Showing posts with label Strongholds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Strongholds. Show all posts

Friday, November 5, 2021

Ice Cold Resistance – Stronghold Busting - Purity 568

Ice Cold Resistance – Stronghold Busting -  Purity 568

Purity 568 11/05/2021   Purity 568 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a snowy view from the top of Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington NY comes to us from a friend who decided to hike to the summit yesterday despite the fact that the decreasing temperatures of early November and the conditions at 4800 feet resulted in a significant coating of snow on the fifth highest mountain in the state of New York.  

That’s right folks, even where I am in the northern reaches of the Hudson Valley the temperatures where officially below freezing yesterday for a time and when that happens the possibility of snow is real.   But we can’t live in fear of what might come. Instead we must simply keep on living, prepare for the changing seasons, and deal with the changing circumstances of life as we face them.   

As futile as it may be, we sometimes resist the change of the arrival of colder seasons and snow even though we are generally powerless to affect the weather.  So as irrational as it may be, we can resist change. 

As difficult it as it may to be to accept that we resist change, even changes for the better,  sometimes we can discover that “the change” resists us!

I teach discipleship and spiritual warfare. The two go hand in hand as each term could be a paraphrase for the other as each process involves adopting a Christian worldview and purposely standing on the truth of God’s word regarding what it says about us and the problems we face.     

Before coming to faith in Jesus Christ, we all lived in the world and developed defense mechanisms for dealing with life. Defense mechanisms are really just the way that we tend to behave when we are faced with certain situations that seemingly run automatically but may not always be the “best defense”.  Fighting or fleeing are common defense mechanisms but really anyway we behave repeatedly in situations can be identified as a defense mechanism. 

Filling in the blank to the statement:

“When I get stressed I ___________” 

could help us to see what our defense mechanisms are in regard to stress.  Some defense mechanisms are healthier than others as this fill in the blank statement could have a wide range of responses, including “eat, have a drink, do drugs, or cut myself”.  

One word that the Bible’s uses to describe “defense mechanisms” would be “strongholds” as Paul uses the term to describe the process of spiritual warfare as a way to renew the mind in

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT2)
3  We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.
4  We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
5  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

The NLT makes the idea that we use God’s mighty weapons, such as faith and the word of God, to knock down strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy the false arguments, or worldly ways that contradict God’s wisdom. And we would do this because those “false arguments” or worldly ways of doing things “keeps people from knowing God”, which would include experiencing the peace of His presence and the power and strength He can provide to help us endure and overcome the problems of this life.    

Thus we are to capture these “rebellious thoughts” and “teach them to obey Christ” which refers to recognizing the ways we have been trained to think and behave according to the world system and to challenge those “defense mechanisms”, or strongholds, and to change them to thoughts and behaviors that are consistent with Biblical wisdom for living.   

Our class presented the method of stronghold busting last evening, which is a method of:

·       identifying a lie we have believed, such as “I’m dirty”, “I’m worthless”, “I’m no good”,

·       renouncing it, SUCH AS “I renounce the lie that I am no good!”

·       speaking a truth based on God’s word, “such as: I choose to believe the truth that “I am complete in Christ.”

·       And then reciting a Bible verse or verses that proclaim that spiritual reality, such as

Colossians 2:10 (NLT2) says
10  So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

·       And repeating this process daily for 40 days to thoroughly remove the belief that was based on a lie and to replace it with the truth about who we are in Christ.

Last night when this method was taught, one of the participants of the class reported that they were excited about the prospect of getting rid of some lies that were living with but as soon as they made the decision that “Yes, I’m going to do this and be free of this!” a wave of resistance came flooding in and made them feel sick to their stomach.

I pointed out that this was a spiritual process and while we personally might resist making changes for the better, a response like this one indicated the real possibility of dark spiritual forces acting out to prevent the person from experiencing their freedom from a long establish stronghold.     

I reminded the students of the fact that the demonic forces of darkness seek to steal, kill, and destroy us and that scripture indicates that these forces have the ability to put thoughts into our heads to try to influence us. The classic example is the enemy tempting us to sin where the end result is us saying “why did I do that? Why did I do it when I knew it was wrong?”   While we are personally responsible for the choices we make and the actions we take, we very well may have received demonic encouragements to give in to sin. 

