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STRONGHOLDS

HOW TO BREAK FREE!

At the bottom of the next page is a special prayer that you can use to break strongholds. The prayer is only a form and you can use it or use your own words. It's always best to speak from your heart with God. Let's stomp the devils head!!! The link is at the bottom of this page.

"For though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, 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." (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

One of the most successful tactics Satan uses against the Christian is to build strongholds in his life. No aspect of our spiritual warfare is more important than learning how to recognize and destroy them for as long as they exist they will cause frustration, hinder spiritual growth, and cause defeat in our spiritual lives. Satan's objective is to deceive us and cause us to become so blind that we cannot see that they are there. . .or become so discouraged with trying to overcome them that we give up and fall away from God, thinking, "It's no use. . .I'm just a failure at being a Christian!"

Sin originates in the Christian and not in the spirit, for the Spirit of God dwells there and cannot sin (2 Pet. 1:4). Paul teaches that within us is a force or principle that operates in both the soul and body - the "law of sin in the members" (Rev. 7:23), -- which urges us to ignore the influence of our reborn spirit, which is one with Christ. Strongholds, described in 2 Cor. 10:3-5, are patterns of thinking and feeling that are part of our old sin nature inherited from Adam, patterns of rebellion and self-centeredness beginning at birth which Satan has had time to develop in us before we came to Christ. Eph. 2: 1-3 describes them: "Among whom also we all had our manner of life in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath. . . Even though we became "new creatures in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:17), the "old sin nature" is still in us, and we are still open to the influences of the flesh and the patterns that existed before we were born again.

DESCRIPTION OF A STRONGHOLD: Something that has a "strong hold" over a person. . .something that holds you strongly. You have no control over it and cannot seem to stop doing it!

HOW A STRONGHOLD BEGINS: Satan looks for the believer's weaknesses to use as ammunition against him. He locates a vulnerable area of your life (a difficult life situation, a character weakness, or a past failure) and concentrates on that area, shooting the "fiery darts" of his temptations. If you disobey and repent, God forgives and restores, according to His promise of I John 1:9. If you disobey and continue to sin, Satan interprets that as an invitation to continue his activities. . .and a pattern begins, as Satan is able to dominate your mind and body more and more.
STRONGHOLDS BEGIN WITH REBELLION
A stronghold begins when we give Satan permission to enter our lives through disobedience ..we permit him to have control. As the "god of this world" he has the legal right to influence and harass us, if we open the door to him. and remember this important fact: GOD WILL. GRANT SATAN'S PETITION. IF NO ONE CONTESTS IT! If no believer (having Christ's authority over Satan) contests Satan's legal claim God will grant Satan's request! Why? Because God will not overrule a person's will, even if he chooses to disobey. 'That's why it is important to not only know who we are in Christ. . . Our rights and privileges. . .but that we use our authority against Satan! As "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ" we have more right to Petition God than Satan does! That's why it is important to intercede in prayer for others, to "stand in the gap" for loved ones who are blinded by strongholds and can't recognize them or get free. As believers, we can take authority over the enemy, using the authority of Jesus name, and pray for them and contest Satan's influence. (YOU MAY BE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIVES) When we don't confront Satan by using our spiritual authority and weapons to destroy strongholds, Satan will continue to "steal, kill, and destroy" (John 10: 10).

EXAMPLES OF STRONGHOLDS: Eph. 4:22-23 lists some: lying, stealing, corrupt communication, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamors, slander and malice. Other obvious examples of sinful activity that can become strongholds are unforgiveness, bitterness, grief, disappointment, addictions, feelings of rejection, negative self-image, depression, illicit sexual activity and occult involvement. Some grief is nessessary to help heal the Spirit sometimes but trust in God will make that go away. Other than that, grief and depression is like saying that you don't trust God. Like a vine that is not pulled out at the root will choke out the life of a healthy bush, sin not cut out at the root will take over and control. . . and will choke out the life of the believer. As Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 10:3-5, we must "pull down strongholds" and destroy them!

HOW TO RECOGNIZE STRONGHOLDS: Strongholds can differ greatly from each other, but certain characteristics are common:
1) Strongholds are stubborn -- They seem impossible to break. They cannot be broken down through religious activity nor through our own strength (they will soon reappear).
2) Strongholds are irrational -- They don't make sense. An offensive habit can become addictive, ruin your health, make your life miserable, and can even shorten your life.
3) Strongholds are uncontrollable -- A pattern of behavior can become a habit and you cannot stop doing it -- feelings of depression, out of control temper, lying, compulsive eating, reading pornography, watching too much TV, etc.
4) Strongholds are counter productive -- Something we do or use that we think will help us feel better (to relieve stress, to help us sleep) can soon become addictive and may even bring death. A thing Satan tempts to use to cope with or cure our problems will only produce more frustration. Jesus Christ is the only Deliverer!

