And then there are unholy strongholds. While demons are actively involved in building unholy strongholds, an unholy stronghold is not a demon. It is an incorrect thinking pattern (thoughts and reasonings) that goes against the Truth of God's Word. The enemy uses his system of lies, and false concepts to try to form a fortress in our minds, so he can attack us at will. Once the fortress is built, he will defend it to the end. My ex-husband was a big liar. He told me once that he was taught that if he told a lie he must take that lie to his grave. He must never recant it and tell the truth. He lived by that philosophy which made it impossible for me to trust him.
In 2 Corinthians 10 Paul explains that strongholds are presented as “arguments, reasonings and theories.
(3) For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, (5) [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), −2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (AMPC)
Who presents these arguments, reasonings, and theories? It is Satan, the father of lies who plants these seeds. What we believe forms our values and becomes how we live; therefore your mind is your greatest asset, and Satan wants it. It is where he launches his attack against human beings, whether they are Saved or not.
Satan and his demons work in the spiritual arena of your life trying to inject his lies in your mind, repeating them over and over until you start to think they are your thoughts. His goal is to build fortresses (strongholds) in your mind which he can use as his base of operations to attack you whenever he feels like it to bring confusion and chaos to undermine God's purposes for your life. They look for vulnerable areas like past failures, character weaknesses, or difficult life situations, to concentrate on. He plants suspicions and jealousy, and exaggerates our failures and inadequacies, as well as those of the people around us. It's all meant to steal our focus off God and bring division and destruction.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” − John 10:10 NKJV
Unholy strongholds affect our moods, emotions, and how we respond to various situations in life. Worry, bitterness, fear, guilt, grief, insecurity, unforgiveness, condemnation, immorality, materialism, pride, resentment, rebellion, rejection and seeking the approval of others can be a stronghold in your mind.
Also, Satan wants us to wrestle with the “symptom” rather than the “source”, so he disguises his activities so that it appears that someone or something else is to blame for the strife and chaos going on in our life. Whice is why Paul tells us in in Ephesians 6:12 that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Sometimes it may be hard to remember this fact, but we must stay alert! Satan is very crafty, and he has been using this strategy a long time. He planted the thought into Ananias and Sapphira’s heart to lie in Acts 5:3. He gave them the idea of selling a piece of property and giving some of the money to the church, pretending that they had given the full amount. Peter asked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” This thought cost them their lives.
He planted thoughts into King David’s mind. 1st Chronicles 21:1 says, “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.” Satan gave David the thought to start counting to see exactly how strong the nation really was. Thinking this was his own idea David decided to take a census. But taking this census was a sin because it showed that David was relying on human strength rather than depending on God, and God judged an entire nation for David’s sin. Satan planted the thought to betray Jesus into Judas’ heart (mind). (John 13:2)
I thank God for His mercy and for the Blood of Jesus which covers our sin and, because I have succumbed to Satan’s tactic so many times, which is why I can say it is important for to understand what unholy strongholds are, where they come from and how to be rid of them.
Satan starts planting lies in our minds when we are children about us, about God, and the world around us. These lies become ingrained in us and become our unconscious way of thinking. We make decisions based on these false beliefs until the Truth of the Word of God challenges it. For example, if Satan wants to destroy your concept of love and build up a stronghold of self-hatred he will use people say things to you like:
As I continued to pray and listen, God reminded me of some things I thought, said and did in me and George's relationship. Even though I was consciously working on changing my thoughts and speech from what He taught me when I wrote the book “Put The Word in Your Mouth”, I hadn't been in a romantic relationship in so long I did not know that these strongholds were there, but God did. As the replay played out on the screen before me I could see that I did indeed have some serious insecurities. I loved George so much and thought so highly of him that most of the time I was afraid I wasn't good enough for him. I trusted MYSELF instead of God with the relationship, which by the way, is idolatry. God showed me how I listened to Satan's lies, even when God told me to stop and take a breath, I talked to myself saying all sorts of things l that undermined the relationship like:
"My God, I cried out!" I immediately prayed and repented!
