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Word Study Wednesday

God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ whose obedient example we are to follow (II Corinthians 10:5)

II Corinthians 10:4:
(For the weapons [hoplon; the Aramaic word is zaina, armor] of our [Paul & Timothy’s] warfare [strateia] are not carnal, but mighty [dunatos from dunamai: to be able, have power] through God to the pulling down [kathairesis; a destruction or demolition; this is a military term used only in II Corinthians 10:4, 8; 13:10.] of strong holds [ochuroma; literally, a castle, stronghold, fortress; then figuratively of anything on which one relies, particularly of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavours to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent.])

Proverbs 21:22:
A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

Proverbs 21:22 is a picture of someone taking a stronghold. A wise person is able to conquer the mighty. One whose strength is his wise, godly character is pictured as conquering another who trusts in physical fortifications.

Strongholds may be individual or collective. Individual strongholds are unique, shaped by personal history and development. Collective strongholds are when thinking patterns permeate and affect people functioning together. Deception and indoctrination spread corporate strongholds. People “buy into” mentalities or ways of thinking which are then reinforced and promulgated. They are more diverse than just legalism and license. Victim mentalities and elitist thinking are examples of corporate strongholds. They become like a snowball rolling down the hill, they often seem to have a life of their own. They are fortified positions used as a base of operation from which people are influenced and to which people are seduced and in which they become comfortable. Both types of strongholds capture minds and rob those seduced of the ability to think freely.

Strongholds, both personal and collective, are formidable obstacles to the healing process, for they are deeply embedded in the mind. They become fortified positions due to relentless repetition over a long period of time or due to traumatic incidents that severely effect the mind and heart of the captive. These fortresses of deception and illogic are not easily demolished, but they can be destroyed. God uses WARFARE as the analogy to communicate the urgency and relentlessness with which they must be attacked and pulled down. The stakes are high and the rewards are great, but it requires obedience to God and His Word and His ministers. Scripture offers us a model for entering into warfare against the automatic, practiced, and habitual ways of thinking that become strongholds that hold people captive, individually, in groups, and indeed even as entire nations.

Matthew 7:5:
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.

That’s an example of someone operating from a stronghold of deception. They are wrong, practicing error, and they are not even aware of it. Corporate strongholds are shared ways of thinking. They are practiced and habitual. They form traditions or philosophies that actively control groups, masses, and nations.

Colossians 2:8:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

They effectively rob us of rationality and our ability to recognize or contradict them. They consciously and sub-consciously rob us of free will in order to control us, and create tunnel vision. Strongholds take the mind and finally the soul captive. Satan blinds the minds in an attempt to block the word of God. It takes warriors who are a savor of life unto life to bring deliverance.

God knows all about strongholds. He is a stronghold for His people.

Proverbs 10:29: ASV
The way of Jehovah is a stronghold to the upright; But it is a destruction to the workers of iniquity.

Isaiah 25:4: ASV
For thou hast been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

Jeremiah 16:19: ASV
O Jehovah, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of affliction, unto thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited nought but lies, even vanity and things wherein there is no profit.

Joel 3:16: ASV
And Jehovah will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but Jehovah will be a refuge unto his people, and a stronghold to the children of Israel.

Nahum 1:7:
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

God knows how to help people build positive strongholds in their minds. He also knows how to pull down negative ones. He’ll tell you how to take the adversary’s strongholds if you are willing to fight. When you come up against a stronghold, do you just want to give up? Are you willing to fight to take the stronghold? Strongholds are captured by people who are willing to fight… people with some resolve… people who can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. The Word of God and the spirit of God will show you how.

II Corinthians 10:5-6:
Casting down [kathaireō; verb form of “pulling down” in the previous verse] imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God [That’s what Paul and Timothy did in Corinth and other places.], and bringing into captivity [aichmalotizō] every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

These two verses establish three important aspects of Paul and Timothy’s spiritual warfare. Next Wednesday we will look at how to use them.