One of the thoughts I tried to expose as a possible source of demonic influence in our thought streams was “I don’t want to”  or “I can’t do that” or “that’s impossible.”  When these thoughts come out in response to our desire to do something good, we have to suspect a sinister form of resistance may be present. 

Ask yourself logically,  “Why would I tell myself to not do something that would help myself or others? Why would I repeatedly choose to stay in a state of suffering that is brought on by my own decisions?”  

While I am not saying that all thoughts of resistance are demonically inspired, I would present the solution to both the demonic influences or the personal decision to stay in bondage to be the same: the renewing of the mind with the word of God and by having faith in God and His ability to deliver you when you cooperate with Him.  

The participant’s experience of getting physically ill at the thought of getting free of a negative belief is highly suspect of demonic influence but instead of screaming for an exorcist I assured them that whether their resistance was the enemy or was just their own fear of change, the stronghold busting method of renouncing the lie and proclaiming the truth of God’s word over themselves personally could be an effective remedy that would lead to increased freedom and peace.


The ice cold realities of dealing with change could include the spiritual forces of darkness. Or it could just be us stuck in our ways.   But the good news is that through our faith in Jesus Christ we have been given authority over the spiritual forces of darkness and we have been given the power to overcome and change whatever negative “defense mechanisms”, or strongholds, that we have been stuck in.  

So keep walking and talking with God.  He wants you to experience life and life more abundantly. When you walk with Him and believe and speak the truth of His word over your life, the spiritual power of the word of God and His presence in you becomes manifest as those lies you have believed about yourself are exposed by His light and are replaced with the truth of what God says about you.

Victory is gained and our freedom is maintained through agreeing with and living by God’s wisdom and ways.  Our harmonious relationship with Him is the means by which we overcome and every time we adopt and apply another truth from the word of God to our lives the more we know the peace and joy that comes from walking in the Spirit.

Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Proverbs 18:12 (NLT2)
12  Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.

Today’s verse reminds us of the consequences of pride and the benefits of humility. 

Haughtiness is the “quality of being arrogantly superior and disdainful”. It means to be prideful, arrogant, conceited, or full of hubris or self-importance. 

Today’s verse tells us that this attitude will lead to destruction, and we can see that as playing out in two ways, on earth and as it is in heaven. 

On earth, nobody is perfect and even the most talented and intelligent of us will make mistakes or be subject to other people’s influences or the effects of time and space.  Even superstars fail occasionally and grow old and decrease in their abilities.   So if we are haughty or prideful, eventually we will suffer because our air of self-importance will be challenged by the world or by our own mortality.  Also our haughtiness could cause discord in the relationships we have in life as few people are drawn to stay in relationships with people who are self-centered.

So there are real life possible negative consequences for a haughty spirit.  But even if you somehow mange to avoid these things, or deny their effects on your self-important life, pride will have eternal consequences that can not be avoided.

Prideful people will not make Christ their Lord and Savior and the consequence to that action is ultimate separation from God and personal destruction in hell.  

So instead we are taught in today’s verse to live in simple humility which means  to have a modest view of our importance or to be humble. 

When we are humble we will recognize our own failings and tend to be compassionate towards our neighbors.  That humble spirit will be recognized and appreciated by others and tends to lead to acceptance into warm personal relationships. 

Beyond having the company of friends and loved ones, humility could also cause us to see our need for a Savior and lead us to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.  So if we live in humility we could be given the great honor of being invited into the kingdom of God as adopted members of the Lord’s royal family. 

So don’t be haughty, live in humility. That’s the way Jesus walked when He was here on earth, and I can’t think of a better example to follow that will help us to avoid destruction and to experience the honor that comes from knowing God personally.       


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

H. How to Bolster Self -Worth After a Broken Relationship

What do you do after you say good-bye? When people fail us, we can temporarily lose the sense of self-worth we gained by having them in our lives. Losing a relationship with a significant person is hurtful to everyone, but it can be devastating for some. The remedy can be found in looking to our true Need-Meeter, to the One who gives us unfailing love...who makes us unquestionably significant... who provides us unshakable security. God Himself is responsible for meeting—and is able to meet—all of our needs for love, for significance, and for security.