“Lord God forgive me for not honoring the blessing You gave me. I am so sorry for mistreating Your son! I pray that he forgives me. I’m so broken Father, but I thank You for loving me enough to show me the error of my ways. Forgive us both for sinning against You. Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me. Wash me and I shall be as white as snow. I pray for George that You will open his eyes that he might see as well. Jesus came that we might have life, and more abundantly. Soften his heart and bless him Father! Set him free from everything that holds him captive. Order His footsteps in Your way.
I don’t know how things will work out with George and I, but I do believe that nothing can thwart God’s plan. I’ve taken myself out of the way so God can do what He does best: work things out for the good of those who love Him. Both George and I love God. I decree and am standing on that word, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:9).
Can you see how Satan’s fortresses of lies can influence every area of your life? These fortresses had been building up in me since I was a child. They got stronger because of the abuse I endured during prior relationships and my previous marriage. Like I said I thought because I had forgiven my ex-husband that all was well! I thank God for allowing George to say something, I just wish we could have actually talked about it, but then there are strongholds that George is going to have to deal with too. I believe as God worked on me, He was working on him too. At least that’s my prayer.
Sin is also an opening for strongholds to enter. Salvation does not end our ability to sin. Our spirit is reborn, but we still have the same old dirty flesh, so unfortunately, we will be contending against sin until God calls us home. Keep in mind that Satan is after our minds. Every sin that we commit begins as a thought. Any thought that is not cast down and brought into subjection to the Word of God will begin to build a stronghold in the mind. The apostle Paul says in 2nd Corinthians 10 that we need to destroy strongholds and tear them down.
(3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, (5) casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, −2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)
Incorrect Perception Of God
One of Satan’s biggest strongholds that he uses against Believers, and unbelievers is an incorrect perception of who God is. People plagued by this stronghold see God as a cruel and un-loving God who plays favorites, rather than the loving Father that sent His only begotten Son to die for their sin. This stronghold keeps countless people from coming to God. It also keeps Believers in a never-ending cycle of self-righteousness as they try to live up to the impossible standards, rules and regulations of The Law that only served to solidify the need for Jesus' sacrifice at the Cross.
People oppressed by this stronghold are so scared of being ‘outside’ of God’s will that they make being a Christian seem like a chore rather than a joyous blessing. This dims their light and destroys their witness to the world. If we are too caught up worrying about keeping rules and regulations, we will miss what God desires us to see right where we are.
Jesus told us in Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for the Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom.” If you see that you are dealing with this stronghold, accept that you are right where God wants you to be right now, regardless of what you did yesterday or even earlier today. You didn’t shock or surprise God, release it and keep it moving. Begin to pray with confident faith for things that are of the Kingdom of heaven to come on earth and for God to use You in His bigger plan.
It is unfortunate that this stronghold keeps people from drawing close to God because God is love, and all about family and relationship. He instituted marriage and families. He made it clear from the beginning that He wanted man and woman to come together to build a family. In Genesis we read, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). Then, He blessed them and told them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [fill] the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28).
He instructed Adam and Eve to be joined to become one: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Even after they fell into sin, God continued with His plan for families.
Sadly, many people don’t have great family memories and those memories roll right over into a false perception about God. For instance, if our parents were constantly angry or disappointed with us, we might believe God is too. We will view God with a big stick ready to pounce on us for every sin we commit, and we won’t accept forgiveness. Until our mind is renewed with the Truth of God’s Word we will never draw close to the Father.
An incorrect perception of who we are is also an unholy stronghold. Many people who deal with this stronghold are caught up in shame-based thinking. They have a tough time seeing themselves as new person in Christ Jesus. They deal with constant guilt and condemnation and lack spiritual confidence because they don't understand what Christ has done on the Cross and how it applies to their own life. They do not realize that it's God's will and it is good for them to disassociate themselves from their past.
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. There is so much more that God shared with me. I want you to grab it all. You can preorder the book "I Don't Believe in Fairytales" here. Be sure to subscribe below to be notified when it is available.
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If you would like to order the book “Put The Word In Your Mouth” click here.