For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV)
The Greek term translated strongholds in 2 Corinthians 10:4 occurs only in this verse in the entire New Testament. Contrary to the common teaching, these spiritual strongholds are not demons or demonic activities. In this devotional, we discuss four primary ideas that underlie the meaning of spiritual strongholds: patterns of thinking, firm control of our behavior, heavily protected areas, and opposition to God’s purposes.
But first, please note that Paul addressed the Corinthian Christians and not unbelievers in 2 Cor. 10:4. So Paul was seeking to destroy the strongholds amongst believers. In fact, the New Testament used the word stronghold only once—in connection to believers, never about demons or unbelievers.
In the verse following, Paul describes what he meant by strongholds:
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV).
Spiritual strongholds are the arguments, opinions, and thoughts that are enemies of God’s purposes, primarily amongst God’s people. These patterns of thinking refer to what we know and believe, which naturally control how we behave. But why does Paul use the military term stronghold( or fortress) to describe these thought patterns? Because they are heavily protected hideouts in our lives. Almost all of us will defend to our last breath our opinions or stand on issues—especially doctrines or theological issues. But what if what we are so sure of is wrong or against God? That is where the problem with spiritual strongholds begins.
The Corinthians had their opinions about Paul and his ministry as an Apostle. Some of them said Paul was not an Apostle, and you can be sure they had “sound” theology or arguments to defend it. But that thought pattern was fighting against God’s purposes in the Church at Corinth.
May the Lord help us all, individually and collectively as a community, to destroy strongholds in our lives.
What are spiritual strongholds?
Apply the Word
I found a terrifying truth in my study of spiritual strongholds in my life: strongholds are often hidden. If I know what I know or believe is wrong or against God, I will immediately stop believing them. Since I knew this, I always pray sincerely to ask the Father to help me not to harden my heart, hold unto a lie or defend a stronghold in ignorance. May the Lord help you, too, to address strongholds in your life, whether regarding ministry, doctrines, finances, marriage, etc.
Ask the Lord to shine light into every stronghold in your life that you have covered and guarded without realizing it.