Strongholds & Arguments
We are all familiar with the term strongholds. In 2 Corinthians 10: 3 to 5 the apostle Paul writes about the weapons of our warfare that are available in God. And the purpose of these weapons are to:
Pull down strongholds
Cast down arguments which are also known as human reasonings and
Cast down false arguments
Now what exactly are they and why is it important to destroy them so that we walk victorious?
They (strongholds) are fortified places or towers or fortresses from which soldiers go forth, to wage war. They are also defined as a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly held.
In our lives a stronghold can be a particular belief system we have been holding onto for a long time, a specific thought pattern, certain behaviors, emotions such as anger, hatred, bitterness, resentment etc.
Strongholds are not built in a day or a short period of time.
Just like a building is not constructed in a day or two, a stronghold is built gradually, over a period of time. First the ground is excavated, then the foundations are laid, and on top the rest of the building is built up, floor by floor.
So there is the factor of time involved in the formation of a stronghold and that is very important to know and realize. It does not happen in a day. It always starts somewhere and the enemy, having seen a foothold in your life, slowly builds on it until it becomes a fully functional, fortified place.
It is from these strongholds in your life that the enemy, like the soldiers of war, goes forth to attack other areas of your life. The evil forces take residence in these strongholds of your soul and from there goes forward to attack other aspects of your life. There is always a starting place.
It is very important to identify and pull down the strongholds, because they become barriers or blocks to the work of God in your life.
Lets look at 2 instances in the Bible that shows how strongholds can adversely affect you.
In John 5 we see a man at the pool of Bethesda, with an infirmity for 38 years. It does not say that the man was 38 years old. Rather it says that he had an infirmity for 38 years.
Now Jesus saw the man and knew that he was in that condition - the condition of having that infirmity- for a long time (38 years)
We understood earlier, that anything that has been there in your life for a long time is a stronghold. Hence this man had a stronghold in his life and we are going to look at what it was.
Jesus, seeing this man asks him “do you want to be made well?” Now that itself is an interesting question. Isn’t it obvious that the man, lying next to the pool where he would get healing, wanted to be made well?
But there is always a reason why Jesus asks questions.
More interesting than the question, is the response to the question. To Jesus’ question ‘do you want to be made well?’ the man should have replied ‘yes of course I want to be made well’. But instead he says (verse 7), “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me”.
A totally contradicting answer.
So what was happening?
If you look at the man's response closely you will see 3 aspects:
There was no one to help him
He had been trying but was not successful in getting to the pool
Somebody else always got ahead first
The answer he gave, revealed what was in his heart and mind.
Luke 6:45 says “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”. So the abundance of his heart was that: no one was there to help him, he was not able to help himself and others were always getting ahead.
This was all that was filling his heart. Over 38 years of his life having an infirmity led to the building up of bitterness, anger, resentment, hatred and self-pity.
38 years ago, at the beginning of his condition, he was an entirely different person with a completely different mindset.
Let's assume he was 20 years old when he became sick. When he was 20 years old, he was energetic and very hopeful that his sickness would be healed. He would have had people to help him. But as the years began to pass by without any change in his condition, without any progress, his hope began to fade. His friends and family would have slowly begun to give up and stopped helping. And even then he tried to get to the pool by himself. The verse says 'but while I am coming’ which means that he tried to get there by himself. And even that did not work out.
So, over 38 years he had been facing this. And slowly bitterness and resentment - against people who he thought would have helped him, against God, anger and frustration with himself, at his own inability to get him out of this sickness- was being built up. And after at 38 years, when Jesus came, Jesus saw the actual condition - not only the physical condition but also his mental state.
Jesus seeing this condition asks him if he wanted to be made well. Why?
Because over these many years the man’s bitterness, sorrows, frustrations, resentments and all became a stronghold, filled his heart and drowned his desire to be made well.
