By Carlos "Chuck" Spencer
My theme today is extremely important because it is relevant to all of us, and indicates how we can rely upon our relationship with God to overcome the evil intentions of Satan.
Strongholds are inaccurate thinking patterns in our minds that are programmed to operate outside of the truth. For example, a shameful or guilty feeling based upon our past; we might feel “dirty” because of something we have done. It is the work of Satan and can cause one to feel incapable and unworthy of having a close intimate relationship with God. One may feel like a failure, and this is precisely how Satan wishes us to think – once he can control our minds, he can control us and our actions.
However, the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:17 (KJV): “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
This is so beautiful. Paul provides a direct response to the strongholds of Satan in his second letter to the Corinthians. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (KJV): "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Paul was in the presence of God when he wrote this passage as it is heavenly.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 provides us with guidance on how we are to go about tearing down strongholds in our minds. The sword of the spirit is our great weapon – it is an awesome tool for pulling down strongholds. We must go on the offensive to eliminate such strongholds, and the Word of God is the means by which we do so. Therefore, when Satan attempts to ridicule us for something we have done, we can rely on God’s word found in 1 John 3:5 (KJV): “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”
Moreover, Hebrews 8:12 (KJV) tells us, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” These two passages reassure us that Christ died on the cross for our sins, and that God has decided to forget our sins.
We can recall the experience of Jesus in the wilderness when he was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:3) to command that stones be turned into bread. Jesus replied Matthew 4:4 (KJV): “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
On two additional occasions whilst in the wilderness Jesus rejected the temptations of Satan, and Satan was forced to flee. Jesus knew the relevant scripture to quote and effectively removed the ability of Satan to influence him.
We are also told in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to cast down imaginations. Here the apostle Paul is referring to the things that we imagine...the negative thoughts planted in our minds by Satan. The what-if questions – suppose this happens, suppose that happens. We are admonished to reject Satan and keep our thoughts centered on God.
James 4:7 (KJV): “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We must not allow Satan to permeate our thoughts, when the word of God is there to protect and uplift us.
We must clearly reject every thought which runs contrary to the knowledge of God since God and His word are inextricably linked. Remember John 1:1 (KJV): “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Amen. Thanks be to God for the sharing of His word.