What comes to mind when you think of a stronghold? No, it’s not someone who is holding your arm too tightly, but it does usually come with a negative connotation. It always has for me too…until recently.
The only Scriptures I remember reading or hearing about strongholds through the years are those where we are reminded, especially in the New Testament, of strongholds that belong to the devil.
When I searched for the dictionary’s definition of a stronghold I found “a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld.” Unfortunately, these beliefs aren’t always truthful or positive! I think most of us have a negative thought or habit (or two) that we repeatedly fight. For me they are usually a pattern in my mind reminding me of my weaknesses and taunting me that I will never overcome certain struggles.
The devil is all over these types of negative strongholds! He would have us believe we are weak and defenseless against the struggles of this world. Sometimes it certainly feels that way!
What the devil is hoping we will forget is that when we have the Holy Spirit we have all the power we need to demolish these strongholds!
For though we live in the world we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
The good news, my friends, is that we are not in this fight alone! When we know Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord we have the Holy Spirit’s power inside of us! We only need to unleash it in the battle for our minds!
I know for me some days it’s easier to remember to use this demolition power than others, but whether we use it or not, it is ALWAYS there at our disposal!
I mentioned earlier that these days strongholds don’t always come with a negative connotation for me. I’ve been dwelling in the Psalms a lot lately during my quiet times and keep seeing strongholds mentioned, especially by David. As I dug around I learned another definition of stronghold; “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.” David found and created these strongholds when he was running for his life from King Saul. He was protected in these places by those who fought for and with him and found rest and solace when he was there.
We have it even easier than for David as we don’t have to build our own strongholds to find protection from our enemy! The Lord is our stronghold, and the Holy Spirit fights for and with us! He is waiting for us to stop fighting alone and find refuge in His stronghold.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9: 9-10
Once we have taken refuge in the stronghold of the Lord, if we are willing, we will find others who are searching for sanctuary themselves. Together we can bandage each others’ wounds, prop each other up, feed each other with the nourishment of God’s promises and stand together, often on our knees.
Don’t fight this battle alone! Remember the strength available to you through the Holy Spirit, and be vulnerable enough to let God use your experiences to strengthen others for the fight. We are called to fight, but we are not called to fight a solitary battle.
Now go out there and do some demolition with the Lord!!