Part 2 – Breakthrough From Strongholds
Aim: To help people deal with mindsets that hinder spiritual growth.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”
In the first part to this series, we learned that David had a great breakthrough in his life. He inquired of God, received a word from God, and was obedient to Him. This week we’ll look at how we can defeat our strongholds.
What is a stronghold? It is a mental habit or pattern, a mindset that hinders our spiritual growth.
It can take the form of a belief, negative self-talk, an attitude, or an addiction. People can be controlled by fear, anxiety, depression, an inability to trust, perfectionism, anger, unforgiveness, and so much more. Strongholds are an automatic negative reaction that stops us from being who God created us to be. If we are to experience a breakthrough in our lives, we must overcome our strongholds.
Paul realized that some people become limited in their walk with God because of their strongholds. Most of us blame people or circumstances for our problems, but Paul refuted this. He knew our battle was against the principalities and powers of this dark world. The enemy is seeking to destroy us by controlling our minds with poor patterns of thought. These patterns are always lies; always contrary to God’s will. It is only God who can deliver us from the unhealthy mindsets influencing our lives. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn 8:36.)
So, how do we deal with strongholds? We must first understand how our minds work, and how strongholds develop.
The basic building blocks of our minds are our thoughts. Everything we do involves thinking. It is the essence of our spiritual life. Thoughts in and of themselves are useless, but when our thoughts create action, then power is released. Thoughts shape our character and affect our destiny. Our thoughts influence the way we feel, and the things we do.
In Lamentations 3:1-33, Jeremiah moves from despair by changing the way he thinks. The Bible teaches that to release ourselves from discouragement, we should call to mind the good things God has done in the past.
The good news of Jesus is that not only are we transformed in our hearts, but also in our minds.
Through Him and His Holy Spirit, we can live the way He has intended us to: with power and victory, not with misery or failure.
There are at least three ways which contribute to the development of strongholds.
1) We give in to temptation
Our Society, our unhealthy personal tendencies and evil spiritual forces are always trying to tempt us to fulfil our needs independent of God. We must never underestimate the power of the world to influence our minds. We have a natural pull that constantly seeks to live without God. Paul understood this problem when he explained his battle with the sinful nature within him in Romans 7. “…it happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is right there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel just when I least expect it, they take charge…”
These three components are relentless in attempts to establish negative thoughts in our minds. They produce negative patterns of behavior causing us to act in ways that are contrary to God’s plans for us, and are tempted to get a distorted view of who God is and who we are.
We must remember, thoughts lead to behaviors, which become habits, and turn into strongholds. If you think and behave a certain way only 22 times, it creates a habit.
2) The environment we were raised in
Studies consistently show that we are greatly influenced by our upbringing. Our parents, our family, our friends and church all had effects on our thoughts. Imagine a child who grows up being labeled as worthless. If they hear it enough times, the child will come to believe it, and behave according to that self-belief. Thoughts create feelings, which lead to actions. Actions then reinforce the belief again, and the whole cycle repeats.
3) Traumatic experiences
Abuse, assault, divorce, death, hurts, failure, illness, etc., can have an impact on one’s character if not resolved and healed. The devil uses these negative situations to build negative thinking patterns in our minds. We believe hopeless things about the world, and about God, when we allow these traumatic events to determine our perspective and spark our thoughts.
How we deal with strongholds?
Strongholds can be broken in Jesus’ name. We are not prisoners of our past. Regardless of how difficult things have been our minds can be transformed into the image of Christ. That is what makes Christianity so exciting. God wants to change us into the image of His Son.
To tackle the thoughts attacking our minds, we must:
1. Combat destructive worldviews and our personal unhealthy tendencies by renewing our minds.
Spend time in the Bible, study, pray, soak the word of God into your life. We must allow the Word of Christ to dwell richly in us and we must incorporate the truth into our lives.
2. Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ
Satan’s power is in his lies. That’s why he does everything he can to convince us the lie is the truth. The key to demolishing strongholds is to replace the devil’s lies with the truth of God’s Word. Jesus said, ‘you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’
3. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit
Without the power of God, we’re unable to change anything about our character. We need His Spirit because only He can change our innermost being, for He created it.
We need to go to God and say, “Lord, I can’t change this particular area in my life. Please help me.” Our God is able!
This sermon was preached by Pastor Elio Marrocco on August 25, 2019 at New Life Christian Church