December 17, 2017
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Divine Power to Destroy Strongholds

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. - 2 Corinthians 10:4

The Apostle Paul wrote that the ways of the world are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh (Colossians 2:20-23). No matter how hard one tries to refrain from sin by self-made religion, rules and strong self-will, true freedom only comes by divine power.

The addict will always be an addict if sobriety is attained by will power, laws, accountability partners, and other tools of the flesh. But true victory is possible through spiritual warfare.

The world wages war to weaken or destroy an enemy. Warfare and the weapons of warfare have changed throughout history, from hand-to-hand combat to bombs and missiles. The goal of worldly warfare remains the same: to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).

The weapons of the world are able to kill or subdue the body and are used to control the world in the physical realm. But the weapons of our warfare are not of the world but have divine power. We wage war in the spiritual realm with spiritual weapons.

The victory in the spiritual realm transcends into the physical and emotional realms as well. The addict that engages the captivity of the flesh in this way becomes a new creation. He is no longer an addict, but has been reconciled to God through Christ.

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Divine Power

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:12

Healing prayer is spiritual warfare. It requires divine power because it calls for supernatural results. It accomplishes what cannot be expected to be done in the ways of the world. It is the supernatural power of God that overcomes the spiritual forces of evil and darkness.

Throughout history great time and attention have been spent on improving the effectiveness of weapons for warfare. Each invention required a change in strategies and tactics. For instance, archers could kill or maim from a greater distance than the soldiers fighting in hand to hand combat. Defenses had to shift to accommodate that change. Similarly, the long rifle made a fundamental change in warfare; followed by bombs, jets, and missiles.

We do not war against flesh and blood. We do not war against ideologies or religions. We do not war against cultural biases or selfish ambitions. We war against the rulers, authorities and powers of this present darkness. We war against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Demolish Strongholds

For the weapons of our warfare … have divine power to destroy strongholds. - 2 Corinthians 10:4

Strongholds are a place of spiritual authority. The word picture is of a fort or castle that is built for self-defense. It can also be viewed as a walled city. The Apostle Paul writes that we battle against rulers, authorities and powers. The rulers are individuals, both human and spiritual, that exert their will. Authorities are the laws or governing rules. The powers, in this instance, are spiritual forces of evil known by the consequences these powers cause.

What are these strongholds, and how do our weapons demolish them?

We attack strongholds to demolish them. The purpose of the attack is to destroy the authority that resides there and replace it with the authority of the Kingdom of Heaven. Our role is offensive, not defensive. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail (withstand) against His church.

There is a stronghold of money. The Spirit of Mammon rules this domain and everyone under its control is subject to its laws. Symptoms of its grip include the “orphan mentality” in which a person believes “I must provide for myself.” Another symptom is “poverty mentality” in which a person believes “I deserve nothing.” Both of these conditions project a stingy image on God and lead to fear and anxiety.

Pride is a symptom of this stronghold and the person believes his or her self-esteem is derived by what is owned. A similar condition is greed, in which a person believes there is never enough. The underlying fear of any of these conditions is often centered on the belief that the person is responsible and the risk is a loss of control over material things.

We demolish the stronghold of money by taking authority over the Spirit of Mammon and kicking it out. Then we can establish the authority of the Kingdom Economy in its place.

Another common stronghold is sex. The rulers of this domain have perverted the concept of purity and intimacy. It shows up as lust, which is a form of physical selfishness and greed. Those that are affected by this stronghold engage in sex outside of marriage, often for personal comfort or to control others. Pornography and sexual fantasies lead to a loss of innocence and false intimacy. Sexual abuse and perversion cause pain and trauma through this stronghold that results in shame, fear of vulnerability, and susceptibility to control or manipulation.

We demolish the stronghold of sex by removing the perverted authority and replacing it with God’s view of purity and intimacy.

There is another stronghold in the areas of power and control. The evil realm tries to hijack the authority that was given to mankind and use it to kill, steal and destroy. We demolish this stronghold by taking dominion back with supernatural strength of God. It may require that we break rash oaths or vows, receive forgiveness for pride or fear, and repent to God’s perfect law.

Destroy Arguments

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:5

Arguments are a person’s belief system or paradigm. What we believe to be true affects our identity and personality. When our belief system is raised against the knowledge of God it is an argument. Our reasoning, imagination and logic are developed by what we receive and the conclusions we make. Because we are in a sinful world, our worldview is subject to misinterpretation. The symptom of this type of argument is faulty thinking from bad conclusions.

For instance, a paradigm of rejection is based on the false belief that “I’m not lovable.” This conviction then controls the interpretations of the rejected person in a way that keeps him in that condition. In other words, every event will be interpreted as proof of rejection because it is the underlying belief.

A paradigm of betrayal is based on the false belief that “I’m a victim.” This conviction makes a person feel hopeless and unwilling to pursue their true identity. A paradigm of abandonment is based on the false belief that “I’m not worthwhile.” This way of thinking colors every circumstance to be perceived as valueless, and the person then projects that same lack of value on their identity.

We destroy arguments by taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. This is the key of mind renewal, and the process is to interrogate the belief and ask Jesus to replace it with truth.

Tear Down Pretensions

Pretensions are opinions and high-mindedness that have no basis in reality. It is an audacity that opposes the truth of God. The world cannot see the truth without the Spirit, and in pretentious pride mankind raises himself to the position of highest authority.

Some of the symptoms of these pretensions are anti-Christ belief, a feeling that one is too smart for faith, and is fueled by the “knowledge of good and evil.” This is a direct result of the original sin. A companion paradigm is pride, specifically the belief that “I can control the truth by choosing what I am willing to believe.”

These pretensions are torn down by discovering their underlying emotions. Anger is a primary emotion carried along by fear, a demand for justice, and a desire to control. Fear is another primary emotion fueled by anxiety, panic, lack of control, anger, and bitterness. Sadness is a primary emotion that is expressed in depression, a victim mentality, and unsolvable grieving. Disgust is a primary emotion that builds from bitterness, a critical spirit, and self-loathing. Shame is a primary emotion that accompanies hyper-responsibility, guilt, and unhealthy striving. Finally, hopelessness is a primary emotion that is demonstrated by addictions and isolation.

We tear down pretensions by interrogating the primary emotion to discover the opinion that feeds it. Often this will point to an event or circumstance of pain in which the belief was instilled in the person. By forgiving the party that caused the pain, and receiving forgiveness for misinterpreting God’s good intentions, a person can receive truth to renew his or her mind.

Storm the Gates

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. - Matthew 16:18

We do not wage war as the world does. The medical community focuses on the physical realm and is often satisfied with symptom management. The strategy is limited to what the caregivers are able to measure and prove with tests, and the battle is waged in the physical realm. However, you cannot sedate an evil spirit, it must be removed through spiritual authority.

We do not wage war as the world does. The mental health community focuses on the emotional realm is often satisfied with making a pain or conflict tolerable. The strategy is limited by the prevailing worldview of the culture. However, you cannot reprogram a law or tolerate an argument, it must be taken captive and made obedient to Christ.

We demolish strongholds with spiritual warfare, and then we replace the authority with God as the Highest authority. We destroy arguments by taking them captive and force them to surrender to the Truth. We tear down every pretension by identifying the false belief and replacing it with truth through mind renewal.

When we wage war in the heavenly places with divine power, the gates of hell cannot stand against us!

 
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