More than wanting to be healed, he had complaints and anger to speak about and think about. Anger at people, at God and at himself. So much so that his bitterness and frustrations drowned his need to be healed.
And Jesus asked the question to bring the man to face himself - to see what was inside him and what had happened to him over these years. Jesus was asking the man if the desire to be healed was still there, beneath all the layers of disappointments and bitterness. And when the strongholds of bitterness, anger, hatred were brought forth, it was pulled down and cast away. And then with one simple word from Jesus - Rise, take your mat and walk- the man was IMMEDIATELY healed.
Is it possible, that in your lives, right now, that God is speaking to you about your healing, breakthrough, deliverance or miracle and instead of focusing on that, you have been complaining about all that went wrong?
Do you find yourself complaining about the injustices done to you, about the way people treated you, about how unfairly you were dealt with?
Or are you angry and bitter with God himself saying that God did not answer your prayers earlier?
Are you angry with yourself?
For being too weak to help yourself?
If you find yourself in this position, stop right now and ask yourself - is there a stronghold in my life? A stronghold of bitterness, self-pity, frustration and anger and so on? Ask yourself, if God has been speaking to you all throughout but because of the strongholds, your actual need and desires have been drowned and now replaced with complaints?
Jesus is speaking to you right now, but you are giving him reasons and arguments about why this prayer was not answered or why that breakthrough did not come. You are giving Him reasons and you are arguing with him. And these are the reasons and false arguments that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians.
Reasoning and false arguments start always from a stronghold.
It was a stronghold of displeasure that made Jonah the prophet run away from God. We know the story very well and we relate to it a lot. Probably more than any other story in the Bible. The classic case of God calling a person and the person going another way, ending up in a crisis where God’s strong arm and his unfailing love eventually pulls them back into God’s way. But have you ever considered why Jonah ran away in the first place?
Jonah did not simply run away the very first time God’s Word told him to preach against Nineveh. It was not God’s first time speaking to Jonah as well. For God does not speak to a random man one fine day and asks him to preach against a great city.
A man does not become a prophet one fine day, just like that. It takes time.
So it was not the first time God spoke to Jonah.
In chapter 4 we can see in verse 2 where Jonah tells God - “Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm”. Notice the words Jonah says - “for I KNOW that you are gracious…”
Jonah knew God which meant he had previous experience with God and his ways.
Jonah knew how God operated. That God is a merciful God who relents from punishing people when they repent. This means that in the past, God had told Jonah to preach judgement against other cities or people or nations but when they repented God also relented and did not punish them. All this was upsetting Jonah ,because God did not do what He said He would do. In other words, Jonah expected God to work in a certain way Jonah wanted, in a way that it pleased him. And when that did not happen - not once, twice- but repeatedly, Jonah began to be displeased. This displeasure began to take root in him, foundations were laid and a stronghold of displeasure was built in his heart. And it is this displeasure, this stronghold of displeasure that made Jonah run away in the opposite direction. He was displeased and angry with God.
In the case of the lame man, the stronghold blocked his healing and in Jonah’s case it made him go away from the presence of God.
Strongholds take you away from God and it acts as a block, a barrier to your own deliverance and healing.
Today if you are at a point in life where certain areas or conditions have not been changed, if answers to certain prayers have not been received for a long time, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you and ask Him to reveal any hindrances in the form of strongholds in your life. Ask God to remove it first. Because once that happens, you will be able to receive the word of God into your life and thereby receive the healing, the miracle, the breakthrough.
God can easily give you an answer to your prayer, He can, in an instant change your conditions and heal you.
If the strongholds in your life are not dealt with and pulled down, no matter how many breakthroughs and answers you may get, your heart will always be filled with negativity and always act as a barrier to God.
So take courage, for God is interested in your well-being and more importantly wants to deal with you fully and not partially. In addressing the strongholds you will receive your breakthroughs and also be able to walk victoriously.
God bless you abundantly and may He keep you.