Watching a building be demolished is an amazing thing. A standing structure, seemingly solid and stable, craters or implodes in seconds as a force rages against it greater than its ability to withstand. As the rubble builds and the dust cloud scatters and the sides crumble into a heap, what was once standing is left no longer. On its own, it would remain intact, weathering and wearing a little over time, but to truly be brought down, an outside force is necessary.
When it comes to our lives, one of the ways the enemy tries to trip us up is by building up structures called strongholds in our lives. Often, when we hear the word stronghold, we think of things like sexual sins, drugs or other substance abuse issues – things we consider BIG, major areas of struggle in our lives or the lives of those around us. But strongholds can be far more subtle than that. They can be built up by bitterness or offense, false assumptions, miscommunications or judgments we make about those around us. They can come about by allowing an area of fear to build a fortress around our hearts and minds. Old lies we’ve believed about who we are, false beliefs, generational issues… each of these can open the door for the enemy to gain a foothold and build a stronghold in our lives. Strongholds cause the filters we see the world through to become clouded. They skew our perception of what’s true and right about the situations they pertain to.
The challenge with strongholds is that while they are big and burly, life-sucking, energy draining, and mentally demanding – we can be blind to them for a time. Becoming aware of a stronghold is the first step to overcoming it. Once awareness sets in, a strong desire to rid our lives of it should take over – like warriors we should rise up against them in battle recognizing they limit our ability to live the abundantly vibrant lives Christ died for us to live.
The way we war against them is powerful. The weapons we use are not outward forces we lift with our hands to crush them… No, as 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us,
“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 this 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
Arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God… that pretty much sums up what a stronghold is. For sure once we become aware of anything in our lives that is not God’s best for us — that thing has to go! So just how do we go about demolishing these things?
First, once we become aware of a stronghold in our life, we need to surrender it to God in prayer. There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain. A stronghold is like a chain that holds us back from truly living in freedom, so we take it to His throne in prayer and ask him to remove it from our lives.
Second, we need to know how to dress for our demolition battle not just initially when we recognize a strong hold exists, but daily as well, so we can continue to stand firm against the enemies schemes and deceptions. Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us each key piece we are to put on daily and why. It says,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Here we see these key pieces mentioned:
- The helmet of salvation – Protects our minds and imaginations, allowing us to focus our thoughts steadily on God’s love, power, and forgiveness.
- The breastplate of righteousness – Protects our heart and emotions as it reminds us, that once we are in Christ, we are in right standing with God.
- The belt of truth – Protects us from deception as it filters out anything that does not line up with loving others and living out God’s best for our lives.
- The sandals of peace – Protects us by setting our feet firmly in the good news of the gospel message of redemption and God’s love for the world and in the desire to be carriers of that message to the world.
- The shield of faith – Protects us from the enemies schemes as we fix our eyes on Jesus, trusting him to empower us and bring us victory in every area of our lives as we place our faith in Him.
- The sword of the Spirit – Protects as we use the word of God to deflect and cut down the enemies lies with His truths.
Lastly, in addition to prayer and putting on the armor of God, we need to find a safe place to go and ask for prayer and support. We aren’t meant to walk through any struggle in our lives on our own. We need one another and the accountability that relational connections bring to stay strong and move forward in freedom and victory. Small groups, good friends, counseling, pastors and leaders are all great places to go to talk through any area of stronghold in our lives – just make sure it’s someone you trust and respect the views and opinions of, so you know you will receive wise counsel.
There truly is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain. If you have any strongholds in your life wreaking havoc on your peace and joy, I hope these tips today will help you know how to demolish them and move forward in freedom!
Copyright © 2014 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved.