II Corinthians 10:3-5, “Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,”
What is a stronghold? According to Webster’s Dictionary, it is described as a fortified place; a place of security and survival; a place marked by a particular characteristic. If we think about strongholds in relation to our lives, they may look like: addictions, unhealthy choices, polarizing fear and/or anger, shame/guilt, legalism, anxiety, worry, control, etc. Strongholds are the things we surround ourselves with. These are the things we keep going to time after time to justify, excuse, blame shift, protect and self-gratify. In effect, these are the lies we have bought into, believed and continue to live out each day. Instead of building up our faith and trust in God, we have built up strongholds/fortresses of hurtful, negative lies and behaviors.
God’s Word says that we must demolish these strongholds. We must demolish the arguments (reasons, rebuttals, and lies intended to persuade us) and every pretension (allegation of doubtful value, right, or intention) that sets itself up against the truth; the knowledge of God. Next the Bible says that we must take every thought captive (keep within a boundary) to make it obedient (willing to obey) to Christ.
This means that every time a thought of worry, anxiousness, blame, overeating, taking a drug not prescribed to us, watching or buying porn, self-gratification, anger, fear, or memory of a past unhealthy/ungodly relationship comes to our mind, we are to stop them immediately! We have to respond as soon as they come into our mind. If we allow ourselves to continue thinking tempting thoughts or ruminate over ungodly images/thoughts, we will continue to be overwhelmed and intimidated by them. Eventually we will act on them. If we allow that initial tempting thought to linger, even once, it will be very hard for us to turn away from it the next time it pops into our head. That’s exactly what Satan wants!!
Let me be clear at this point, just because an unhealthy or not so great thought pops in your head doesn’t mean that you have already sinned. Thoughts pop into our heads all the time. The world constantly throws things at us. We also have memories that may not be pleasant and are hurtful. It’s what we do next, after the thought occurs, that can become sin or victory. Sin comes into play when we choose to linger and ruminate on the thought, or choose to act out the thought, not in the initial thought itself but in the action following it.
The next time your thoughts wander or old lies/desires begin to fill your mind, try doing the following:
- Stop the thought and pray!
- Write helpful scripture on a 3 X 5 card and quote it out loud over and over. (Phil. 4:6-9, Ps. 119:9-11, Rom. 12:2, Col. 3:15)
- Create a Gratitude list: write down things you are grateful for.
- Call a safe, godly friend, mentor, counselor and talk it out.
- Listen to good music and sing out loud!!
- Find an activity that allows you to expend a lot of energy and do it when the thoughts threaten to gain control.
With God’s help, you can fight strongholds. The victory is in Him!
By Karen Grotler