Building and breaking strongholds

chess-140340_640Psalm 48:3: God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold. (NASB)

A stronghold is an impregnable structure built to keep the enemy out. It works two ways, depending on whose side you are on. You can have positive stronghold in your life that keeps the enemy out, or you may need to break the negative stronghold the enemy is using to keep you out of his territory or your rightful territory.

There are two things you can do with a stronghold: you can build it when it is to your advantage to do that, or break it down when it is keeping you from getting to your inheritance.

Building strongholds

We need to be positively active about building strongholds in our life, which can be in two ways. Knowledge and faith are the two strongholds you should build, and one feeds on the other. Paul said that we should be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, which respectively correspond to knowledge and faith (Ephesians 6:10).

Stronghold of knowledge

It was because Jesus had the stronghold of knowledge in him that he was able to stand against the enemy when he came against him with the flood of a threefold temptation (Luke 4:1-13). The Bible said that wisdom and knowledge is the stability of our times (Isaiah 33:6).

The stronghold of knowledge is linked to reading. But true knowledge is beyond what is read, there need to be spiritual enlightenment.

Paul prayed for the eye of our understanding to be enlightenment (Ephesians 1:15-19). Another man wrote that God should open his eyes to behold wondrous things out of his law (Psalm 119:18). Paul did not claim that his knowledge of the truth was because he was well read, he said God was pleased to reveal his Son in him (Galatian 1:11-16). He said that the reason he is able to write is because of the grace that God has given to him. He had the mission of building stronghold of knowledge in the people he ministered to.

Stronghold of faith

Paul said that he does not want the faith of the people to be based on the wisdom of men but the power of God, which means another stronghold he wants to build in the people is faith (1Corinthians 2:1-5).

The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). The word of God in Psalm 91 is about what it means to have the stronghold of protection. The Bible says the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run into it and they are saved (Proverbs 18:10). There is a stronghold of provision, with Paul declaring to the Philippians that his God shall supply all their needs (Philippians 4:19).

The stronghold of faith is focused on healing, provision, and protection. John said to Gaius: I pray that you prosper and be in health as your soul prospers (3John 1:2). And the Bible says that money is a defence and wisdom is a defence (Ecclesiastes 7:12), which corresponds to the two kings of strongholds we should build- faith (which leads to provision) and knowledge (which leads to wisdom).

When David confronted Goliath, he moved in a strong flow of faith. The odds could not be more stacked against him (1Samuel 17). But he did not notice that as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. He built his stronghold of faith with the experiences he had with God in the secret place, and was able to destroy the stronghold of Goliath who was an existential threat to the nation of Israel.

Jude wrote of the need for us to build up (as in a stronghold) ourselves upon our most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20).

The stronghold of faith is linked to prayer. So if you want to build a stronghold of faith you are to take the route of prayer. Elijah was a man who walked in great faith, calling down fire from heaven, raising the dead, going to heaven in a chariot of fire. And he was a man of prayer.

When certain people wanted to arrest him, he activated his stronghold of faith and called down fire to consume the people. They were gone, and he stood. The stronghold of faith made him safe while others were consumed (2Kings 1:1-16).

Without faith, it is impossible to please God because those who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. That is partly about prayer (Hebrews 11:6).

Breaking strongholds

Jesus came to break the strongholds of the devil and has sent you to do the same. Just as there are two ways to look at the strongholds to be built, we also need to see the strongholds that need to be torn down in two ways: “sin which leads to sickness,” and “lies which leads to darkness.”

Sin and sickness

When Jesus came it was to destroy the works of the devil, which was specifically identified sin (1John 3:8). But we know that sickness is an expression of sin. Jesus healed a man and told him, go and sin no more lest something worse come upon you. So by dealing with sin Jesus dealt with sickness.

He told some people to go and sin no more. And that is not an advice, it was empowerment, it was breaking the stronghold of sin. If the stronghold of sin can be broken then we are well on our way to fullness of life in Jesus.

The enemy has come to steal kill and steal and the foundation of that is sin, but Jesus has come to give us life and abundance life and the foundation is righteousness, for us to reign in life (John 10:10, Romans 5:17). Jesus bore our sickness and carried away our sickness. He removed that burden from us freeing us to be all we can be in God.

Lies and darkness

While we need to replace the stronghold sin and sickness with the stronghold of faith, the stronghold of knowledge replaces lies in our lives. The Holy Spirit is the one who is the spirit of counsel, understanding and knowledge (Isaiah 11:1-3). And Jesus unleashed him to work in the life of people.

Paul wrote about the light of the gospel shining in our heart (2Corinthians 4:6). And Jesus said we should go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation to them to gain salvation to lead us into truth and light.

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