(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.)
— 2 Corinthians 10:4
Once while I was ministering in southern England, I had a few free hours between services, so I asked the local church leaders to take me to see a famous old castle that was nearly one thousand years old. As I approached the castle, its tall, thick stone walls loomed upward overhead. After climbing to the top of the ancient tower, I stopped to enjoy a view of the entire valley below that was simply beautiful.
This particular castle was famous for its history because its lofty position on top of the small mountain had made it impenetrable for hundreds of years. Although many aggressors had attempted to attack and overtake it, its high position on top of the mountain, coupled with its tall, thick walls, had kept those who resided inside secure from outward attack. Over the years, enemies who tried to attack and conquer the fortress had been perpetually frustrated as a result of these advantages that prohibited such a victory.
As I stood in the top tower of that ancient fortress, looking down at the valley below and hearing the stories of all the foreign armies who had unsuccessfully tried to take this stronghold captive, I thought of Paul’s words in Second Corinthians 10:4. He wrote, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.)”
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What are the “strongholds” Paul is talking about in this verse? Whatever they are, Paul lets us know that they are so reinforced and resistant that they can only be eradicated by the power of God and the weapons supplied by the Holy Spirit.
The word “stronghold” comes from the Greek word ochuroma. It is one of the oldest words in the New Testament, originally used to describe a fortress, such as the one described above. It depicted a fortress, a castle, or a citadel. Ancient fortresses had exceptionally thick, very high, impregnable walls that were designed to keep outsiders from scaling the walls or from breaking inside. Such walls were intended to keep intruders outside.
But by the time of the New Testament, the word ouhuroma also came to be the very same Greek word used to describe a prison. Since the most secure, highly guarded prisons were usually constructed deep inside such fortresses, it makes sense that the word for a fortress or stronghold is the same identical Greek word used to picture a prison. Whereas a fortress keeps outsiders from getting in, a prison keeps insiders from getting out. Prisons are places of detention or holding tanks. They also have fortified walls, as well as bars of steel, that are designed to hold a prisoner in captivity.
The “strongholds” Paul refers to are lies that the devil has ingrained so deeply in your mind and in your belief system that they now exert power over certain areas of your life. Just as ancient rulers liked to build their castles perched high on a mountainside, the devil attempts to build strong lies in your mind so he can rule you from a lofty position in your thoughts and emotions. Although you may know logically that the lies the enemy speaks to your mind are untrue, these lies still wage war in your soul, attempting to sabotage your sense of self-worth and your self-image.
You see, when a person has a stronghold in his mind or emotions, he has thick, invisible walls around him that act like both a fortress and a prison in his life. Like the walls of a fortress, these lies insulate him from people who may try to break in to help him see the truth. Although others may want to help this person, they often find it impossible to break through the invisible barriers that surround his mind and emotions.
As a result, the person under mental and emotional assault is held captive like a prisoner to those lies. He sits behind mental and emotional bars, viewing life through the illusion of bondage that Satan has put into his mind. He looks at others, sadly wishing he could be free like them, not realizing that he has already been set free by the blood of Jesus Christ. The lies that operate in his soul keep him bound in an inner “prison” that he can’t seem to break out of by himself.
So when you read Paul’s words about “strongholds” in Second Corinthians 10:4, you need to picture both a fortress and a prison in your mind and then apply this picture to your own life. Are there any areas of your mind that are currently controlled by the enemy’s lies of fear, doubt, and worry? Do you find yourself being repeatedly attacked in the areas of your self-worth and self-image? Are these attacks debilitating and crippling? Do you feel like a hostage to these areas of your mind and emotions? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have probably allowed the devil to build strongholds in your mind and emotions that are hindering you from stepping out to do something God has purposed for you to do in your life.
If that’s your situation, first recognize and repent for permitting those strongholds to develop in the first place. Then go back and see how the devil gained this foothold in your life. After you discover how the devil was able to work so deeply in your mind and emotions, ask the Lord to forgive you and to cleanse you from this devilish operation in your soul.
Once you have received this divine cleansing, it is time for you to arise in the power of the Spirit with the weapons of God and the name of Jesus Christ. Reject the devil’s claim on your mind and emotions, and command him to leave in Jesus’ name! Then get back on the path to right believing and right thinking by renewing your mind daily with the Word of God. If you truly want to be permanently set free from the lies that have controlled you for so long, you will have to use the weapons of the Spirit to pull down every stronghold the devil has erected in your life!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I realize that the enemy has been attempting to control my self-worth and my self-image through lies that have been operating in my mind and emotions for a very long time. Because I allowed the devil access to my thought life in times past, I have been like a hostage held captive in an inner prison. I can see now how others have tried to help me, but they haven’t been able to break through the strong walls of these mental lies that have surrounded my thinking. So today I am turning to You, Holy Spirit. I ask You for help as I learn to utilize the weapons of my warfare that You have supplied. Please help me uproot, tear down, and permanently walk free of every mental lie of the enemy for the rest of my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I will no longer permit the devil to have a foothold in my mind and emotions. I am employing the use of the power of God, the weapons of the Holy Spirit, and the name of Jesus Christ, and I command the devil to withdraw his lies from my mind and emotions and to flee from me! The enemy has no right to operate inside my mind, and I refuse to allow his operation in my soul to continue. I will believe right, think right, and renew my mind daily with the Word of God. I am now permanently set free from lies that have controlled me for such a long time. From this moment forward, I am dominated by the truth of God’s Word. Lies that have held me captive for so long have no more power over me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Do you know of any areas of your mind and emotions that continually lie to you and try to hold you in some kind of spiritual captivity? What are those areas, and how long have they been exercising dominion in your life?
2. What are some of the steps you can start taking right now to step out of that bondage and into the liberty Jesus Christ wants to give to you?
3. Can you think of key scriptures you need to memorize and start confessing in order to renew your mind to the specific truths of God’s Word that will help you think rightly about yourself? Why don’t you write down those scriptures and put them in a visible place in your home to remind you about the truth God declares about you?