Have you ever felt like no matter what you do or how hard you try, there are times it feels like you are stuck spiritually speaking, and something is holding you back? We have all been there, especially if we have become bound by sinful behavior, negative thoughts, or a wrong influence. These negative cycles that impede us from growing spiritually, leaving us hopeless and frustrated, are known as strongholds. Biblically, we can identify many strongholds, and the Word of God can give us powerful tools to break the cycle and take down those strongholds.
What are strongholds biblically? You can find at least three distinct kinds of strongholds in the Bible; some are positive, and some have negative connotations. These three strongholds are the wilderness strongholds, God as our stronghold, and spiritual strongholds. The first two are positive strongholds that can help us. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves, and strongholds. Judges 6:2 In this verse, we see the wilderness stronghold, which refers to a fortress or a secure place in the wilderness where you can hide from oppression. One of the most powerful and safest strongholds is God as our stronghold. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2. God is the one that keeps us safe, the one that gives us peace and protects us from danger. He is our fortress and the one that delivers us from trouble. It is a beautiful stronghold that we should seek.
The spiritual strongholds are the ones that bind us, imprisoning our minds and lives. They are negative patterns of thoughts, arrogant attitudes, and wrongful and sinful behaviors so powerful that only God’s Word and mighty power can break them. We need to learn how to identify these strongholds because they are very harmful. What are some of these strongholds? Jealousy, unforgiveness, lying, perversion, bitterness, depression, addiction, promiscuity, pornography, gossip, idolatry, uncontrollable fear, constant sin, occult sin, obsessive worry, and lust, among others. These can be deep-rooted and cause a recurring pattern. You are constantly struggling with it, and it is hard for you to leave behind. Some strongholds can happen from things that are not necessarily harmful, but because you lost control over them, they become toxic for you. Things like overeating, overspending, and overprotectiveness are examples of these kinds of strongholds.
We must strengthen ourselves with God's Word, stop sin at its root, and demonstrate true repentance. God's Word is powerful and brings guidance and peace to our lives. God's Word transforms us and gives us the power to refrain from sinning. His Word sets us free from any negative binding and helps us break any negative cycle. Another tool against the stronghold is the power of prayer. Prayer can change how we see things, help us take negative thoughts captive, and give us the strength to bring any stronghold down. We can also bring down strongholds by fasting. Fasting can set us free from what's binding us. Great things happen, and real change becomes feasible whenever we combine prayer and fasting.
When dealing with strongholds, we must be aware that sin can get a hold of us and bind us in a destructive way that impedes us from growing spiritually. We should remember that our fight is not against flesh and blood, against physical and material beings, but against spiritual forces. We must always be prepared and clothe ourselves with God's Armor. I invite you today to analyze your spiritual life and identify which areas you are stuck or are not growing spiritually and ask God to help you break the cycle and tear down any stronghold in your life. Ask Him to strengthen you with His Word and help you break free!