If I was to title this article differently, I would title it THE TRUTH VS. THE LIE
Paul, in response to those Christians relying on the outward appearance of Paul, rather than God’s power working in Paul, gives us a lesson on how to pull down strongholds (Lies) in our spiritual warfare, in all that exalts itself against the knowledge of God in our lives.
Paul states the problem, those things said about Paul: 2Co 10:10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.
Paul reassures them that his deeds will be just as weighty and powerful as his words, and explains why:
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Root Word (Etymology)
Stronghold: From a remote derivative of ἔχω (G2192) (meaning to fortify, through the idea of holding safely)
1) a castle, stronghold, fortress, fastness
2) anything on which one relies
a) of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent
The Apostle Paul instructs us about “strongholds” in the Book of Second Corinthians. Our Christian walk and warfare is always spiritual, and our weapons are never of a carnal nature but through the mighty power of God, in pulling down strongholds by putting on the mind of Christ, or casting down imaginations / and knowledge that contradicts God’s Truth and power, and bringing every thought captive to the obedience of His Son Christ, Jesus.
Vincent’s Word Studies expounds a little bit on the terms regarding our thought life – bringing into captivity / and obedience to Christ for a better understanding of the text:
Bringing into captivity – Or leading away captive. The military metaphor is continued; the leading away of the captives after the storming of the stronghold. See on captives, Luk 4:18. The campaign against the Cilician pirates resulted in the reduction of a hundred and twenty strongholds and the capture of more than ten thousand prisoners.
The stronghold is discovered and conquered, and the thoughts that can keep us captive, or in bondage, are renewed with Truth that sets us free, for we also can be kept captive to strongholds in our own thinking patterns given to us via the world, flesh (including the sins of others put upon us), and the devil, which exalts itself against the knowledge of God, then we can find ourselves in strongholds of bondage.
To the obedience of Christ – In pursuance of the metaphor. The obedience is the new stronghold into which the captives (our thoughts) are led. This is indicated by the prepositions εἰς into or unto.
It stands to reason that life’s conditioning, teachings, philosophies, experiences, reliance on the carnal, deep rooted fears that are learned, or strong negative feelings such as anger, hate, unforgiveness, low self esteem, identity problems, arrogance or improper defense mechanisms, stubbornness, victimization, etc., can hold a person hostage in strongholds of misery, depression, dissension, loneliness, anxiety, escapism, excessive grief, etc. Strongholds that oppose the knowledge of God keeps one captive, or in bondage, which can affect an area of one’s life or perhaps many areas.
Long standing situations or personal dispositions can open the door to oppression by evil spirits, and many times unbeknown to the individual, as these entities can hide within the personality, and know that they maintain their power through deception, or keeping the person unaware of their presence.
I would like to share an example, an experience I had a long time ago, but not forgotten.
The Lord had just answered a prayer of mine in a phenomenal way that I was filled with so much joy, and went to sleep that night feeling loved and full of peace. During the night, I woke up feeling angry at God, as if it was second nature to me, and I caught myself and thought “wait a minute, the Lord blessed me so much, and I am so thankful to Him, so where is this anger coming from? I am not angry with Him!” Like many people, there are issues in life that we don’t understand and to some degree we may blame the Lord, but repress that anger because its unacceptable to be angry at God, and learn this from a very young age. But, that night it was clear, I became acutely aware that this was a devil spirit attacking my mind, and while I was asleep (imagine that). I rebuked the spirit of anger and immediately the negative feelings disappeared, and I knew I uncovered the deception or a hiding place of this entity, and how it must have nurtured my anger throughout the years. I always loved and believed the Lord more than I was ever angry with him, and to me, it seemed a normal reaction to things I couldn’t know or understand, but what I discovered that night really surprised me. That devil spirit wanted to steal my joy and faith, and apparently was not willing to give up his little stronghold embedded in what I thought was just a normal part of my human experience.
The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy! (Jn. 10:10)
In Psalm 91 it says,
V2 – I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and “my fortress:” my God; in him will I trust
fortress - “stronghold”
We need to take the time to reflect on our thinking patterns, especially in those areas where we feel the most lost. I don’t believe in extremes and a balanced walk is vital, but I also know that for the walking Christian, the enemy is hiding in the trenches, no doubt.
A list of common strongholds will be posted soon – God Bless!
*Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search – Strong’s & Thayer’s Gk dictionaries.