The word stronghold is a military term used to help us perceive the unseen battle of thought that wars over us. When it comes to war, there is a common military strategy that is often utilized to overthrow the enemy. It involves setting up key strongholds where further advancement can be achieved.
When one country wars against another, the strategy is not instant overthrow, for that rarely happens immediately. The line of attack often involves seeking out weak and vulnerable locations, which if taken over, become key leveraging points to weaken the opposition further. The key to defeating an enemy is finding strategic places that you can get a foothold into, by which you can find more areas to advance your presence and influence.
The weapons of God have the mighty ability to tear down the strongholds of the enemy. (2 Corinthians 10:4)
When a country establishes a military stronghold in a small town, has the entire nation been taken over? Of course not. But the enemy’s military now has a presence of influence in a small region where more of the nation can be weakened and compromised. The same process occurs with our spiritual enemy. Are they taking over our whole life? Probably not. But a spiritual presence of influence has been established in certain areas. His mission is to weaken, limit and sabotage our spiritual potential through the subtle propagation of thoughts that counterfeit God’s truth.
Spiritually speaking, strongholds are specific thoughts and reasonings that go against the knowledge of God, which have been given access into our thinking. Strongholds are ways of thinking that come from our spiritual enemy. When these strongholds become established, they give the enemy a foothold of influence. A person may be able to function “normally” in other areas of their life, but in a specific area where a stronghold exists, they come under the power of a realm of thought that is not of God. From this place is where we can often see the limitations of our life unfold.
Strongholds can be compared to files on a computer hard drive that have been corrupted. When the computer accesses other files on the hard drive, everything works fine and in order. Yet when a corrupted file on a “partition” of the drive is pulled up, the computer malfunctions in some way. Over time, if this issue is not addressed, it will affect the overall performance of the machine and can even cause the problem to get worse.
Often, unless the whole hard drive undergoes some reformatting and reprogramming, the machine will continue to malfunction. The same holds true for our spiritual life. There are areas of thought in our lives that line up with God’s Word and what He thinks about us. Yet there are also realms of corrupted thought that need to be addressed and reformatted.
When the enemy establishes a stronghold, he seeks to build upon the initial deception and terrorize a person further. There are many examples of counterfeit thoughts. Satan’s army can start establishing a stronghold of bitterness by training a person in thought to become resentful and unforgiving. It starts very subtly, with an intention of building momentum with the passing of time.
As this stronghold of bitterness goes unaddressed, it becomes more ingrained, it builds in size and its effect increases. Soon, everything becomes deeply affected by this toxic stronghold that keeps the person from walking in grace, love and forgiveness. In the long haul, relationships and even the person’s health can become susceptible to damage. As resentment and rage increase, another stronghold of anger, wrath and rage comes forth as the bitterness seeks for expression. The enemy will not relent until the person’s entire life has been polluted by this poisonous way of thinking.
All the more reason we as believers need to be armed and watch over our thoughts with tenacity and sobriety.