Tearing Down Strongholds

The Lord recently taught me a lesson about the importance of tearing down strongholds

I have been struggling with one of my kiddos. She is so incredibly smart, and also very strong-willed. Which I know are strengths the Lord has given her. However, teaching and training these kinds of personalities can be very challenging. I’m struggling to know how to effectively teach her the importance of maintaining the right attitude while also being respectful of her dad and me.

Lately, the Lord has been leading me to consider how my thoughts are shaping my perception of her behavior. If I’m approaching each day and each encounter with my daughter with this subtle thought that she has a bad attitude, is that thought itself causing me to have an incorrect perception of reality? Is that thought causing me to perceive a bad attitude that may not actually be there? 

Am I believing something that is not true? 

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When we consider pulling down spiritual strongholds, there are some other questions that may arise in our minds…

  • What does the Bible say about tearing down strongholds?
  • How do we demolish strongholds?
  • How do you pray for strongholds to be broken?

Let’s dig into these questions a bit deeper.

What Does the Bible Say About Tearing Down Strongholds?

It’s important for us to identify and demolish strongholds because, like my daughter and I, they directly affect our relationships.

One of my favorite verses about tearing down strongholds is found in 2 Corinthians.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

There are a few different things that we learn about strongholds from this verse:

  • Our battle is spiritual, not against flesh and blood
  • We use divine weapons
  • Our battle is against any thought, idea, or patterns of thinking that goes against God’s Truth
  • We need to take these thoughts (lies) captive

How Do We Demolish Strongholds?

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In order for us to destroy strongholds, we need to understand what they are, where they come from, and how to effectively battle against them.

As we saw in the verses above from 2 Corinthians 10, a stronghold is any thought, idea, or pattern of thinking that goes against God’s Truth.

So much of the division we see in the world today is because of these battles of ideas. There are a lot of lies being believed. 

Lies about what is right and wrong. Wrong thoughts about who God is and our need for Him. 

These lies are what keep our minds captive and limit our ability to see the light of the Truth.

However, there are some specific strategies we can use for identifying and tearing down these strongholds.

Know Your Bible

In order to identify a lie, we must know the truth. As believers, our ultimate source of truth is the Word of God. If we do not know what God’s Word says we are not properly equipped to identify the strongholds in our minds and within the culture around us.

Know Your Spiritual Enemy

Many of these strongholds come from our spiritual enemy, Satan. It’s important that we understand who he is and understand his strategies against us.

Satan is a Liar

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44 NASB

Statan’s tactic is deception. His ultimate goal is to blind the minds of people of the world through these strongholds of lies. 

in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they will not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

Satan is a Thief

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy – John 10:10

Not only is Satan a liar, but he is also a thief. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy the abundant life that Christ died to give us. I love the way Priscilla Shirer explains the enemy and his tactics in her “Armor of God” study:

“What he (Satan) wants is to lead you into sin so that fellowship is broken between you and God – between you and the One who provides your true power and strength… So don’t believe for one second that the false ideologies of the culture have been developed by chance… The discord and disharmony that threaten your most valuable relationships are not coincidental… They are his deceptive tactics, specifically designed and personalized to keep you from experiencing abundant life.” – Priscilla Shirer, Armor of God

Know Your Identity in Christ

Because Satan is infamously known for causing havoc in our lives, it’s important that we understand our identity in Christ. Satan wants us to forget that we have been given as children of God. 

  • We have been given victory over the enemy
  • We are blessed with every spiritual blessing
  • We have an eternal inheritance that will never spoil or fade

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace … – Ephesians 1:3-7

Use Spiritual Weapons for Tearing Down Strongholds

We must remember that the battle is in the spiritual realm. We do not war according to the flesh. Therefore, all of our own resources and strategies will not be useful or effective. We must use spiritual weapons to fight in a spiritual battle.

4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. – 2 Corinthians 10:4

Thankfully, in Christ, we have been given all the ammunition we need for victory!

What has divine power to demolish strongholds? 

Divine Weapon of God’s Truth

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32 

It is God’s truth that sets us free. We will walk in freedom from strongholds as we continue in His Word; which we do by studying the scriptures and reading the Bible every day. Then, walking in faithful obedience to what it says.

Ephesians 6 tells us that the Word of God is our spiritual sword.

the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

Truth is the weapon we see Jesus using in the wilderness in His battle against Satan. You can read more about that, but basically, we see Satan tempting Jesus, then Jesus using different Bible verses to resist him.

Divine Weapon of Praise and Thanksgiving

Remember, the battle happens within our minds. 

Paul reminds the church in Philippi to be careful with their thoughts.

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8-9

Why are praise-full thoughts so important?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Praise and thanksgiving are the spiritual keys to peace. This peace is what guards our thoughts. 

Gratitude fortifies our minds against the attacks of the enemy.

How to Pray for Strongholds to Be Broken

Tearing Down Strongholds

Finally, we come to the spiritual weapon of prayer. Prayer is our direct line of communication with our Father in heaven. It is our passage into the spiritual realm where we can access the resources of heaven.

Pulling Down Strongholds Prayer Points

Here are some ways we can be praying against strongholds. These are prayer points we can be praying for all men, including ourselves. 

First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made in behalf of all people, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Pray Against Satan

Let’s look at this verse in 2 Corinthians again.

in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they will not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

Pray that the enemy will not be effective in his attempts to inflict his spiritual blindness. 

Pray for Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is busy working among believers and unbelievers. 

And He, when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgment. – John 16:8

His role in the world is to convict sinners of their need for a savior.

He also lives within each of God’s children, helping them walk in a way that is pleasing to God.

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take from Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; this is why I said that He takes from Mine and will disclose it to you. – John 16:13-15

We need to pray for increased sensitivity to the work of the Holy Spirit.

Pray for the Gospel to Go Forth

The gospel, the work of Christ on the cross, is the power of God for salvation. Pray that the gospel would effectively spread throughout the earth.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: “But the righteous one will live by faith.” – Romans 1:16-17

Pray Using Scripture

As we have already seen, God’s Word is a powerful weapon for tearing down strongholds. Therefore, praying scripture is a powerful way to pray and fight against the enemy.

So, back to me and my daughter.

What the Lord has told me is that I need to start slowing down my responses. I need to take a moment before I correct or discipline her to pray and objectively evaluate her behavior. Then, consider if the problem really is her attitude, or if it’s my incorrect perception.

If the problem is me, then I need to take some time to capture and readjust my thoughts.

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