"For the weapons of our warfare are not those of the flesh. Instead, they have the power of God to demolish fortresses. We tear down arguments
and every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive in order to obey Christ.
We are ready to punish every act of disobedience when your obedience is complete." (2 Cor 10:4-6)
This is what is meant by a stronghold in the biblical sense. These verses talk about our weapons not being of this world. We don’t wage war with weapons and strategies that those of the world do. The word used here is στρατεία [strateia] used of a military campaign. When we deal with strongholds of human reasoning and false arguments and proud obstacles we need to fight with the right weapons and strategies. We don’t battle against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12) but against principalities and powers and wicked in high places.
“Strongholds” (ὀχύρωμα ochurōma) means properly a fortress or strong fortification. But is also used to denote the various obstacles, reasonings or human willfulness which are designed and adapted to oppose God's truth. Our strongholds are fortified by long indulgence and by the strong hold which they have on our souls. Christ's truth goes forth against all the combined and concentrated powers of resistance of the whole world; and the warfare is to be waged against every strongly fortified place of error and of sin. Arguments refers to the philosophies of man in general which oppose His truth but also the reasoning we personally come up with to substitute for truth or to mask our true situation. Imaginations or false arguments that we use to convince ourselves that we are not sinning or that our life is fine and we don't have a problem. Our pretentions and self deception is also included.
High thing, ὕψωμα [hupsōma] or as the NLT and ISV translate as 'proud obstacle' is literally an elevated place or high place. It brings to mind the "high places" the Israelites constructed in the Old Testament. When the Israelites held to their exalted opinions, the pride of their hearts was manifested. All this is opposed to the knowledge of God, and all exalts itself into a vain self-confidence. In doing so they set up idols in high places. When idols or pretentions are allowed within us they eventually become manifest on the outside too. The “high thing or place” is not high because of its height but because that thing has been made high, made to supercede the glory of Christ.
In the same way ancient Israel struggled with the "high places" they themselves had built and those same high places became a trap for them, we too build traps for ourselves. Then when we want out, we look for quick fixes. There are no quick fixes, escape buttons or ejector seats to release you from sin instantly. It has been said that the time it took us to build a stronghold is proportional to the time it will take us to get victory from it. We live in an world where we want things instantly. No waiting, fast food, instantly responses, no down time. We get frustrated if our downloading time is a minute or two. Hence we look for immediate and instant ways to get free from the sin that so easily besets us. Go to someone to pray for us and bring instant deliverance, but if we have dabbled in that thing for years it will take a proportionate time to break free. It is case of renewing our mind not finding instant fixes. You can't build a stronghold willingly for years and expect to be free of it with one quick "spiritual warfare" prayer.
The high places take time to dismantle. Ask anyone from ancient Israel, but it may be hard to find someone. Don’t misintepret what I am saying. I am not summarily dismissing prayers for inner healing and dealing with the past. They are very helpful but you are going to have to fight to regain the ground you have yielded to the enemy too. You have to re-programme your mind and your automatic responses as well. Your patterns and your ways of thinking have to change in order to bring about effective deliverance. The Holy Spirit will do His part but you have to do yours too. You can't ask for spiritual deliverance and then willingly slip back into your old ways of thinking and responding. Be prepared for battle, the true spiritual warfare.
John MacArthur has some interesting things to say on this matter. I will let him have the last word and say it in his own words.
"Our enemies are demonic, but the warfare against them isn’t waged by commanding them, mapping their physical location, invoking magic words to subdue them, claiming authority over them, or any of the other common tactics some people usually refer to as “spiritual warfare.” We are not fighting demons in a face-to-face confrontation, or by spirit-to-spirit conversation, or with voice-to-voice communication.
We attack them by tearing down their fortresses of lies… What, precisely, are our weapons? The only power that will destroy such things is the power of truth…“the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
You can’t fight spiritual warfare with magic phrases and secret words or shouting at demons. I don’t have anything to say to a demon anyway. I’m not interested in talking to them. Let the Lord do that (Jude 9).
But I have a lot to say to people who have barricaded themselves in fortresses of demonic lies. Spiritual warfare is all about demolishing evil lies with the truth."
I have given you a series of Spiritual warfare quotes with this Gemz because they are good and because I got no responses yesterday to the "strongholds" thoughts so I will move on tomorrow. I have told you I will be guided by your responses as to how long I spend on topics. You can respond via Twitter, Face Book or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I didn’t want you to miss out on some good quotes so here they are.
One thought becomes a consideration which develops into an attitude, which leads then to action. An action repeated becomes a habit which establishes a “power base for the enemy,” that is, a stronghold. Elisabeth Elliot
The story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it. John Eldredge
The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. D.L. Moody
When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy. Corrie ten Boom
You can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it. If the Word of God does not abide in us, we will reach for it in vain when the enemy strikes. John Piper
Avoid paying the high cost of low living. Joyce Meyer