Monday, April 22, 2024

The Battlefields of Strongholds

Monday, April 22, 2024

For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 CSB

The Battlefields of Strongholds

The greatest battles are not fought with guns and bombs or by combat soldiers on the battlefields of this world; they are fought in the mind.  The mind is the oldest, most common battlefield known to the human race. Ever since God provided Adam and Eve a fierce battle has been raging over who will control man's thinking, God or Satan. Stongholds can begin to take hold in our lives in our minds. 

The first objective of the spiritual warrior is to capture his mind for God. God wants us to tear down anything that holds us back from fully knowing Him - every stronghold that keeps us from living in our freedom and from living The Jesus Way. We walk in the flesh, but we do not war according to the flesh and the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, The Corinthians, who Paul was writing to about  lived and evaluated things according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, so they completely missed the power of the Spirit that was available to them.  Paul however followed a different direction in life. Though Paul lived in a body of flesh, he would not walk after the pattern of the flesh or according to the natural man, but he walked in the Spirit depending on God. The key to tearing down strongholds is learning to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh.  
The Battlefield of the Mind 
Satan knows that he cannot snatch us out of our Heavenly Father's hands but if he can get us to listen to the untruths about ourselves then he can turn our head to focus on the guilt and shame of our past actions. When we believe we are not worthy, then we stop believing that God is God. If we are guilty forever from our sins and never redeemed, He is not who he says he is and cannot do what he promises to do. 

Satan’s desire is to make us think wrong. We can rationalize our sin and talk ourselves into it believing that God desires our happiness over our obedience. He longs to turn the mind of a believer to the world for the definition of what has occurred in our lives and who we are because of it. He loves for us to be focused on shame and guilt instead of grace and forgiveness. He wants us trapped in the thought cycle that we are too damaged and no good. He wants us to believe that God would never want a relationship or to use a person like us - someone who has messed up in the past.

The truth about who we are does not come from our past sins and mistakes. The truth about who we are comes from the shed blood of Jesus that covered those sins and the grace and freedom that is ours for all eternity because of it. 

The Battlefield of Experience (Environment)
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey[g] its desires. And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. Romans 6:12-14 CSB

To fight against strongholds, we have to get ahead of the battle by being intentional about where we go, who we go with, what we do, and everything that we let into our lives. What we listen to, read and watch can affect our spiritual life. The place where Satan gains a hold will become a draw on our life and will eventually become a stronghold if not dealt with.

Strongholds only need a piece of our lives to rule our lives. One relationship, one attitude, one fear…
It can consume all of our thoughts and energy.  This can produce guilt in our lives that drains us spiritually and paralyzes us in the work God has for us.  We feel no one will understand or, even worse, judge us so we remain silent. When we fail to confess and deal with our strongholds they gain even more power over us. We begin to obsess about it and can quickly be consumed with it. 

We cannot let Satan have the upper hand in this battle.  He wants us to feel defeated, but we are not defeated.  In Christ, we will be victorious over every stronghold.  He will lift us up and out of the bondage of the strongholds that strangle us. Take every thought captive and leave them at His feet. What do you need to confess today? It always helps to have accountability and the encouragement of other Christians. Find someone you can talk to. Take the power away from what holds you captive. Banish the guilt and shame of past mistakes by talking it out with a trusted friend or spiritual leader. Jesus has broken chains and opened the prison doors, it is time to walk out and live in your freedom.

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