Have you ever felt like you were literally a prisoner of your own thoughts or mind? Like you were trapped in a certain mindset or pattern of thinking, and saw no light at the end of the tunnel?
Often, the longer we maintain a detrimental thought pattern the less likely it seems we will ever be able to break out of it. We start to attribute it to our personality…’it’s just who I am’. Or worse, we view ourselves as helpless victims to it, with no power or responsibility.
I spent so many years feeling like I was in a daily battle with my thoughts. I wanted so badly to take them captive (though I didn’t understand what that meant). I was pretty sure I would take my ‘issues’ to the grave.
In christian conversations we often call these issues ‘strongholds’.
God has done some amazing stronghold-breaking work in my life over the years. And I’m so grateful!
Lately, I’ve been reading and studying the Psalms. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a wonderful 30 day devo, by the way, if you’re looking for a good place to start digging into them.
Over and over again I kept seeing the word ‘stronghold’. I knew the Old Testament referenced God as a stronghold but I’d never really given much thought to that, beyond the obvious fact that He is the Strong Tower we can run to in times of trouble.
I began looking into this word, ‘stronghold’. With a little digging, and some helpful insight from my pastor (thanks Spencer Haygood) I came to realize that there are two (actually three) original words that over time became the word we use today). And I was struck by their implications.
In the Old Testament, there are two words used over and over that we translate as ‘stronghold’. Both refer to high walls, a fortress, a strong tower. Both allude to the protection that tower provides, a safe place. Each time they are used they are describing God as that tower we run to for our protection.
In the New Testament there is a different word, and it’s only used once. It refers to those false arguments we are to take captive in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. This would be the stronghold we are so accustomed to talking about today. These are the thoughts that are contrary to God. These are the lies the enemy wants us to believe to keep our eyes off the Lord.
Isn’t it interesting that this word is only used once, in light of the many times the word is used to describe God as our safe place?
And yet, if you’re like me, the picture that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘stronghold’ is likely one of imprisonment.
And that’s exactly where the enemy wants us. Focused on those thoughts contrary to God’s word.
What if we just decided to switch towers?
What if the next time we caught ourselves entertaining those thoughts we feel so bound by, we ran over to the Stronghold that offers protection and safety instead?
It won’t happen accidentally. And it won’t happen in our own strength.
But if we begin to actually shout truths at the lies (maybe don’t shout if you’re in public, but don’t be afraid to whisper loudly…the devil can’t read your mind!) we can cause those strongholds, those walls of the heart, to come crumbling down.
I imagine it would be kind of like the VeggieTales episode my son loves right now, the one about Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.
I can just see the enemy sitting up on the walls shouting down ‘it’s plain to see, your brains are very small to think walking…will be knocking down our walls’
Yeah…those walls fell down. And so can the ones we feel so imprisoned by.
Replace lies with Truth.
Speak Truth to yourself.
I’m not talking about some pop psychology/self-help/positive thinking/mumbo-jumbo. I’m talking about capital-T Truth!
We have everything we need in the scriptures to destroy strongholds. And then hop on over to the Stronghold who loves you dearly, and desires for you to find your full satisfaction in Him.
It’s a much nicer view!
But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. (Psalm 94:22 ESV)