Tearing Down Strongholds
The word stronghold is found in 52 verses of the Bible. 51 of them are in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament. Here is that passage.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The 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.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
People in Corinth were bad-mouthing Paul. These people often came into churches that Paul planted and tried to disrupt the message of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. They were called “Judaizers.” They wanted the new Christians to believe that there were works that they had to do to maintain their salvation.
They were raised in the Jewish Traditions of obeying the Torah, or the Laws God gave to Israel, and they could not imagine a gospel of complete grace without having any works you had to do to keep your salvation. These people loved their Jewish religion and feared that Paul was wrong about this whole idea of grace.
So, it is in this context that Paul says these words. He says that there are weapons we have as believers that have divine power to demolish strongholds. He says that these weapons that we can use have divine power, or power from God. And what do these divinely powerful weapons do?
They demolish strongholds. Now a stronghold is a place where one sets himself us to be able to withstand the enemy and from which they can strike out against the enemy. It is like a fort. Sometimes the fort defends against outsiders and sometimes it sends its soldiers out to attack. However, in this passage those enemies are not soldiers, they are thoughts. More specifically they are arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.
And because of these arguments and pretentions, Paul says we need to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. Do that say anything to you about how important our thoughts are? How helpful or harmful the thoughts we think can impact our lives.
We have been talking about memorizing Scripture and using it in this battle. I frequently have thoughts that sprint through my brain in a matter of seconds. Some of these thoughts are crazy, and I say … where in the world did that idea come from? Well, it might be coming from a stronghold in my thinking that is not true and is sent to deceive and harm me.
That is another reason why it is so critical to be reading and memorizing God’s word. It is your antiballistic missile system to shoot down thoughts that are coming from your enemy.