What Is a Stronghold?
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds...II Cor. 10:4
February 13, 1992
A stronghold is the exaggeration of a spiritual strength as magnified through the veil of natural (flesh) life force. A stronghold is to spiritual life what a husk is to an ear of corn.
As spiritual life (the new man, the Word of God) develops within us, it is able to minister only within the prison walls of our natural life thought pattern. Not until that inner life develops to a point where the natural thought force—the stronghold—sealing it is actually broken can the life reach out to touch others.
Prior to this, all ministry of the life inside the stronghold is filtered by it, acting as a veil. As a filter, the natural force of thought, will, and emotion presents a distorted expression of true life to the outer world. Unlike Christ who was the "express" image of God, we are a distorted image of God at those places of soul where spiritual life has yet failed to overcome and break out of the natural thought structure encasing it.
The natural thought structure is not without purpose even though it is of "no profit." As a legal force, it provides a protective cocoon for embryonic spiritual life. It protects it from the lawless onslaught of externally-inspired thought patterns and spiritual attacks designed to destroy the inner Word-man. As the true life develops, the natural mirroring force of the mind experiences increased suffering against intensified outer attack (perishing day by day).
In the early stages of development, the difference between the seed and the stronghold is indiscernible to either the one developing within it or to those outside it. The one inside sees only the work of God within Himself, but is blind to his natural distortion of it. Those outside see the distortion of the stronghold with its negative reflective effects through the flesh veil. They are blinded to the genuineness of the true seed of God's work (word, promise, vision, desire, command) within the man. This is what produces misunderstanding between a believer and his friends over his faith.
It is the life force coursing through the stronghold that suffers death and is bled out of the soul as the attacks mount. This is the death every believer must experience who maintains a genuine internal hope over something God has planted in him. This death is not only from without, but from within. The natural soul life finds itself unable to bear the stretching and breaking of the internal pressure from the spiritual life pressing on its walls from within.
As a result, until the walls crack and are torn down to reveal the matured life and its fulfilments, the believer is subject to a perpetual "Catch 22" conflict of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" experience in which he is caught between the "rock" of internal life constraining him to express itself by faith, and the "hard place" of external spiritual attack, unbelief, and rejection by others who are unable to respond to the distorted image of expressed life through his veil.
We are unable to govern this process of outgrowing strongholds to find release and fulfilment by the Spirit. (Such human control is the essence of our stronghold.) By prayer, we cooperate with the divine process, but we cannot force it. We cannot force our way out of strongholds by prayer. On the other hand, failing to pray will assure our defeat by the strongholds and the final failure of our inner life to germinate.
We do have a part to play in the process. When God plants, we must respond by prayer (and crucifying-faith action) to every turn of the Life in its growing conflict with the stronghold that serves as its womb. Meanwhile, God imparts seasonal anointings by grace, "above ground" impartations given to break ripe strongholds and otherwise seep through the ground of the stronghold to strengthen (water) the inner Life.
The manifestation of spiritual unity and relational harmony among believers depends on the overcoming of strongholds. Strongholds are responsible for keeping otherwise good, God-fearing and loving Christians apart and from entering genuine, transparent, childlike relationship. Their fleshly veil prevents them from appreciating the nature of the true life of God at work in the other.
Only God can break these strongholds using those who are mature enough in the overcoming of their own strongholds to be able to see the problem for what it is and cooperate with God by intercession for its down-tearing. Of course, those who yield finally to and wholly side with their strongholds can never become part of the unity God would manifest. (This is why God must bypass entire generations in His plans for the development of His People.)
Strongholds are not so much demonic as they are hardened patterns of thought that govern our thinking. These patterns are shaped naturally by generational inheritance, externally by sensory experience, and internally by perception of revelation in our spirits. They are equivocal to our knowledge of good and evil. They form the structure of the soul through which natural life force flows.
Though not intrinsically demonic, the life force (blood) coursing through our hardened thought structures is demon-infested. These must be extricated by external expulsion through the blood of Jesus, or by internal soul-draining that feeds them, to be replaced by the blood of Jesus. This must happen before the empty strongholds themselves may be pulled down.
Strongholds are governed by higher principalities linking them together with bodies of people under similar dominion. This is where powers such as "Jezebel" operate through entire families, churches, and societies. Other character-typical spirits operate this way ("Absalom", etc...) The loosing of prophetic ministry is specifically ordained to pull down such strongholds, taking new ground for God's Kingdom in human flesh.
When strongholds are ready for removal, it is because eternal life has sufficiently developed for bringing the new man to usurp the area of soul dominated to that point by the stronghold. The new man's adornment of soul makes the soul untouchable any longer by outer demonic force. Peace and rest reign. Life shines unobstructed. Others receive true ministry. Bonds in the spirit are established. Unity becomes manifest. Destruction of strongholds is the supreme manifestation of God's grace in the life of a believer, the ultimate transcending of law-through-knowledge.
Strongholds are encountered at many levels like layers of iron doors in a prison (the deepest of these seem to be sexual). When the final stronghold is torn down and the new man ripens to usurp the total soul unto complete salvation, the outer body may be translated. Death has no more claim on it for sin has finally been eradicated. Sin is eradicated because the law of knowledge by which transgression is identified is abolished (I Jn 3:4; Jms 4:17 — I Cor 15:54-57). Relationship with the Living God is no longer mediated through any lawful perception of the soul.
The veil is removed!
written from Merrimack, New Hampshire
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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