impossible to form close relationships except with a very few selected people ‘feel safe’ with.


3.      How does a stronghold form?

·           Thoughts Ž choices Ž habits Ž stronghold.

·           Distrust forms as a reaction to being hurt in relationship

·           Unresolved hurt becomes surrounded by “reasonings”.

·           Eg, Abuse; betrayed in relationship; divorce; injustice.


4.      What are the roots?

·           Every stronghold draws from some root system:

(i)             Insecurity      Not secure or confident of safety (Phil 1:29).

(ii)            Fear              Fear will be hurt – goal, not be hurt (Acts 7:25).

                                Fear will be misunderstood – goal, be understood.

                                Fear will be rejected – goat, not be rejected (Acts 20:24).

Note:  What you fear becomes empowered to control you.

Fear Ž Wrong goals – unrealistic goals.

Example:  Fear brings us under spirit powers and opposes God’s purpose.

Example of Jesus 1 Pet 2:18-25

(iii)           Unbelief        People cannot be trusted – God cannot be trusted.

·         Only way to make my life safe is to control it myself.

·         Unbelief towards God results in fear/resistance of people.


5.      What are its fruits?

*      Suspicion                                *     Anxiety                      *     Conflicts

*      Misunderstandings                   *     Criticism                    *     Judgements of people

*      Exclusion – walling out             *     Control                      *     Reactions to injustice

·           Primary concern in relationship is self – ‘to be safe’.

·           Goal is reasonable but the problem is how to achieve it!

·           No safe place outside will of God.








6.      How to overcome and tear down strongholds

2 Cor 10:4  Weapons of warfare Ž Conflict, effort needed.

Mighty through God Ž Faith, trust.


Paul’s exampleActs 20:24/21:13  None of these things move me.

·           No concern to “save his life” from discomfort, distress.

·           Gripped by the cause of Christ and vision of eternal inheritance.

·           Feel good generation” – wants to feel good.

·           Phil 1:29  Given to you not only to believe but also to suffer for His sake.

Jesus’ teachingMatt 16:22-24

·           Peter’s resistance to message, suffering and death – Cross.

·           Jesus’ rebuke               Satan – source.

                                   Offence – stumbling.

                                   Savour – to be mindful of, to have affection for.

·           Course Peter counselled – Pity; choose for self, spare life.  Attractive, appealing but opposed to purpose.

·           Save life – to make safe, preserve, delivery from danger or suffering.

·           Lose soul – loss of life, period of enjoyment, forfeit something of value, penalise self.

Key:  Cross – Deny Self Ž Deal with issues

(i)             Release:       Forgive – release hurts of past.

                           Control – release control of life to Lord.

(ii)            Resist:          Spirits – actively resist as they react/deliverance.

(iii)           Renew:         Thoughts – renew with Word of God (1 Cor 13:5).

                           Goals – pursue will and purpose of God.







Matt 16:21-28



1.      What’s happening in these verses?



2.      How were Peter’s words a trap or snare for Jesus?



3.      What does it mean to “take up his cross”?



4.      In what ways do people seek to save themselves?



5.      Think of a time when you had a choice of saving yourself or working through something God’s way?


Which way did you choose?

What happened?



6.      Look at Romans 8:5-8.  Phil 2:5-8.


What sort of attitude should we have in dealing with personal struggles/difficulties?





Rom 8:5–6. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh. The verb mind means to have something as the habit of your thought; something in which you place a total interest. Those who place their total interest in the things of the flesh cannot have their interest in the things of God. For to be carnally minded is death. If the mind is not Christ-centered and our interest is constantly on carnal things, the results are the symptoms of spiritual death. However, if the interests of the mind are placed on the things of the Spirit of God, there is a peace in life that passes all understanding.[1]


Phil 2:5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Keep on thinking this in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Paul says in I Corinthians 2:16, “We have the mind of Christ,” and here he exhorts the saints at Philippi to allow that mind to dominate and control their lives. When this is done, saints will not: (1) assert their own virtues; (2) defend their own rights; (3) promote their own selfish interests; or (4) live for themselves. Verse 5 introduces one of the most sublime and wonderful mysteries of the Scriptures.  This doctrine of our Lord’s self-emptying is used as an example and as an illustration of that lowliness of mind which should be the pattern for all the followers of Christ. Paul is stating accepted facts to enforce the obvious duties of humility and unselfish consideration of others.



[1]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.