In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV) we read, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (NKJV). Now before we talk about how to pull down strongholds (spiritual strongholds) we need to answer the following questions:
What are the weapons we fight with? Well, we know they are not of the world, and they are divinely powerful (v. 4). All those pieces of armor we talked about earlier, though they were discussed as being mainly for defense, can also be used as offensive weapons. And we have many other weapons too, such as obedience, humility, joy, love, and of course prayer. And all of these come from God. In fact, we could say that God is our weapon against sin and all the forces of evil. For example, if we have love, if we have faith, if we have prayer that we use to battle with, they all are of God. We have no love in ourselves, no faith in ourselves, and we cannot pray by ourselves. We can do nothing of ourselves, not even seek God. He seeks us out and draws us to Him. Then He puts love and faith and prayer into us. We battle by the power of God alone. All the weapons He gives us, we could say, are instruments to channel His power through us.
What is a spiritual stronghold? The word “stronghold” (achurooma), in 2 Corinthians 10:4 (as it is translated in the NIV), could also be rendered as a strong fortification. And from verse 5 we must conclude that “arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (NIV) is what is housed in and really is what makes up this fortification. Hence, a stronghold (a spiritual stronghold) is a place in the mind where there is an accumulation of thoughts that seem to give a good reason to sin. It is an accumulation of arguments for evil. This place in the mind is a place of moral darkness where demons like to go and where they feel comfortable and protected—because wherever sin is harbored that is where demons dwell.
How do we recognize a spiritual stronghold? That is, how do we know if we have a stronghold? Is every sin a stronghold? Well, I would say, to the degree that you harbor sin and habitually sin, to that degree you have a stronghold. If you are not willing to let go of a sin, then yes, you have a stronghold. And I am of the opinion that if you have a sinful habit you also have demons in your life—because demons like to go where sin is harbored.
But, basically, you know that a person has a stronghold in his mind when lies become truth to him. And, when that stronghold is extra strong, that person will profusely argue against the truth. For instance, when people argue and say there is nothing wrong with abortion, or homosexuality, or adultery, or lust, or the occult, then you know those people have strongholds because we know those things are wrong. They have believed a lie. Here then are…
Five Ways to Pull Down Strongholds
1. Submit to God in humility. If you are praying for a friend, ask God to humble him. If you have contact with your friend, counsel him to submit to God. Humility is the weapon used against pride. We need to break down pride first because it is the sin that protects and holds together all the strongholds. Thus, when pride is removed Satan will flee (Ja. 4:7), and the strongholds are weakened.
2. After pride is removed—which could be considered as a stronghold in itself—ask God to expose all other strongholds. Make a list of each one as God reveals them to you.
3. Repent of all sin that makes up each stronghold and determine not to think that way any longer.
4. Replace every lie with truth; and for every lie memorize a verse of truth. For example, for the lie, which says, “I am a failure, I can do nothing right”—memorize Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
5. Build strongholds of truth. Don’t be satisfied with memorizing just a few verses. Build huge strongholds of truth by memorizing many verses. Try to memorize at least three verses for every lie. The more verses you have committed to memory the better your defense will be against Satan.