Every emotion and action has their existence rooted in a thought. A thought is intrinsically harmless, but whenever we pause to consider the thought through the eyes of the flesh, we give power to the thought.
Whether a negative or a positive outcome results from our meditation upon the thought, the power given to the thought by way of the flesh leads to a deceptive view of ourselves and the world around us. Our identity is not found in a fleshly analysis of our thoughts and surroundings; our identity is found in the love and the cross of Christ. But, when we leave our identity in Christ, we give the enemy space to creep into our lives, where he quietly begins to construct a spiritually destructive wall within us and around our minds, known as a stronghold.
A stronghold is an area of safety and advantage held by a force involved in the battle. As Christians, we have been given the mind of Christ and the victory of Christ, who is our Strong Tower. However, when we choose to not defend the ground and the Godly stronghold that Christ has already won and established within us, we lay a foundation for Satan to set up a safe place within our minds. As a created being, Satan does not know our thoughts, but he and his fallen servants are able to observe human behavior and pick up on our active patterns. Since our actions and emotions are driven by our thoughts, Satan is able to infer our thoughts by simple observation. He uses this against us by patiently waiting for a weak moment to pour his deception into our minds. Once we dwell upon the deceptive thought with the feeble mind of our flesh, we are trapped within the bounds of Satan’s stronghold. The ability of an army to thrive and prevail in the battle relies on the reality, the safety, and the supplication of the stronghold. By dwelling on the thought in the flesh instead of releasing the thought to God, we feed and supply Satan’s spiritual stronghold within us.
Even though Christ removes our sin nature and gives us His spirit nature when we become a Christian, we still deal with the presence of the flesh and the desires, patterns, and habits associated with the old self. Because of this, strongholds can be established by the footprint from our environment, traumatic experiences, ongoing temptation, etc. Our flesh knows no other way but to identify with and receive some sort of false security within the imprint of the old self. Whether an addiction, anxiety, busyness, popularity, success, acceptance, control, etc., everyone has a spiritual stronghold. Satan will use any area or observed weakness within our lives to distract us from spending time with God and establishing a real, living relationship with God. This only leads to a strengthened sin/confess cycle. However, in Christ, we are not defined by our former sin nature and defeating cycles, but we must be careful to not allow a new stronghold of self-effort to be launched. Within the fleeting power of self-effort, we experience an exhausting mismatch between our outer spiritual appearance and our inward spiritual reality. Behavior modification will only magnify our depravity apart from God. But, within this brokenness, God is able to intervene and reveal His power that is greater than both the flesh and the temporary ruler of this world. In our brokenness and weakness, He is made strong.
In Christ, we have already died to the power of the flesh and of the demonic realm; we are in Christ and have victory in Christ. We do not overcome this battle by fighting in our own power but by standing in Christ’s power. This opens our eyes to the responsibility that we have as Christians to deliberately submit our lives to God and daily renew our minds. We must come before God with a teachable spirit so that God can release and use the power and the blessings that He has already placed inside each of His children. We have been given the mind of Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; therefore, we can choose to live in the spirit and fortify our minds with the strength of Christ, who has the power to break every stronghold and hide us within the strong shelter of His arms.