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Breaking Strongholds

Recently I was feeling overwhelmed by a lot of changes happening in my life as a result of global happenings. As I prayed about it, God reminded me of the word “strongholds”. IT IS TIME TO BREAK UP SOME STRONGHOLDS. I decided to dive deeper into that word.

In Strong’s concordance the word “stronghold” is reference 3794 in the Greek, “ochuróma”.

It’s root means “to fortify”. Fortify means “To reinforce by ADDING MATERIAL, make strong, reinforce”. Instantly I got a spiritual picture of how we build our “safe place”. When trouble comes, where do our thoughts go? Each time we worry, we reinforce a stronghold. Each time we remember God’s testimonies and goodness, we reinforce HIM as our safe place. We are building with our minds! Out of the heart, things flow. Our actions spring from our thoughts. For instance, if you are EXPECTING a certain outcome, more than likely you act and prepare with your actions accordingly. This is why renewal starts in our MINDS.

So many times Biblically we are reminded that our FAITH grows our deeds. While deeds do not produce faith, faith without works is dead. You’d be hard-pressed to find a “hall of faith-er” (Hebrews 11) who didn’t have to act in accordance to the promise God gave them (like Noah’s obedience in building the ark, for example). The enemy knows this also, so he tries to prevent anything from coming to fruition by starting in our minds and tempting us into preservation or comfort.

Strong’s definition for stronghold also includes “MILITARY stronghold”. The word military is not accidental. Strongholds form because this is a BATTLE. A spiritual one, and a strategic one. Because there is trouble in this world, we NEED to seek safety, refuge, or a stronghold in SOMETHING, and now- more than ever- we need to make certain that that is in the Lord!

Another synonym is a “castle”. Castle carries with it a feel of royalty, governmental power, and authority. What are you giving authority to in your life? Are you letting despair or worry or worldly things take the throne in your thoughts? If so, it’s not too late to tear it down!

Part of the definition in Strong’s includes that the word is “used figuratively of a false argument in which a person seeks "shelter" ("a safe place") to escape reality.” Certainly this is how strongholds of the enemy sneak in. In the Garden, Adam and Eve were given twisted arguments that led them to believe their long term advantage for staying safe and knowing all God knew was in eating the forbidden fruit. To further illustrate this, there’s a reason the Word tells us the enemy saw an opportune time when Jesus was fasting in the wilderness and weak, and there’s a reason that after the temptation it says the enemy left him “until an opportune time”.

If this year has beaten you down, it is an OPPORTUNE TIME. Opportune by definition is “fitting, advantageous, and suitable or convenient for a particular occurrence”. These are times that the Lord is poised to do big things!!! It is time to get hopes up and be vigilant about not staying dormant in the ways the Lord is calling us to act. These are also times that the enemy seeks to slip in those false arguments. Just like the temptation of Jesus, those false arguments can be masked in comfort, ease, or escape from reality. Do not take the enemy’s counterfeit comfort over the Lord’s real and eternal comfort! (We see in Adam and Eve how that worked out...)

Strong’s also notes “(oxýrōma) is also used for a prison in antiquity”. Have you ever been in a bad situation so long it feel almost scary to leave? God is highlighting right now that there are people being called out of long-standing FAMILIAR prisons. They have come to know and even find comfort in them, so it’s hard to step out in accordance with the words they are hearing from the Lord. As they do, however, God has something BETTER that has been waiting.

Strong’s also describes strongholds as “of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent.” The biggest attacks right now are going to be by our disputant, the enemy. The subtle questions of reasoning. “Are you sure God said..?”, “is it really worth it?”, “what if...?”. Don’t let the enemy build his strongholds by continuing or fortify his perspective. Fight back like Jesus did— with God’s words!

This word for stronghold is only used ONCE in the entire Bible, and that is it 2 Corinthians 10:4- “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

What’s interesting is that phrase “on the contrary”. Do you realize this means that the weapons of the world or arguments of the enemy do NOT have the power to demolish strongholds?

God is very clear that the weapons of the world are not our weapons but rather that our battle will be won by STANDING ON HIS WORD and ACTING ACCORDING TO HIS SPIRIT. This weapon of his word not only tears down strongholds, but it exposes and discerns-

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

“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.” Hebrews 4:12

So what is the word for now? God keeps reminding me “REMEMBER AND OBEY”: God is building MASSIVE things in this time, and they are going to be contrary to what is happening in the world and it’s agenda. You must REMEMBER the blueprint He has given you (so you are reminded of what to reinforce and build on), and OBEY (actually do what He says!).

Luke 6:46-49- “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

The foundation in this passage is OBEDIENCE. Like Hebrews 11, it’s obedience that comes from a believing heart that builds long-standing testaments to faith. In the Old Testament, the Israelites would stack stones to remember times of deliverance when God met them and came through for them.

**Our lives are building something...are we building strongholds of the enemy or building testimonies in the making, founded on on God’s Words, and established in faith?**

The precious words directly from the Holy Spirit to our hearts are the most profound, so here’s a quick check to pray through and ask the Lord to speak specifically to your situations and life. Journal what you get, so that in these pivotal days you can REMEMBER and OBEY.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help illuminate these things, and record what you get:

What strongholds of the enemy are in place right now and keeping me stuck?

What defense/strength/comfort does this stronghold appear to give me?

God, show me how the limitations or traps of this thinking.

Now, Lord, tell me YOUR words about how You are that defense/strength/comfort in my life.

Finally, show me how I can “build” through my actions and thoughts in a way that reinforces Your Words and tears down this old pattern of behavior or thinking.

Church it’s time to step out of those strongholds of seeming “comfort and protection” that the enemy offers as a cheap counterfeit and step INTO the eternal comfort and protection of the Lord which is found right smack dab in the middle of those leaps of faith He has coordinated to get you to your destiny.

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