"What a person desires is unfailing love." (Proverbs 19:22)

How God Meets Your Need for Love

  • Reject the lie that you are unacceptable or unlovable.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You that when I experience rejection, You offer me love and acceptance."

"He made us accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV).

  • Rejoice in the truth that you are deeply loved.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You for the deep, unconditional love and kindness that You have for me. You love me even when I feel unlovable."

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3).

  • Revel in the reality that God is conforming you to the likeness of His Son.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You that day by day I am becoming more and more like Jesus. Thank You for conforming me into His likeness."

"Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29).

  • Rely on other treasured relationships to reaffirm your value.
    Pray..."Lord, I thank You for giving me dear friends who value me as a person and reaffirm me as one of Your precious children."

"I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you [Timothy] in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy" (2 Timothy 1:3-4).

  • Release all anger, hurt, resentment, and regret to the Lord.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You for taking my anger, hurt, resentment, and regret. I lay it all down at the foot of Your cross."

"But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips" (Colossians 3:8).

  • Resume your social life and regular daily activities. Establish a "new normal."
    Pray..."Lord, thank You for helping me reestablish my social life with those who are dear to me. Help me to receive their love, comfort, and support."

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms" (1 Peter 4:8-10).

How God Meets Your Need for Significance

  • Realize that your identity is in your relationship with the Lord and not in another person.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You that my identity is not based on what others think about me, but that my true identity can be found only in a relationship with You."

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

  • Reflect on the positive things you learned or changes you made as a result of being in the relationship.
    Pray... "Lord, thank You for all the wonderful things I learned as a result of being in my past relationship. Thank You, Lord, for the growth that has taken place in my life."

"I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw" (Proverbs 24:32).

  • Reexamine the strengths and weaknesses of the broken relationship. Learn from any unwise decisions you may have made.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You for the gift of discernment. Help me discern any unwise decisions I made while in my past relationship. Help me to overcome my weaknesses and continue to grow in Your strength.

"The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly" (Proverbs 15:14).

  • Rehearse instances that reflected sound judgment and discernment on your part.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You for the gift of discernment and sound judgment that I know comes from Your Spirit within me."

"My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion" (Proverbs 3:21).

  • Relegate the past to the past and embrace your God-ordained future.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You for helping me leave my past in the past and for preparing me to embrace my future with You and all that You have ordained for me."

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18-19).

How God Meets Your Need for Security

  • Rest in the sovereignty of God over all your plans and relationships.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You for being sovereign in all areas of my life, including my relationships. Your plans for me are firmly set."

"The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations" (Psalm 33:11).

  • Relax in the fact that God's plans and purposes for you cannot be thwarted by the actions of another person.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You that no circumstance and no person, including myself, can derail Your plans and purposes for me."

"I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted" (Job 42:2).

  • Remember that God never allows anything in your life that He does not intend to use for your good.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You that everything I experience in life will be used for my good, even the painful experiences will be used as a testimony to encourage others."

"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

  • Resolve to face your heartache and to work through your grief with the Lord's help.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You for being my Comforter and Counselor when I am faced with heartache and grief."

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).

  • Resist the temptation to withdraw.
    Pray..."Lord, thank You that I was created to be in relationships with others. Help me to seek the fellowship of friends and family even when I am tempted to withdraw."

"An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels" (Proverbs 18:1).

Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.


---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Freedom in Christ Lesson 9 - Renewing the Mind


Freedom in Christ Lesson 9 Podcast

Freedom in Christ Lesson 9: Renewing the Mind  


Focus Verse:

Romans 12:2 (NIV2011)
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will..

Objective: To understand that taking hold of -and living in- your freedom in Christ is not a one-off experience but needs to become a way of life, and to provide you with a strategy to continually renew your mind.

Focus Truth: All of us have mental strongholds, ways of thinking that are not in line with God's truth. Our success in continuing to walk in freedom and grow in maturity depends on the extent to which we continue to renew our minds and train ourselves to distinguish good from evil.


