by Niki Turner
Strongholds are places and/or things in which we place our confidence outside of God and His Word; things we build up in our minds that represent safety, security, and a place of refuge, but in actuality are little more than mirages in the desert.
What is a stronghold, you ask? One source defines a stronghold as a "house made of thoughts." That agrees with Paul's letter to the church at Corinth:
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."
2 Cor 10:3-6 NKJV (emphasis added)
The problem with building our own strongholds (and we all have them) is that the self-constructed barriers we erect to protect ourselves from hurt, from humiliation, from the harsh reality of life, eventually turn into self-made prisons.
Strongholds can take on many forms and features, appearing to be a safe place, a necessary defense, or even a proactive measure of protection, but the underlying characteristic all strongholds share is fear.
and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Fear of death isn't just fear of physical or spiritual death, it's fear of ANY kind of death or loss or ending – relational, emotional, financial, etc. It's the abused woman who won't leave her abusive spouse for fear she'll never find love. It's the addict who is afraid to let go of the substance for fear of the pain he or she will find in sobriety. The miser who clings and clutches to every penny for fear there won't be another one coming to meet his or her needs. It's the student who fails to turn in assignments and is perpetually tardy and sabotages his or her GPA. It's the writer who can't release a manuscript to a crit group or an agent or a publisher for fear of rejection.Heb 2:15 NKJV
What's holding you back today? Is it the strongholds you've built to protect yourself that have turned into a self-made prison? Have you snared yourself in your own net? Are you caught in a prison of your own making? It's time to escape to the freedom that belongs to you in Christ Jesus. How? Thought by thought, moment by moment, feeling by feeling. Until we reach the place of true freedom––total confidence in Christ.
Father God, I pray today that you would reveal to each of us the hidden strongholds that have held us back, hindered us from the joy and peace to which we are called in Christ, and limited us in our endeavors to glorify and honor You. Lord, pour out upon your daughters the supernatural grace we need to tear down those man-made strongholds and step into the fullness of our place and position in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Mother of four, grandmother of one, Niki Turner is an only child, wife of a former pastor, and lover of fiction. Her dream is to create settings and plots and characters that carry the reader into another realm, at least for as long as it takes to read the story!