A stronghold is a place of safety. It offers protection from the enemy. Strongholds are able to withstand assaults that would normally topple other places. In 2 Samuel 5:6-10 The city of Jerusalem was so sure of its ability to continue withstand the attacks from the children of Israel that they boasted that even the blind and lame among they could withstand David. He prevailed and took the city. It was then established as the city of David, a stronghold for Israel. From this city war was successfully waged against the enemies of Israel.
Strongholds can be good and bad. Examples of good strongholds are:
- Hope. Zechariah 9:12 ‘Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you’.
- Faith. Faith is unshakable belief in the God and his promises. It is so strong that it hopes against hope. In the face of seeming adversity hope and faith will give us peace of mind, joy and happiness. To the unbeliever it is irrational. Hebrews 11:1 ‘Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]’.
- Word of God.
- The anointing. It is the fire of God’s Holy Spirit.
Examples of bad strongholds are:
Strongholds are enforced by:
- False doctrines.
- Rituals. Routines done to entreat the favor of God but are not scriptural.
- Worldliness. This is faith that is only
- Self-will. It is ultimately the will of God that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 ‘Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out)’. We receive God’s best when we do His will. Self-will can be the source of much, much unhappiness.
- Limiting self-belief that is not grounded in the Word of God.
Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23 Amplified Bible (AMP)
3 He told them many things in parables, saying, “Listen carefully: a sower went out to sow [seed in his field]; 4 and as he sowed, some seed fell beside the road [between the fields], and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil; and at once they sprang up because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and thorns came up and choked them out. 8 Other seed fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much [as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty. 9 He who has ears [to hear], let him hear and heed My words.”
18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
In verse 4 we are told that the birds of the air come to snatch the Word of God from us. The birds of the air of Jesus informs us is the devil who comes to snatch the Word. He does it by stealing the word from us by planting doubt, unbelief or wavering.
Let us examine these agents of unbelief.
Doubt is derived from from the Greek word Distazo. It means to be uncertain about something. It will consider it questionable or unlikely to occur. It is also a hesitation to believe. You will hear the words like ‘I will believe it when I see it’ being used to express our doubts. It is borne from a distrust. Our distrust is normally framed by bad experiences.
Unbelief is derived from the Greek word Apistia. It is the state or quality of not believing. It is also incredulity or skepticism, especially. in matters of doctrine or religious faith.
Another bird of the air is wavering. The originates from the greek word Diakrino. It means to be hesitant to believe. We reserve our acceptance until we have applied reasoning and fundamental logic. While God has given us given us a mind to think there will be times when He will challenge our logic. We may be asked to do something that is beyond our ability to understand. Miracles are a result of the natural, logical rules being broken. Jesus turned dirty water to wine at the marriage in Cana, in Galilee. When his mother asked him to provide them with wine, he told the servants to fill the jars used for the ceremonial washing of feet, then to extract it. The first sample was given to the master of ceremony. Who exclaimed that ‘it was better than the first wine served’. He did not know what happened.(see Genesis 3:1-10). Wavering also comes in double-mindedness. It is a failure to make a decision. God frowns on double-mindedness. James 1:8 ‘A double minded man is unstable in all his ways‘. James 4:8 ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.’
How it is Formed
How does unbelief operate in our life?
- God tells us what His plans are for us, either by the written word or directly telling us or by using a Prophet, to inform us.
- Very shortly after we receive the word and are joyful to receive it. The second voice comes. This is the voice that spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:1-7). It is the voice that comes to us to attempt to cause us to doubt God’s Word. It reminds you of past disappointments. Reminds you of the actions of people. It makes you feel that what God has said will not occur or causes you to question the validity of the words.
Consequences of Unbelief
There are many consequences for unbelief.
- Unnatural delays in receiving the things of God. Prophetic word stands over our life for a long time without us seeing the manifestation.
- Robs us of the blessings of God. He comes to him must believe he exists and he is a rewarder of them the diligently seek him.
- It immobilises us from pushing to attain our goals. We only talk about them. But never act.
- It attaches our self-esteem. We are constantly reminded of the past disappointments. It becomes our evidence for not moving to attain our destiny.
- It stops us from prospering.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Demolishing the Stronghold
To take a stronghold you have to be strategic. It is not easily taken. Thankfully we have a sure power that guarantees victory. God in His mercy ensured that we will easily overcome it by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the anointing that destroys, that breaks us free, from the bondage of unbelief.
- Acknowledge its existence. Be honest with yourself. Listen to the words you speak and the conversations that attracts you.
- Announce a divorce.
- Reject it. Break free from this unholy union. That diminishes your joy and your peace.
- Repent. It is a sin. God did not allow the 1st Generations of Israel to enter the Promise Land because of their unbelief (Psalm Hebrews 3:11-13 ‘So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’” 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin’.
- Replace it with a good stronghold of faith in God’s Word.
- Refuse to accept what you see or feel. Resolve to believe the Word of God with your whole heart.
- Find the scriptures that apply to what you believe. Look for what God’s Word says regarding His promise. Hosea 4:6 ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.’
- Confess your faith. Use a scripture to reinforce your belief. Command your day by confessing your faith every day. It is best to do it in the early hours of the morning before you go about your day.
- Take action. Act on the Word of God. Do whatever you are told to do. It does not matter how enormous the task seem. Ask God to give you wisdom. Ask Him to give you understanding. Ask Him to give you mentors to help you accomplish the task. Action releases your faith.
- Break free from company that keeps you in a state of unbelief. Do not let anyone change your mind. You have to be fierce about defending the promise. You have to defend it like a lioness and her cubs.
Reinforcing Your Belief
These are examples of confessions that you may make daily.
- I believe in the promises of God. I know that anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame according Romans 10:11
- I need not be afraid. The Lord is my protector. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 ‘But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one’.
- God’s word regarding my health, my finances, my job, my marriage, my family, my destiny will be established. Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
- The blessing of the Lord is on my household and everything we do because we obey the Lord. There shall not be any sickness or disease in my house. Everything we do shall prosper. I invoke the blessings of Deuteronomy 28:1-14 over my household (read it) and Exodus 23:25-26 ‘So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your day’ and Deuteronomy 28:1-14 over my household. (Please read the blessing in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 out loud).
- I have already overcome temptations, before they come, God has made a way for my victory already (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- There is power in the name of Jesus Christ. It is mightier than any other name (Philippians 2:9).
It is only when you accept the Word of God and act on it will you that prosper. It is then that you will receive the promise of God. Matthew 13:23 tells us that what we receive will be many, many times more than the effort we have put in. The payback will be a hundred times, sixty times or thirty times more than our investment.