How did you find the steps to freedom in Christ process?  (See the end of Lesson 8 for a copy of the Steps, along with a link to a teaching/walk through of the steps)   

Read aloud the following passages:

Galatians 5:1 (NLT2)
1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Psalm 119:45 (NLT2)
45 I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. 

Ongoing Transformation

We started the course by looking at who you now are: a holy one. We looked at the facts that faith is simply finding out from God's word what is already true and then making a choice to believe it. We then considered the three enemies that try to keep us from knowing the truth - the world, the flesh, and the devil. Finally, if you did business with God during the Steps to Freedom in Christ, you've taken hold of the freedom that Jesus one for you.

You became a brand new creation when you first turned to Jesus. But now the stage is set for you to transform further. When that word is used in the Bible it refers to the process through which a crawly, wormy caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. It doesn't mean change just a little bit - it means a really dramatic change.

How do you think that ongoing transformation happens? What do you need to do to experience it?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2).

Remember, the battle is for our minds. Our minds have been conditioned by the world, influenced by Satan the puppet master behind it. So we've developed a whole host of default beliefs and thought patterns that don't match up with God's word. In other words, they are not actually true.

This dialogue takes place at a 50-year high school reunion:

You were always the pretty one in class, Jane.

You thought I was pretty? You always ignored me!

We weren't ignoring you. We were just too intimidated to speak to you!

I've spent 50 years struggling with low self-esteem because I thought you were ignoring me!

Ha ha! Isn't that silly!

My entire personality has been formed under the wrong information!

Think about it – “My entire personality has been formed around the wrong information! To a greater or lesser extent, that statement is true of every single one of us.

For much of our lives our belief system has been shaped by our enemies. Isn't that sad? In other words, we've all absorbed a whole load of lies and half-truths that really affect us. When we became Christians no one pressed the delete button in our brains.

We still have the same old default programming, those same old thought patterns, or what the Bible calls the flesh.

Taking hold of our freedom is essential, but is not enough. Now, we need to change that default thinking if we want to grow as disciples. We need to replace it with what is actually true. And the key to that is renewing our minds.


We touched briefly in lesson 5 on the concept of a stronghold. Let's look at the only place in the New Testament that the word appears, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

For 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 every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.

In the passage, Paul is clearly talking of something in the area of our thinking. He mentions arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God. He talks about taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.

The literal meaning of the word “stronghold” is a fortress, a strong defensive building. Have you ever seen a medieval castle up close? Not at Disney castle but the real thing. Now those are fortresses - solid rock buildings with few and small windows; surrounded by thicker walls, sometimes layers of wall after wall. The outer walls can be so thick you can drive a car on them! Impressive.

In this context a stronghold is a faulty belief that has been reinforced many times over a long period. It prevents you from knowing God and his ways. It's sitting there in your mind apparently strong and impenetrable, like a thick castle wall.

Perhaps it started out right back in childhood when a little thought was planted in your mind by something that happened to you.  Maybe you were bullied, or worse, or someone said something negative about you: “You are useless,” “You're a failure,” “You're ugly,” “It's all your fault.”

Maybe the enemy lined up someone else at a different time who said or did the same thing. Since he knows your particular vulnerabilities, he ruthlessly tries to exploit them by lining up people or circumstances one after the other to give you the same wrong message.

The world then adds insult to injury with its constant bombardment of lies about what it means to be successful or happy or loved.

As it gets stronger and stronger, it becomes part of our default thinking and works itself out in our behavior. Then, whenever someone suggests we could go for a particular job or lead a small group at church, a tape plays in our mind, “I couldn't do that. I'm useless at that.” We've believed it for so long it becomes part of our lives, and we can't imagine it ever being any different.

A good definition of a strong hold is a belief or habitual pattern of thinking that is not consistent with what God tells us is true.

Feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy are all strongholds. Because no child of God is inferior, insecure, or inadequate.

Is any child of God dirty or ugly? Absolutely not. It isn't true. It just feels true. It's a lie that's been reinforced so many times that it literally has a strong hold on you and causes you to think and act in ways that contradict God's word.

Strongholds can have two faces: when we know what we should do but don't seem able to do it; and when we know we shouldn't do something but don't seem able to stop. So if that's how it feels, we're talking about strongholds getting in the way.

