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We Must Deal with the Stronghold in our Life
- The Challenge–Causes of Strongholds
- What is a stronghold?
The Stronghold in our Life
- The true, exegetical explanation of strongholds as I’ve learned this past Sabbath through Arthur’s message and my own studies of the chapter has completely changed my understanding of the term
- As it relates to the concept of strongholds and the need for them to be pulled down in a believer’s life, I now understand that much of the problems facing us (in the Messianic and Hebraic Roots communities as well as traditional christianity) isn’t always related to demon possession or demonic influences
- Much of the problem actually rests with and within each of us
- strongholds are deeply ingrained systems of thought/worldviews/perceptions that have taken hold within our psyches as a result of our environment, our personal dispositions, history, culture, etc.
- That which we inherit shapes our world views (environment–conditioning) and thus strongholds develop
- Television/media/books/water cooler
- These systems prevent us from operating or walking out our Faith
- The enemy will blind the mind. Sustainable deliverance comes only through Yehovah
- Trying to cut through these systems or strongholds is impossible through normal, carnal means
- I believe the reason why the Messianic/Hebraic Roots Faith is having such a difficult time being accepted in Christian circles, is because we have failed to understand that the problem is not only a religious problem, but in most cases the problem is spiritual in nature
- dealing with spiritual problems requires a specialized arsenal of weapons
- my entire focus with this ministry has been to reason with people to understand the necessity to return to the Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith. But I now understand that I may have approached how I carried out this commission and conducted many aspects of my life entirely wrong
- Indeed, this past Sabbath caused me to see that many of the things I’ve done in my life, I did or failed to do through the existence of strongholds in my life (personal issues that I am currently working through after being convicted of them this past Sabbath)
- As a result of those strongholds and realizing that at times I had been too weak or spiritually ill-equipped to tear them down through conventional means–i.e., physically trying to correct them vs. using the spiritual weapons provided only through the grace of Yehovah, my walk with Yeshua Messiah has not been as it should and certainly not as it could
- I know that some of those strongholds still linger and require spiritual weapons to bring them down in my life
- Mat. 11:25-30–there are people carrying burdens (i.e., strongholds) that prevent them from enjoying life–
25 ¶ aAt that 1time Jesus answered and said, “I 2praise Thee, O bFather, Lord of heaven and earth, that cThou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes. 26 “Yes, aFather, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight. 27 a“All things 1have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one 2knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone 2know the Father, bexcept the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 a“Come to Me, all 1who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you, and alearn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and byou shall find rest for your souls. 30 “For aMy yoke is 1easy, and My load is light.” (Mat 11:25-30 NAS)
- Fear keeps us from making charges
- why fear?
- Is it fear or more so, personal comfort; unwillingness to step outside our comfort zones?
- Certainly for some, fear of change is a plausible factor. But what about those who know better but are caught in the clutches of things that prevent us from walking out our faith
- we are typically willing to make changes in our lives when we find out that it is for our own well being–changes in diet; changes in life practices
Jer 17:5-11- 5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.1 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jer 17:5-10 KJV)
- Strongholds exists in even the most spiritually solid of us:
- 2 Sam 11 & 12–>the story of David’s adultery and treachery
- Uriah the Hittite
- Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah
- Nathan, the prophet
NAS 2 Samuel 12:1 ¶ Then the LORD sent a Nathan to David. And bhe came to him, and 1said, “There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 “The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 3 “But the poor man had nothing except aone little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his 1bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. 4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he 1was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this 1adeserves to die.
6 “And he must make restitution for the lamb afourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” 7 ¶ Nathan then said to David, a“You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, b‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 ‘I also gave you ayour master’s house and your master’s wives into your 1care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! 9 ‘Why ahave you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? bYou have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, chave taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.
10 ‘Now therefore, athe sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; aI will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives in 1broad daylight. 12 ‘Indeed ayou did it secretly, but bI will do this thing before all Israel, and 1under the sun.'” 13 Then David said to Nathan, a“I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has 1btaken away your sin; you shall not die. 14 “However, because by this deed you have agiven occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” (2Sa 12:1-14 NAS)
- The problem with holding on to strongholds and not taking care of them expeditiously is that they lead to spiritual failures and sin. Sin leads to spiritual death, in many cases even physical. Especially when we know better. There are no free lunches in life. Whatever a man sows, thus shall he reap
- We are all victims of strongholds to some greater and lesser extent–if we are honest and true to ourselves. Wouldn’t you agree. What strongholds exist in your life that go unattended and left to hinder your walk with Yeshua Messiah?
The Issue and the Solution Expounded Upon Brilliantly by Shaul
Now aI, Paul, myself burge you by the cmeekness and gentleness of Christ– I who dam 1meek [lowly] when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! (2Co 10:1 NAS)
- In other words, Shaul is making appeals to the Corinthian assembly in a spirit of meekness and forebearance that is characteristic of Yeshua Messiah
- Shaul admits that when he was in their presence he was timid but when absent he was as the CJB describes-intimidating and the NAB as brave
NAS 2 Corinthians 10:2 I ask that awhen I am present I may not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against bsome, who regard us as if we walked caccording to the flesh. (2Co 10:2 NAS)
- Shaul begs the Corinthians not to put him into a position to be intimidating towards them when he finds himself again in their presence as he is often forced to do when he is dealing with those outside the faith who see him as simply one of them
- For the next several verses of the 10th chapter, Shaul tackles the challenging topic of spiritual warfare and strongholds
- spiritual warfare in the Hebraic Roots and Messianic Communities has become sort of taboo
- reminds Hebraic Roots and Messianics too much of their former lives in evangelical churchianity
- but has coming over to the Hebraic Roots of our faith and rejecting spiritual warfare and the work of the Ruach Kodesh resulted in us collectively throwing the “baby out with the bath water?”
