This may seem a little off base, but given the opportunity to teach soon, I asked a friend if he had any ideas. He thought for a second and said, what about Strongholds, those are the things that I need to hear about. I know I do, I battle with aspects of this everyday. These are the notes that I will use to lead the group, however, I have made a skeletonized version that I will pass out to the men, and will post them immediately after this. Do with them as you see fit.
By the way; I am very much aware that there is always more that defines this aspect of strongholds. Think of this as a primer that motivates you to dig deeper.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 MKJV For though walking about in the flesh, we do not war according to flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,
- Though we walk about in the flesh,
There is no escaping that condition, and yet the concept is that we can set aside the "flesh." There are only two situations in which that happens:
- Death – that state in which you are then separated from the body.
- Or, the rapture (a moment in time in which we will be changed – an act in which God causes this permanently damaged body to be altered.)
- We do not war according to flesh.Harsh words, swords, and guns are not going to help. This war we are in is a spiritual battle and Satan is the enemy.
The battle you are facing is a spiritual one and it is primarily in the mind.
- Pulling down – Is the Greek word kathaíresis and means demolition or the destruction of a fortress.The enemy (Satan) promotes the building of fortresses in our mind. This process happens slowly through the deceptiveness of words.For example: In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he tells us we are:
However, these are not the words we hear; mostly we hear the opposite, such as:
- Blessed; holy; blameless; in Him; living in love; adopted; chosen; redeemed, and bought back.
- You will never be holy; you are to blame for everything; unlovable; unwanted, and that you will have to struggle all your life to attain some state in which God would want you.
- Strongholds – The Greek word ochúrōma; to hold fast. A stronghold, fortification, fortress.The Greek allows for something much less invasive; a holdfast.Compare to 3M sticky hooks.
Why use the analogy of a temporary wall hanger?
These issues are often temporary annoyances. The simplest of solutions is to pray.
A verse we did not cover defines these strongholds and where they come from.
2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Again we will dissect this a few words at a time.
- Casting downCasting down is the Greek word kathaireō and means to lower (or with violence) demolish. The Word Study Dictionary adds, “to take for oneself. To take down or away.
- ImaginationsThe WSD says this Greek word logismós means a reckoning, calculation, consideration, reflection.To logismós a thing means that you are giving more than just a passing thought to a matter. The implications are that you are ruminating on the issue at hand. Since not all things are a worrisome bother, then the other application would apply to the voices that tell you that you will never live up to the things God says about you.Other translations use the words: reasoning; arguments; intellectual arrogance; theories, and speculations. All of these fit the concept.
- And everyEvery is the Greek word pas and includes all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole: - all (manner of, means).Declension according to Webster's dictionary means literally, a leaning back or down; hence, a falling or declining towards a worse state; a trend toward a lesser degree of excellence or perfection.
- High thingHigh thing is the word hupsōma, an elevated place or thing, that is, (abstractly) altitude, or (by implication) a barrier.Who is it that does the elevation? We do, as we put that thought on a pedestal.
- That exalts itselfIs the word epairō meaning to raise up.Since the context has to do with casting down imaginations and every high thing, then the idea, worry, or promotion you have spinning in your head is trying desperately to exalt itself by raising up; but against what?In reality, the voices, whether they are in your head or fed to from some well meaning “friend,” are intended to exalt themselves above God's word, nature, and character.
- Against the knowledge of GodSo, just as I said, the voices are attempting to exalt themselves above God. There is truly, only one person that does that, Satan and his minions.
- And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;As I said, you are the one who has to take care of this. It is, by-the-way, your psyche that is being toyed with. Doing nothing only adds to the fortification that is being built in your mind. While it is necessary that you bring these thoughts that are contrary to God into captivity, you must subject your thoughts to the obedience of Christ.Obedience is the Greek word hupakoḗ; to obey, listen to something, hearken.This is you with purpose resetting your mind to consider with an overriding confidence, the true nature of Christ Jesus.
I get it; there are understandably some people who are so far gone, whether from alcohol, drug abuse, or trauma, that they do not live in a functional state of mental health and may not be able to make these decisions for themselves. With those people in mind, I am reminded of what the Apostle Peter told us Jesus did; and, in so doing, demonstrated not only the character and nature of the Father but our mission as well.
Acts 10:38 MKJV ...and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him.
So, once again, you are not dealing with the flesh, but demonic forces, in all but rare cases.
Let's just assume that this is not you and you continue to function with relative normalcy while fighting against these small, annoying mental skirmishes, many of which we lose.
If these strongholds are merely a hold fast and not a fortress in my mind, why I am I continually bothered/tortured by this same problem?
- You, with Christ living in you, are a target.I know you did not want to hear that, but it is information that you needed to know.Ephesians 2:10 MKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus ...There are plenty of people who will say that this does not define us as being in God's image, so allow me to give you another piece of proof.Genesis 1:26-27 MKJV And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion ... over all the earth, ... And God created man in His image;...Some might say, I don't believe in this God of yours.Their challenge does not matter; the mere fact that we were created in the image of God caused Satan to set his destructive sights upon them.A simple hold fast may restrain you for your entire life.
- Satan, we are told, constantly accuses us of sins. We see this in Revelation of all places.Revelation 12:10 MKJV ... For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.
- Our broken flesh is centered around selfishness; the motivation to satisfy the flesh.We quickly and easily call this a sin conscience.
We religious folk, love to fling the word sin around, especially once we've decided that you need more restraint in your life. The word “sin” is simply an old English term, taking from Archery, in which the competitor missed the bulls-eye in the center of the target.