A little later we will introduce you to “stronghold-busting” which is structured way of demolishing a stronghold.

Freedom in Christ’s Nancy Maldonado shares her experience of using it.

We talked about Nancy's desert journey earlier. Her perspective on her circumstances was definitely changing, but as the weeks and months of tears went by her outlook on life continued to be grey- sometimes dark grey. So she asked God to show her what was behind it. And he did. He showed Nancy that her outlook on life, since she was a girl, had always been some shade of gray, sometimes lighter, sometimes darker. And God called it discontent. So Nancy set off with her stronghold-buster, which included Psalm 103:1-5:

Praise the Lord, my soul; All my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crown few with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Day after day Nancy repeated it as soon as she woke up, before getting out of bed. Then again at night. On hard days she repeated it throughout the day. Some days she confesses that it felt phony, “Yeah, right, remember all his benefits.”  Some days it was heartfelt. Nancy stuck with it and after six weeks or so, the grey cloud began to lift. Nancy was finally able to say: “Truly, “He satisfies my desires with good things.” Nancy’s life is now in color!


Pause for Thought 1


To understand to understand the concept of strongholds.


“My entire personality has been formed around the wrong information.” What do you think about the idea that much of our lives, our belief system and how we think have been influenced and shaped by many lies and half-truths said over us?

No child of God is inferior or inadequate. Discuss.

What practical ways can we consider to make us more aware of strongholds, and how they affect our lives?


How Strongholds Are Established

There are three ways that strongholds can be established in our minds:

Our Environment

We have already seen how we learn values and beliefs from the world we live in. It also can work at the micro-level in our home, school, or work environment.

Imagine you were raised in a in the home of an alcoholic and there are three boys in the family. As the father's problem continues to develop, it turns into domestic violence. When their father comes home drunk, the three boys develop different ways of coping. The oldest one feels he can stand up to his dad: “If you lay a hand on me, you'll regret it.” The middle one learns a different way of coping with it: “Hi dad, can I get you something?” The third one runs away and hides in his room.

20 years later, the father is long gone and the three boys are adults. When each of them is confronted with a hostile situation, how do you think they will respond? The chances are the oldest one will fight, the middle one will accommodate, and the youngest one will run away.

We call them strongholds, but psychologist might call them defense mechanisms. They are ways of thinking and acting that have become deeply ingrained in the mind.

Traumatic Experiences

It doesn't necessarily take something to be repeated over a long period of time to set up a stronghold. A one-time powerful traumatic experience can do it because of its intensity: a divorce, a rape, or a death in the home.

For example, if you were abused, you may come to see yourself as a victim: helpless; never able to stand up for yourself. At one time that may have been true but that's not true anymore if you are a child of God.

Remember, it's not the traumatic experience itself that produces the stronghold. It's the lie we believe as a result of that traumatic experience. If one person is violently attacked, they may be able to shrug it off as an isolated incident. But for someone else, it might set up a lie in their mind that all men are dangerous. It's totally understandable but it's not true.

Whatever has happened to you in the past, you can go back to that traumatic event and process it again from the position of who you are now: a holy child of God.

No Christian, no matter how bad their past experiences, has to remain a victim. God doesn't change our past; he sets us free from it!

Giving in To Temptation

Tempting thoughts that are not dealt with immediately lead on to actions. Repeating the action will lead to a habit. Exercising the habit long enough will produce a stronghold.

Saying is actively trying to tempt you into the same sin time and time again, because he wants to set up strongholds in your life so that he can keep you going round in circles feeling hopeless.

The Bible is clear that there is a way out of every temptation.

If you drive a truck across a muddy field, it will create some ruts in the field. If you drive the same way every day over a period of time, The ruts will get deeper and deeper and more noticeable. Eventually they will be so well established that you could let go of the steering wheel and the truck would drive itself.

That's fine as long as the rats are going in the right direction. Strongholds are like ruts that are heading in the wrong direction.

If you don't intentionally change the direction, you are taking your hands off the steering wheel of your life and you are likely to end up somewhere you don't want to go.

