2 CORINTHIANS 10:3-6 NKJV
3 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
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
We have just completed a powerful series during the month of September INNER HEALING as I ministered to the five central wounds that people carry requiring healing and deliverance. Many people were saved and many lives were touched by the power of God right here at the altar.
I sensed the Holy Spirit lead me to continue in the same vein of INNER HEALING only this time to place more emphasis on what the Bible calls STRONGHOLDS and these STRONGHOLDS I believe are to do with the MIND so this series is all about BREAKING STRONGHOLDS OF THE MIND.
FOUR Central STRONGHOLDS OF THE MIND (there are perhaps many others but the Lord has directed me to these four)
1. FEAR – The debilitating sense of anxiety that restricts.
2. CONFUSION – That causes double mindless and restlessness.
3. ANGER – Producing frustration, agitation and harm in your life.
4. DESPAIR – Making you believe that life is not worth living.
As I said there are perhaps many others but these 4 central strongholds of the mind require INNER HEALING and DELIVERANCE so you can go onto flourish in life.
Let me begin by explaining what a STRONGHOLD is. The Bible in 2 CORINTHIANS 10:4 NKJV uses the word STRONGHOLD which must be pulled down in a person’s life.
I believe without question that this STRONGHOLD is referring directly to the mind which is located in your soul. The human being has three parts the SPIRIT, SOUL and BODY and your SOUL is made up of your mind, will, and emotions. It’s in the area of the SOUL that most inner healing is required.
The word STRONGHOLD is the Greek word ochuroma 3794 a fortified, military fortress. In ancient times is was used to denote a safe place but also referred to a person attempting to escape reality.
It’s a term similar to today when someone say’s ‘he’s lost his mind’ or ‘he’s gone out of his mind’. A STRONGHOLD in a person’s mind is when a thought which is usually easy to dismiss evolves into a reinforced combination of entangled thoughts that become stuck like an incorrect knot that is not easily loosened.
The person with a mental stronghold finds it almost impossible to shake off or dismiss from their thinking and it begins to overwhelm their mind to the point where they are controlled by it.
Everything begins to be played out through the lenses of the stronghold for example if it’s fear then everything is viewed through the prism of fear or it could be confusion, anger or despair.
The stronghold affects their speech and communication. The person struggling with the stronghold perceives everything which happens to them through the twisted and knotted thought pattern.
They become angry at everything. They despair life. They are confused on almost all matters requiring decisions and are forced into paralysis because of fear.
Strongholds of the mind if left unchecked and untangled become a magnet for demonic power as Satan seeks to trap the person in a mental seduction of being imprisoned by their own thinking.
I am no psychologist or therapist but as a Minister of the Gospel for over twenty-five years and ministering to thousands of people I can tell you that this has been my careful observation and study of what the Bible calls a stronghold.
Put simply it’s an imprisonment of thinking. In other words, you have incarcerated yourself and only you hold the key to unlock the cell that has imprisoned you.
A stronghold in the mind is a spiritual fortress made up of wrong thoughts it’s a fortified dwelling place where demonic forces can hide and operate. A stronghold of the mind is a lie that Satan establishes in our thinking. It’s a statement that we count as true but is actually false.
Broadly speaking the mind is the brain. The mind is the psychological term whereas the brain is the physiological term. The mind is unusual as it is the battlefield where Satan and evil spirits crave to capture. They know that if they can control the mind they can control the person.
The Bible pictures the mind as being held by the enemy it must, therefore, be broken into by waging war. The Bible says that many rebellious thoughts are housed in the mind in what it calls a stronghold and this needs to be taken captive to the obedience of Christ.
A person who is unregenerate or is not Born Again has their mind already held captive by Satan. This may surprise you but it is exactly what the Bible say’s.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:3-4 NLT “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan who is the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ who is the exact likeness of God.”
Satan holds on to man’s mind by making it blind to the truth.
According to the Bible, the mind of an unbeliever whose mind is unrenewed to God’s Word is already held captive and this is what is known as a stronghold a fortified place which Satan has established.
Through the mind evil spirits are able to transmit poisonous thoughts to corrupt a persons thinking. When you read 2 CORINTHIANS 10:5 NKJV now you can see exactly how all arguments and high things are actually the fortresses of the enemy let me ready it again…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
In other words, what the Bible is instructing us to do is to invade these strongholds of the mind and take captive the rebellious thoughts implanted by the devil.