- I went through a phase initially where I rejected the works of the spirit and in many cases I even wondered as some have suggested, that miracles were not of the Ruach Kodesh (yes, a sticky, risky position to be in I realize that now)
- Arthur Bailey’s ministry helped me to realize that Messianics and Hebraic Roots folks must put the Ruach back in to the Faith if we are to maximize our potential as disciples of the Messiah
- Going to a few conferences over the last couple years and seeing for myself the lack of interest on the part of Messianics for Arthur’s message was disheartening to me. Initially I struggled having that same temperament and attitude
- In fact, the current state of the Messianic and Hebraic Roots Faith is too focused on the carnal and Torah. Certainly Torah is huge to our Faith. Yet each day that we are in this world, we are dealing with things that are spiritual in nature and have very little to do with the flesh, although these things tend to manifest in the fleshly state.
- If we are to succeed in this very difficult walk–walk out our Faith–our dealings with these issues which turn out to be spiritual, must be done through spiritual methods and spiritual methods alone
- But as Shaul writes in verse 3:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war aaccording to the flesh, 4 for the aweapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but 1divinely powerful bfor the destruction of fortresses [stongholds. 5 We are destroying speculations and every alofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the bobedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever ayour obedience is complete. (2Co 10:3-6 NAS)
- a stronghold according to the Friberg Lexicon is a military technical term “fortified place or a bastion.” In the renewed covenant, it stands for a strong system of philosophy and reasoned arguments such as false arguments, that are opposed to the knowledge of Yehovah
- this is the only place that this term is used to describe ingrained philosophies and reasoned arguments against the things of Yehovah
- the Louw-Nida Lexicon suggests rendering this verse as follows: “powerful weapons with which to destroy false arguments in the same way that people would destroy fortresses”
- I recall growing up in the Southern Baptist Church and later on in my young adult life, attending charismatic churches, the terms strongholds was always used to describe “demon possession” or places and situations where demonic activity was suspected and aimed to be eradicated through intense prayer, anointing with oil, the laying on of hands (which seemed to always result in the alleged victim being “slain” in the spirit)
- The weapons of our warfare are not carnal
- We can’t simply deal with some of the issues plaguing us as individuals and our brothers and sisters in the Faith by carnal methods
- Even our prayers are lacking the power and intensity to handle many of these problems
- vs. 5–casting down imaginations requires that we confront self
- imaginations in the Greek translates as a plural when used in the renewed covenant, according to the Friberg Lexicon, as the activity of one’s reasoning powers, thoughts, calculations, reflections; in a negative sense misleading arguments
- these thoughts, reasonings, calculations and reflections don’t only manifest in debates over whether one should worship on the Sabbath or obedience to Torah, but also manifest ever so powerfully in our own minds
- we rationalize about many of the things that we are doing in our lives–some things worse than others–and that it’s justifiable or that we can get away with them
- how many times have we heard the argument that God knows my heart?
- it’s not until these reasonings and arguments, be they external or internal, are cast down that the true knowledge of Yehovah can be realized in our lives
- once these imaginations are finally brought down in our lives, it falls upon us to bring every thought to the obedience of Messiah
- that is the challenge!!
- this walk is impossible without the aid of the Rauch Kodesh
- I struggle with this constantly in my life
Call to Action
- What strongholds exist in your life? Pornography? Adultery? Idolatry? Greed? Anger? Hatred? Lying? Stealing? Denial of the truths that you know exist yet you rationalize them and justify them and give credence to them such as working on the Sabbath, allowing others to keep you captive in a Faith/religion you know is not right? Do you continue to succumb to them because it is easier to give in than to resist or seek assistance and guidance from Yehovah as to how you show eliminate them from your life
- Are you woman enough; man enough to own up to them?
- Are you aware of the origin and cause of these strongholds?
- What defense mechanisms have you erected to justify the existence of the strongholds in your life that overshadow the knowledge and Yehovah and His will for our lives? Are you able to face those imaginations and cast them down?
- this is the work that Shaul had in front of him. By virtue of our calling as disciples of Yeshua Messiah, we have been given no less a task–tearing down strongholds through the employment of spiritual warfare; casting down those arguments that exalt themselves against the knowledge of Yehovah; and then teaching self-control that leads to bringing every thought to the obedience of Messiah
- but in order for us to be effective in our calling, we must deal with the strongholds in our own lives. This is not at all easy
- there is nothing like this in existence. This passage, like several others in the holy writ, delineates the true followers of Yeshua Messiah from the wanna be’s
Arthur Bailey’s Teaching on Pulling Down Strongholds