2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NIV)
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
“Strongholds are fortified patterns of thinking that are stubbornly resistant to God’s Word and God’s Will for us.” I am not sure who said this, but I absolutely agree with it. I find myself in this place time and time again. Feeling faithful and confident until opposition strikes or a comfort zone is shaken when my thoughts begin to waver and my heart wanders to what if. I completely understand Paul’s dilemma in Romans 7:14-25 when he talks about wanting to do the right things and live in full obedience to God yet battling with his flesh at every single turn. Think of the strongest believer who you know and believe lives a God-fearing life. They struggle every single day just like you do to remain in the freedom found through Jesus Christ. God’s Word and Will are completely contrary to our human nature. The innate being always trying to regain control once surrendered to Christ. To live apart from sin and embrace salvation is a constant turning of our way to God’s Way. It is a battle to demolish every stronghold in our life.
The word stronghold means “fortified place.” It is a well-guarded idea or concept that is not willingly surrendered. We want to believe that the Word of God is true. With every intention of doing so, yet still we harbor the fugitives of doubt and fear in the place that faith should be flourishing. We guard it with reality trying to be logical and well-controlled in our giving to God. Like Harold and the Purple Crayon, we think of the world as we would like to see it shaping it by the prevailing thoughts and rational of our mind. Harold simply drew the world the way that he wanted it to be. We do not have a magical purple crayon, but have been given the Holy Spirit and Mind of Christ to make our way through this life into forever. When our mind decides to draw the lines of righteousness and create the images of obedience they will always differ from the predestined way that is hand-recorded by God. It is in that moment when our mind decides there is a better, safer and more comfortable way of doing things and still thinks that it please God that we have a problem. We have a problem. Fortified patterns of thinking that are stubbornly resistant to God’s Perfect Word and Perfect Will have created strongholds called complacency and compromise. They are comfortable. They are safe. They are not part of God’s Plan and will one day be demolished when Christ returns.
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Bible engagement is directly related to spiritual growth. I agree with that. It is a well-known fact that it is possible to become a “better person” by going to church. To become a new person requires the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit which must be partnered with the Word of God to allow spiritual growth within human nature. Research indicates that the only 19% of those who regularly attend church read their Bible every day. Another 18% indicated that they rarely or never read the Word of God outside of regular worship services. Even though 90% of the same group polled expressed a desire to “please and honor Jesus in all that I do” and 59% agree that they think about Biblical truths. It is clear that not many actually engage with the Word of God daily. How do we qualify those who we allow to teach us God’s Word if we know nothing about it? While the world mostly agrees that our society is in a downward spiral and that they love the Bible, they do not read it or engage in studying it. Could it be that is why we struggle in our mind? Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. It is the Bread of Life to feed our Spirit every day. What are we doing with it?
We need God’s Word every day to divide our spirit and soul. We need it to judge our thoughts and attitudes of our heart. We cannot live in full obedience to God without any idea what He tells us to do or the wisdom He gives in doing it. How can we know the terms of our covenant and all the benefits that go with it outside of knowing God’s Word? Jesus is the Word wrapped in human flesh. If we do not take the time read and study God’s Word, we will not fully come to know His Son, Jesus.
John 14:25-27 (NIV)
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The Word of God exposes every stronghold’s weakness, breach and fallacy. The Holy Spirit are the supernatural hands that bring it down to replace it with spiritual confidence as we live by faith and not by sight. It is in the moment that the Word of God is placed inside of us that it becomes a might wrecking ball in the capable hands of the Holy Spirit. He will take captive wayward thoughts. He will identify the lie of the enemy that is trying to take root. The Spirit of God will not tolerate contrary thinking or any idea in rebellion with God’s Perfect and Complete Will for our life. In fact, adversarial and rebellious thinking creates chaos in us until the stronger prevails. Are you feeding the flesh with natural thoughts or are you feeding the Spirit with the Bread of Life? The stronger will always win.
I Corinthians 2:15-16 (NIV)
The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Knowledge is worthless until I use it in my life. Knowing the stove is hot means very little if I still choose to lay my hand on a hot burner. I am still going to get burned even though I knew better. I cannot count the times that I have admitted in life that “I knew better” and did something anyway. God has given me His Word with many precious promises. Jesus gave me His Spirit so now I can fully understand all that I am offered and how to obtain it. I have the Mind of Jesus Christ. I lack not good thing. But if I do not understand the gift I have been given and apply it to my life – I remain locked in the stronghold of “fortified patterns of thought stubbornly resistant to God’s Word and Will.”
Romans 4:18-21 (NIV)
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Make no mistake about it. When Almighty God speaks to our heart and whispers to us with that still small voice, you know it. You may rationalize it differently over time, but in that moment you know it is the Lord. It is what we do after we hear His Voice that determines our outcomes in life. When our mind willingly grabs hold of His Word, Will and Way and is unwilling to let go of believing until it comes to pass. I have seen people stand for hours with their hands on a car hoping to win it by being the last one standing. It is called endurance which many subscribe to in the natural but few embark on in the supernatural.
Abraham was one who endured. Against all hope, Abraham still believed. His body was as good as dead as was Sarah’s womb. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God BUT was strengthened by his faith and gave glory to God. Has God given you a promise? How long have you been waiting? Did you give up along the way? Does your mind continually try to convince you that it is foolishness? To be rational? If you allow your mind to build a stronghold it only keeps you in and the promise out. God will do exactly what He said that He would do in His Word and confirmed by His Spirit in us, if we against all hope continue to be fully persuaded that God has the power to bring down every stronghold, overcome every obstacle and do exactly as He promised that He would do.
Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must have the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus had. We must work individually and together to bring down every stronghold that has been raised in our life and society about the God we serve. For example, our life with Christ must extend beyond the one or two services that we attend each week. We must learn to live in God’s Word every single day. To pray and communicate with God. To be partnered with His Spirit daily. We are to abide in Christ which means to live in Him doing nothing apart from the Lord. When we do, our homes will change. Our work atmosphere will begin to improve. Our churches will get that revival fire will be sparked. Strongholds of our mind limit God’s Power and Presence in our life. He will not inhabit a place that He is unwanted. But for those who choose to live in unison with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will have a change of heart and mind that will allow the Power of God to flowing freely through their life and God’s Power will change each outcome.
Three things to remember in our decision to demolish strongholds today – Jesus overcame the world. (John 16:33) Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4) and finally, No weapon formed against you shall prosper. (Isaiah 54:17) No matter what comes against you the Word of God and His Will always prevails. God has not given you the spirit of fear so do not accept it. He has given us peace of mind and heart through Jesus Christ. We can live our life in power, love and self-discipline just because He lives. (2 Timothy 1:7) Use it to break down every barrier of negativity and demolish every stubborn stronghold keep you from the life that Jesus died for us to have filled His Power and Might. Remember – we win!
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.