All communications between human and satanic forces occur in the organ of the mind. Every temptation with which entices man is presented to his mind. All temptations are offered to us as thoughts. (I will say more about this next week)
Stay with me because this is very important…Prior to a person being saved a person’s mind is obstructed from apprehending God. It is necessary for God’s mighty power and Word to destroy these strongholds and this occurs the moment a person is Born Again and specifically when a person repents which in the ancient Greek is the word metanoeo which means ‘change your mind’ do you see that that’s the power of repentance?
Repentance gives God the legal right to invade your mind and take captive the strongholds of the enemy praise God. Man in his mind is at enmity with God therefore God must alter man’s mind if He would impart life to him.
In his unregenerate state man has a darkened mind at his regeneration it undergoes a drastic change. Because his mind has been so united with devil it is vital for man to receive from God a change of mind to release him from being imprisoned or held captive in his thinking. Right here is a revelation for mental illness.
I want to deal with the FIRST MENTAL STRONGHOLD OF FEAR.
Put simply the Bible says in 1 JOHN 4:18 NKJV ‘…fear involves torment.’ The word in Greek is kolasis 2851 and it means to be punished. Fear is punishment to the one tormented by it and we were not created to live by fear. (SEE NOTES EFFECTS OF FEAR)
Fear is nothing more than the absence of faith. The absence of faith is nothing more then the absence of God’s Word and the absence of God’s Word is nothing more than ignorance because you don’t know it or laziness to find out what God’s Word says.
There is a powerful story in the Bible that actually happened and its recorded in three of the four Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke so it’s significant for us to know and study and it deals primarily with fear.
MATTHEW 8:23-26 NKJV “Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him saying, Lord, save us! We are perishing! But He said to them, Why are you fearful O you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm.”
MARK 4:35-40 NKJV “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them Let us cross over to the other side. Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing? Then He arose and rebuked the wind (spirit) and said to the sea Peace be still! And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
LUKE 8:22-25 NKJV “Now it happened, on a certain day that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, Let us cross over to the other side of the lake. And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake and they were filling with water and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him saying Master, Master, we are perishing! Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them Where is your faith? And they were afraid, and marvelled, saying to one another, Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water and they obey Him!”
Jesus effectively asks three questions…
1. Why are you fearful?
2. How is that you have no faith?
3. Where is your faith?
Anyone with a stronghold of fear must ask themselves these same three questions because the answers to them will real to you how the stronghold was established that is now imprisoning your mind. From there we can begin to dismantle the mental fortress of fear.
1. WHY ARE YOU FEARFUL? What is the reason for your fear and does it have any rational truth to it because most fears are nothing more than an unintelligent reaction to something that may not even exist and if you do fear something you have elevated it above God’s Word?
2. HOW IS IT THAT YOU HAVE NO FAITH? This is more of a rebuke then question because in the Greek text it reads of sarcasm. Almost like Jesus knows very well why they have no faith and that’s because of their lack of attention and belief in His Words. Fear started with a seed that has grown.
3. WHERE IS YOUR FAITH? Is a pretty pointed question that goes to the heart of the issue in others words what are you trusting in? If your trust and confidence is not in God’s Word then anything else is sure to disappoint you at some point.
Jesus deals with the storm which in this case was demonically inspired. He said to His disciples MARK 4:35 NKJV “On the same day when evening had come He said to them Let us cross over to the other side.”
Nobody who is familiar with the sea would launch out in the evening with other boats knowing there was an impending storm coming. Jesus would not have been foolish or negligent the conditions were perfect.
MARK 4:37 NKJV “And a great windstorm arose and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling.”
This was a demonically inspired event most likely because the destination was a demon-infested stronghold known as the ‘Country of the Gadarenes’ where a demonised man had his home among the tombs but that’s another story.
Suffice to say that these principalities and powers could see Who was about to invade their territory. Think of it Jesus Christ the Son of God and the 12 Apostles. That’s a pretty awesome ministry team and this was an opportunity to take them out by drowning them.
Satan knew this was an opportunity to attack the boat and sink it with the intention of killing Jesus and His ministry team. The next verse gives us insight into this spiritual warfare encounter.
MARK 4:39 NKJV “Then He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea Peace be still! And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
Now keep in mind we are dealing with fear, terror and anxiety which was causing the disciples to scream out ‘we are perishing’.
Jesus did two things.
ONE: REBUKED THE WIND or SPIRIT BEHIND IT.
