Let's review the definition of a stronghold. I use the definition from Mike and Sue Dowgiewicz, Demolishing Strongholds.
"A stronghold is a demonic fortress of thoughts housing evil spirits that:
- control, dictate, and influence your attitudes and behavior;
- oppress and discourage you;
- filter and color how you view or react to situations, circumstances, or people."
Many people struggle with "why" they can't seem to change themselves or their circumstances. Friends give advice. Family tries to take over and direct your path. Ministers give the best scripture for your circumstance. You read all the Christian self-help books out there. If you will just do a,b,c or 1,2,3, you will have victory. Even God's word seems to work for others but not for you. You have worked on this thing that has followed you a life time. What is a person to do?
Consider that you may be dealing with a stronghold!
When you laid out your lifeline and then started connecting the dots, what was your discovery? Did you connect that one of the most humiliating experiences in your life continues to be a place of reference for you as you make relationship decisions in life? How did that experience develop your view of the world--relationships, including the one with your Heavenly Father? What about the amazing experience when you won an award for achieving a goal you had? Does that inspire you to this day? How do you incorporate your life experiences into living life in the present or making decisions about your future? Where do the strongholds win over your soul, body, mind and spirit? Where the stronghold resides, God is not Lord over that area of your life.
From the day we were born, we were born with needs. When those needs are not met, we develop behaviors, thoughts and belief systems that keep us prisoner to the lies of Satan. It is in the work of digging into the strongholds that we discover where God has been waiting for us...to deliver and to heal us from what keeps us captive!!!
Consider 2 Cor. 10:3-6 "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."
Assignment #1 What strongholds have you begun to discover are controlling your life? What needs in your life have not and are not being met?
Assignment #2 What weapons has God gifted you with to demolish those strongholds? (Search the scripture.)
Assignment #3 Dig a little deeper! Ask God, "What else might be a stronghold in my life?" Then, listen. What has God been trying to tell you? What is His instruction at this point of your discovery?
When we come together at the next Well meeting, we will continue to connect the dots. We will define our needs and take a deeper look at how strongholds have set up residency in your life based on those unmet needs.
I will leave you with the same scripture, 2 Cor. 10:3-6, from The Message by Eugene Peterson.
"The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way--never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every and building lives of obedience into maturity."
Grace and Peace,
"This is the way. Walk in it." Isaiah 30:21