Strongholds of Life
By: Bruce Kessler
If you came upon a black-and-white beetle, about the width of your pinkie about an inch long, with bluish legs and two banded antennas that curved back over the length of its body, what would you do? Scream and run? Squash the thing out of revulsion or fear?
This little creature is not from a distant planet but is one of the most devastating forest pests in existence, destroying millions of trees. Known as the Asian long-horned beetle they feed on leaves, twigs and young barks, producing larvae that tunnel into the very heart of the tree. Over time they choke off the tree's supply of nutrients and kill it.
You may breathe a sigh of relief for not coming across one of these creepy beetles but you need to be warned. If you are a believer you are facing a greater risk and something even more dangerous. Sin.
Your heart and mind is under severe supernatural attack, the devil seeks to penetrate your mind and heart via sin and over time rob you of your spiritual nutrients with the sole purpose of killing your spirit.
This is how.
"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
The writer makes this statement to Christians not unbelievers. He uses an image of a stronghold which carried the idea of a castle or a fortress.
My wife and I vacationed in Germany, Austria and Italy recently. While in Germany we toured the Neuschwanstein Castle built in the nineteenth-century by King Ludwig. Here's the thing about these castles. They typically took 21-25 years to build. Massive walls were designed to fortify a city or a community/family to keep an invading army out. Notice the powerful imagery penned by Martin Luther, "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper he, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing. For still our ancient foe does seek to work us woe."
But the author's use here of a castle was a negative one. Instead of keeping an invading army out the sole purpose of a stronghold is to resist the presence of God and His word's influence.
This is the war that is going on in the mind of a believer. Jesus warned that the devil's goal is to kill, steal, and destroy. Peter speaks of Satan as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Paul warns in Ephesians 4:27, "and do not give place (territory/foothold) to the devil. "
You see, unchecked and unresolved sin is an invitation for the devil to build strongholds in your heart and mind. This is serious stuff. Why? Well, are you suffering from a form of addictive behavior? Drugs? Alcohol? Lying? Porn? Cheating? Stealing? Perhaps there is some secret sin in your life that has made you bitter, resentful, hateful, or spiteful? The list just adds up.
A stronghold is by its very nature designed to keep you locked in a cyclical pattern of sin while offering no real genuine way out. This just adds to defeat, disappointment, shame, and hopelessness. I'm sad to say a great number of believers have allowed strongholds to take root in their heart.
The church is filled with sick people in need of a heart revival.
There is good news.
"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house." Matthew 12:28-29
Jesus Christ is the only power to bind the strong man (Satan) and plunder the castle.
Notice as well that "the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." Mighty in God. There is hope and there is promise here that these strongholds can be cast down.
The question is do you trust in this mighty power of God?