The problem with strongholds is that they lead us to act on lies, false information, and cause our feelings to be out of line with reality. You may feel rejection when you are not actually being rejected. You may feel helpless to change when you are not helpless at all. For example, you may feel that you will never get out of a particular sin when in fact you have everything you need to walk away from it. If you live like this there is no way you can become a mature fruitful disciple.

Freedom and Maturity Are Not the Same Thing

The moment you turn to Jesus you are not expected to be instantly mature. When babies are born they drink milk for awhile before they move on to solid food. But if babies keep acting like babies as they get older comma they become less attractive!

Any Christian can become an old Christian, all it takes is time!

Any Christian can become a mature Christian, but many don't because they don't know how to deal with their strongholds.

But every Christian can tear these strongholds down.


Pause for Thought 2

Objective: To help people become aware of strongholds and their own life and to realize that they are based on lies.


Spend some time discussing the ways that strongholds are established. In what ways can you identify with the story of the alcoholic father and his three sons? Can you see any strongholds that have been established in your own life?

Look at this list of common lies that people come to believe about themselves: unloved, rejected, inadequate, hopeless, stupid. For each one, find a Bible verse to show that it cannot be true of any Christian.

No Christian, no matter how bad their past experiences, has to remain a victim. God doesn't change our past; He sets us free from it! Discuss.


Demolishing Strongholds

So how do you deal with these strongholds?

Close Doors Open to the Enemy

In the Steps to Freedom in Christ you have taken away the footholds the enemy had in your life and that's a key reason that you can now demolish strongholds, even those that you may have tried time and time to deal with in the past but failed.

Take Personal Responsibility for the Whole of Your Life

This is not about asking God or someone else to do something in order for us to get free or grow. You already have everything you need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3).

In the way God has set things up, some things are his responsibility, and some things are our responsibility. If we don't do the things that he has given us to do, they simply won't get done.

No one else can forgive for you. And no one else can choose to believe the truth for you.

In the passage we looked at, we fight, we demolish arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against truth, we take captive every thought. No one else can do it for us.

Take Every Thought Captive

Paul tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). You can think of your mind as being like an airport and you are an air traffic controller. A lot of thoughts ask for permission to land. But you have complete control over which will land, and which will be turned away.

We are in a battle between truth and lies. Every stronghold is an entrenched lie. The key to demolishing it is to uncover the lie behind it and then replace the lie with the truth.

Freedom In Christ’s Steve Goss shares this testimony:

When Steve Goss met Rachel, she was the epitome of a Christian who had lost all hope. She was covered in bandages from injuries that she had inflicted on herself. She had difficulty stringing two sentences together because of drug abuse. She had suffered from eating disorders for years. In fact it's a miracle she was alive at all. She had just been thrown out of a psychiatric hospital, a self-harm unit, for a week because she had self-harmed.

A local church took her in and wanted to work through this course and The Steps with her.  At their request Steve was present when she went through The Steps. At the end, her face had completely changed. She had done real business with God, and she broke into a beautiful smile and said I'm free!

What is that the end of the story? Is say, it's a relatively quick straightforward process to take hold of your freedom. But staying free is another question.

Much as Steve encouraged Rachel to do when she went through The Steps, he was keeping an ear open for faulty beliefs, lies that she believed. So at the end, Steve said to her, it's great that you're free. Now it's important to ensure you stay free and to do that it's important to work out what lies you've been believing and take steps to renew your mind. It seems to me that the main thing you need to work on is the lie that you're dirty.”

Rachel's big smile instantly vanished, and she looked at Steve in anger and said, “That's not right at all!” “Oh” Steve said, “It's just that you seem to have mentioned feeling dirty a lot, especially in the forgiveness step.” “Yes.” Rachel admitted, “I am dirty it's not a lie!”

Past abuse had taught Rachel to see herself and her body as dirty. Her subsequent anorexia, self-harm, and addictions were simply ways she used to try to cope with, blot out, those negative feelings.

Although by going through The Steps process she had kicked the enemy out of her life and was free, if she had been left at that point still believing the lie that she was dirty what would have happened? She would almost certainly have spiraled back down into her former coping mechanisms because the pain of feeling dirty would still be there.

Steve got her to have a look at some verses in the Bible, verses such as John 15:3: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” And 1 Corinthians 6:11: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Then Steve said to Rachel, “So what are you going to choose to believe, what your past experiences are telling you or what God says about you?” She was quiet for a time and then she said, “I suppose, what God says.”