We can recognize that a stronghold exists in a believer when we see RECURRING HOSTILE THOUGHTS, FEELINGS or BEHAVIOR PATTERNS OR HABITS. If a believer uses deceit, intimidation and manipulation to always get his way, he may be controlled by strongholds. If someone has the habit of lashing out violently or uncontrollably when he becomes angry. . .or always turns his anger inward and allows bitterness to control or consume his life, there may be a stronghold present. People are usually aware of their wrong behavior and often try to deal with their hostility through substance abuse...or allow it to continue so long that it will produce physical illness.

SPIRITS AND STRONGHOLDS -- ARE THEY THE SAME? No. A stronghold is an area of weakness that Satan attacks when we open the door to allow him entry through disobedience. Once we open the door, Satan and his spirits begin to control through the stronghold. The spirit is the energizing force behind the stronghold. The stronghold is the symptom. . .the spirit is the root the problem. (Example: An addiction is a stronghold that becomes controlled by a SPIRIT OF BONDAGE. Self-righteousness is a stronghold controlled by a SPIRIT OF PRIDE. Phobias are controlled by a SPIRIT OF FEAR.)

HOW TO OVERCOME STRONGHOLDS): Satan uses strongholds in our lives to trap us and to render us powerless in our spiritual warfare with him. But God has not left us defenseless against the Forces of darkness. There are some things we can do to overcome his oppression:
1. Identify the specific behavior patterns that are keeping you in bondage. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any area you are not aware of. Pray for His help to discern them.
2. Study God's Word to discover how He will direct you to overcome the devil. Jas. 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." 2 Cor. 10:3-5 says that we are to use "the weapons of our warfare" to "cast down imaginations" and "every high thing" and that we are to bring into captivity "every thought" to obey Christ. Satan's warfare against us begins in the mind! Imaginations are the reasonings, speculations and rationalizations of our human intellect. Intellectual and psychological weapons are not effective when dealing with strongholds. We must use God's supernatural, spiritual power to overcome Satan! We must use the spiritual weapon of the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Eph. 6: 17) to "cast down imaginations"-- to eliminate the wrong thoughts that Satan places in our minds! Replace Satan's lies with God's truth -- and "bring every thought into the captivity of Christ"-- (We make every thought obey Christ and His Word!) Remember, every thought we have is not from God. Guard your thoughts! If a thought contradicts God's Word, it is not from God. Defeat Satan with the scriptures, just as Jesus did in the wilderness.
3. Confess and repent of any sins the Holy Spirit reveals and receive God's forgiveness (I John 1:9).
4. Choose to forgive anyone who has wronged or wounded you. Forgive yourself. . .and If you have anger toward God, release it and commit yourself to trusting Him in every area of your life.
5. Renounce any sin that has controlled you and close the door in any area where the enemy has gained entry. Eph. 4:27: "Neither give place to the devil." (Don't give Satan any opportunity to work)
6. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you break the behavior and thought patterns you've practiced and renew your mind and replace those patterns with new, scriptural thoughts and patterns (Phil. 4:7-9).
7. Yield to the Holy Spirit-- and allow Him to conform you into the image of Jesus Christ each day (Rom. 8:29).
One of the most important things to remember -- the essence of spiritual warfare is "BINDING AND LOOSING" according to Matt. 16:19 Jesus said, "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven." Keys are the symbol of authority and in giving Peter the "keys of the kingdom of Heaven" He was giving His church His own authority. God's Word gives us the power to understand the authority that Jesus has given us -- when we pray in His name. . .and stand against the devil. We can bind the enemy in our lives in the Name of Jesus. . .and loose the Power of the Holy Spirit. When we "loose" we release or invite the Holy Spirit to pour His power into us so that we can be overcomers.

BIND THE STRONGMAN! "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house" (Matt. 16: 19; Mk. 3:27). Jesus called the demonic presence a "strongman." The strongman must first be bound. You must eliminate the SOURCE -- the root (strongman -- spirit) who is energizing the activity (stronghold) -- or he will keep coming back to harass you! (Like the vine -- the root must be pulled out or the vine will continue to grow and choke out the life of the bush!) Jesus has given us the authority of His name and the weapons of warfare to use to address the spirits that control us through strongholds and bind his power.

We can have confidence in God's Word that Satan will obey. He must obey! Lesser authority must submit to higher authority!! For "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

SATAN AND HIS STRONGHOLDS
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