TWO: SPOKE TO THE CONDITIONS.
Your see FEAR can be an evil spirit the Bible says this 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 NKJV “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Firstly you have got to discern, identify and rebuke the spirit of fear from afflicting you particularly if you feel fear come onto your life like an invisible wave or cold wind changing the atmosphere of where you are present.
Secondly, Jesus spoke to the conditions. he commanded the sea to be still. You likewise must speak to the conditions of your body for instance and command your mind and body to be still.
This is a form of spiritual warfare and Jesus encountered a lot of it whilst He was on earth. Another example is when Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert.
Each time that the devil came to demonised Him what did Jesus do? He declared ‘It is written’ and he quoted scripture. I wonder how many of you are meditating enough on God’s Word for you to have a recollection of it when needed?
Satan always tries to trap a person in their mind through deception but God’s Word neutralises his schemes and strategies.
You’ve got to see breaking strongholds of the mind like an invasion of God’s Word and Spirit driving out that which has you held captive mentally speaking.
Fear may be a stronghold in your mind but so can anger, confusion, and despair. They will remain until they are driven out. They will also be empowered by evil spirits which come to fuel there power by making you even more captive.
Some people have grown up struggling with fear at a small level perhaps with being timid but then this grows into becoming withdrawn, antisocial until it increases into being unable to be around people then not being able to leave their home or even room. The mental imprisonment begins to act out in the physical with real-time and real-life entrapment.
BLUEPRINT FOR BREAKING STRONGHOLDS OF THE MIND
2 CORINTHIANS 10:3-6 NKJV “For though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh.” (Firstly identify that it could be spiritual an evil spirit and resist it or have it delivered from you) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds (Know the weapons of your warfare God’s Word, Prayer, Deliverance, Worship, Confession) casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (Now this is an important stage as it will require you to be disciplined in taking captive troublesome thoughts quickly before they escalate and mutate.
2 CORINTHIANS 10:5 TPT “Bringing every thought into captivity.” We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and breakthrough every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture like prisoners of war every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.
VOICE We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.
OK let me show you how: Hands on your head and pray Heavenly Father I bind every evil thought and emotion in the name of Jesus Christ and I apply by faith the Blood of Jesus to cleanse, dissolve and restore my thoughts and feelings in line with God’s Word which say’s 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 NKJV For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 CORINTHIANS 10:6 NKJV “and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
VOICE As soon as you choose obedience we stand ready to punish every act of disobedience.
EFFECTS OF FEAR
1. A SENSE OF DOOM Fear can cause frequent feelings of impending doom. You may also have difficulty concentrating.
2. DEPRESSION Chronic fear can increase your risk for depression. Symptoms include social withdrawal, loss of interest in activities you once loved and feelings of guilt or hopelessness.
3. PANIC ATTACKS Panic attacks from fear can lead to a number of psychological symptoms including heart palpitations, chest pain and lightheadedness. You may even have hot flushes.
4. POUNDING HEART Heart palpitations occur with panic attacks but they can also happen with anxiety more generally. You may feel like your heartbeat quickens in pace and intensity.
5. HEADACHES Headaches from constant fear, stress and worry are common.
6. IRRITABILITY Constant fear can increase your overall feelings of agitation.
7. BREATHING PROBLEMS Fear can cause rapid, shallow breathing. These symptoms are more intense when you’re in a panic.
8. UPSET STOMACH Stomach pains may be accompanied by nausea and diarrhoea.
9. EXTREME FATIGUE Fear can leave you feeling ripped out at various points throughout the day. You may also have problems sleeping at night.
10. INCREASE BLOOD PRESSURE You may feel your heart pressure rise whenever your fear or anxiety flares up.
11. MUSCLE ACHES AND OTHER PAINS Fear isn’t just felt mentally. Unexplained aches and pains can also occur.
12. LOSS OF LIBIDO Fear can decrease your sexual desire.
Mark 9:17-29 NKJV
17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.
19 He answered him and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me. 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
21 So He asked his father How long has this been happening to him? And he said From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.
23 Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, Deaf and dumb spirit I command you, come out of him and enter him no more! 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast it out?
29 So He said to them This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.
Anything that has longevity develops roots.
Anything that has roots will become a stronghold.
It’s going to require the power to demolish it.
When you remove the stronghold you give the enemy no place to live. You’re going to make him homeless.
Strongholds are the lies of Satan hiding in human reason waiting for you to agree and to approve.