Steve then taught Rachel a tool we call stronghold busting, a way to renew your mind. We will teach the same process to you in a minute but first let me tell you the end of Rachel story. The next time they saw her at the hospital was a couple of months later when she walked in dressed in her nurses’ uniform having been able to resume the career she had to give up. She said “Hi!” and she looked so different, they had no idea who she was. She had been transformed through the renewing of her mind.

Be Transformed Through the Renewing of You Mind

So, what is stronghold busting?

First of all, you need to determine the lie you have been believing, any way you are thinking that is not in line with what God says about you in the Bible. In doing this, ignore what you feel but commit yourself wholeheartedly to God’s truth.

It's helpful at this point to write down what effect believing the lie has had in your life. For Rachel, it led her to feeling bad about herself and then into anorexia and various addictions. Realizing the negative effects should spur us on to tear the stronghold down.

Then, find as many Bible verses as you can that state the truth and write them down. A good Bible app, or helpful pastor, will come in useful. If there are a lot of verses, pick the top seven or eight.

Write a declaration based on the formula:

I renounce the lie that...

I announce the truth that...

So Rachel would have said something like, “I renounce the lie that I am dirty. I announce the truth that I have been washed clean by Jesus, that I am a holy one.”

Finally, read the Bible verses and say the declaration out loud every day for 40 days, all the time reminding yourself that God is truth and that if He has said it, it really is true for you.

Why 40 days? Psychologists tell us that it takes around six weeks to form or break a habit. Once you have dealt with any footholds of the enemy, a stronghold is simply a habitual way of thinking. Can you break a habit? Of course. But it takes some effort over a period of time.

Don't treat this as some kind of magic however! It's not the speaking out that will change you, and there's not some special formula that works for everyone. Don't get all religious either, if you miss a day or two, God still loves you! Just pick it up the next day and carry on.

Do persevere until you have completed a total of 40 days. In fact you may wish to go on longer and you will almost certainly want to come back and do it again at some point in the future.

It may sound easy but it's not because the lie feels true to you. It's like watching a concrete wall being demolished. It withstands 10, then 15, then 30, then 35 blows with no visible sign of being weakened. That's how it can feel as you work through a stronghold-buster day after day. However, every day you renounced the lie and commit yourself to truth is making a difference.

A wall might appear not to have been weakened right up to, say, 37 swings of a demolition ball. However, sooner or later, say on the 38th swing, a few small cracks will appear. On the next these cracks will get bigger until, finally, the wall completely collapses. Even though only the final three swings appear to have had an effect, without the previous 37, the wall would not have fallen.

There are some examples of completed stronghold-busters in your participants guide. One of them is on comfort eating, another is on being drawn into Internet porn. They are meant to help you get the idea, but if those issues are live ones for you it's much more effective if you work out your own stronghold-buster from scratch rather than taking a ready-made one.

Commit For the Long Term

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things (Philippians 3:13-15).

We need to take a long-term view. If we feel we have to do everything at once we are likely to start but not finish, to burnout and conclude that we have failed. If, however, we set out a long-term plan, we can deal with one area at a time and make sure that we really have changed our thinking before moving on. In a year we could deal with eight or nine areas, and that would make a tremendous difference.

Every single one of us can leave here today knowing that absolutely nothing and no one can stop us becoming the people God wants us to be and accomplishing amazing things for Him. As long as we play our part and use the weapons He has already put in our hands.



Objective: To start work on a stronghold-buster.

Have you become aware of lies that you are prone to believe? What is the most significant one?

Use this time to create or start to create your very own stronghold-buster so that you can go on to demolish it. Use the guidelines on page 155 of your participant’s guide and take note of the sample stronghold-busters on pages 159-161. There is a space to create your own stronghold-busters on pages 162-167.


Witness: Write down the two most important things you have learned in this course so far. How do you think you could explain them to a not-yet Christian?

In the Coming Week: Complete your stronghold-buster for the most significant lie you have uncovered and start going through it. You could use the Strong Hold Buster Builder on the app to create it and to alert you every day to go through it.