Let's continue with our new series titled Unlocking there Power of Your Thinking and look at what exactly is a stronghold, since we often refer to it often as something we must pull down. We often think
of it as something that is "out there," but this week, let's look at the possibility that it can be something "in here"—something in your mind that may be hindering your spiritual growth and progress.
RENEWING THE MIND
In a preached message I once delivered in my home church, we looked at two passages:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:1-2).
"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" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Can there be a stronghold that has a strong hold on our minds? The answer is yes. A stronghold is an accumulation of thoughts and beliefs over time that become a rigid way of doing things or seeing the world. For example, if you as a child did not do well in math, you began to think, "I am just not good in math." That thought is reinforced by poor performance, which just "proves" you are not smart. Perhaps comments from others reinforced the thought even further, so therefore you began to avoid math classes. When you got to university and were confronted with having to take a math class, panic set in because you knew how you are: the thought had become a stronghold in your mind telling you that you are not good in math. Even though your parents worked with you and encouraged you, even prayed for you, the stronghold remained and it affected your performance.
Another stronghold would be your ability or need to use social media: "Oh, I'm no good at that. I don't have time anyway." As the world continues to go digital and connects through many media, you resist the trend because you have a stronghold that actually causes you to fear social media. Oh, you may not act like you are afraid, maintaining that it is your choice not to participate. You may even reinforce your position with biblical truths, but in most cases, you have built up a thought that now has a strong hold on your mind. Once you put a stronghold behind a biblical or religious fortress, it becomes even more difficult to change, which is what we are really trying to do when we "tear it down."
STRONGHOLDS AND FEAR
The thing I saw for the first time when I preached from the two passages mentioned at the beginning is that a stronghold in your mind always results in panic and fear when that stronghold is challenged or confronted, just like the life examples I provided earlier. An example of this truth about fear can be seen l in the story of David and Goliath. The army had a collective stronghold in their mind, which was that Goliath was too big for anyone to fight. When Goliath's presence confronted their stronghold , they were terrified: "On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified" (1 Samuel 17:11) and "whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear" (1 Samuel 17:24).
You can memorize all the Scripture verses you want, but if, for instance, there is cancer in your family and the thought you will get cancer has a strong hold on your mind, you will live in fear. Studies also show that the stronghold can actually lead to the thing you fear becoming a reality! That is why it is important to identify your strongholds. I have determined that I am to be on a search-and destroy mission for my remaining days to identify my fear strongholds and bring them down.
How can you tear down your strongholds? You can do so first by honestly assessing where your greatest fears are. Where do you have a rock solid fear that seems rational but it limits your faith and then your walk. The opposite of fear is not unbelief; it is fear, so a strong hold keeps you from acting in faith, and if faith is how you please God and your fear won't allow you to function in faith, well Houston, we have a problem.
Once you acknowledge a stronghold has a strong hold on your life, then you can begin the process of dismantling and disarming it. The Spirit will help you do this, but there are no shortcuts. You must work to undo what it has taken you years to build. Next week, we will look further into how you can pull down a stronghold, but your assignment this week is to get comfortable with the fact that you have them, and analyze the effects they produce in your life. Have a blessed week!