Tearing Down Strongholds, Part 2

Imagine going to the doctor’s office with severe pain. Instead of identifying the symptoms and making an accurate diagnosis, the physician only guesses at the problem and gives you a pain-killer. Would that resolve the health problem? No. (I recall a young man from our church going to the hospital with seriious abdominal pain; he required an emergency appendectomy but then recovered. Accurate diagnosis and relevant treatment saved his life.) [1]. Likewise, spiritual conflicts need to be traced back to root causes and be scripturally resolved.

A counselor’s manual has identified the following “symptoms” of demonic oppression:

1. Compulsion to abuse animals or people

2. Sexual perversion and immorality (homosexuality, molestation, etc.)

3. A compulsion to abuse your body (drugs, alcohol, gluttony, abuse or misuse of other substances, etc.)

4. Seeking spiritual knowledge through Eastern religions and other counterfeit religious groups.(TM, yoga, humanism, etc.)

5. Involvement in occult practices (fortune-telling, Satanism, etc.)

6. Mental distress or oppression (anxiety, fear, anger, disorientation, etc.)

7. Psychological disorders (split personalities, paranoia, etc.)

8. Physical disorders may be demon caused (Matt 9:32-33)

9. Lack of freedom and joy in the Lord (spiritual bondage)

10. Inability or constant refusal to repent of sin, though you know you are sinning (rebellion).[1]

Charles Fairbairn noted how strongholds of the Enemy restrict forward progress in life:

“Oh, into what a state does the human heart get when under the … control of Satan. Plans to reform miscarry, resolutions lose their grip, determination is abortive, will power falters and fails; the human spirit, helpless and hopeless, discouraged, dejected, melancholy, heartbroken, cries out against this slavery, ‘O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me?'”(Rom.7:24).[2]

Thankfully, the believer in Christ is free from Satan’s authority, yet the possibility of having strongholds in the mind continues. Our soul can give “ground” to the Enemy, resulting in deceptions with the resulting bondage and conflicts.[3] Thankfully, Christ’s victory is more than adequate to redeem the lost person from the domain of darkness. King Jesus is also fully able to deliver the struggling child of God from demonic oppression! (Col. 1:13; Eph. 6:10-17).

Christ announced the scope of His victory when He fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim LIBERTY to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at LIBERTY those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:18; Isaiah 49:8-9 emphasis added).

When we have had enough of the tormenting symptoms of oppression, it’s time to appropriate the freedom that is legally ours in Christ.

How can we tear down “strongholds”?

1. Humble yourself.

Satan’s original sin was pride (Isaiah 14:13-14). Augustine identified pride as man’s root sin also. The remedy? “… ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:6,7; See 1 Pet. 5;5-8).

2. Affirm Christ’s victory over Satan.

As the writer of Hebrews announced, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He [Christ] Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14,15; See Col. 2:14-15).

3. Repent of any unconfessed sin.

Instead of making excuses, blame-shifting, or denying it, we are to agree with God and call sin SIN; then it qualifies for cleansing. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9; See Rev. 2:16). Although believers are free from sin’s condemnation, we are still vulnerable to its solicitation (Rom. 3:24; 8:1; 1 Cor. 10:13).

4. Claim the power of the blood of Christ.

This is the basis of victory: “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11; See Zech. 3:1-5).

5. Renounce false beliefs.

Rationalized disobedience and deceptive thoughts (accepted unknowingly from the Enemy), have functioned as destructive “strongholds.” Yet, as soon as you appropriate Christ’s victory to that area, the chains fall off! It need not be a long, drawn-out process. The Holy Spirit reveals the truth that sets you free (John 8:32).

Rejecting false beliefs requires the use of SPIRITUAL weapons: “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” (2 Cor 10:3-5).

6. Ask God to take back the “ground.”

In Jude 9, we read, “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him [Satan] a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!'” Without going into the details of the event, note that Michael’s strategy was to call upon GOD’s authority to rebuke Satan. Instead of putting on spiritual boxing gloves to “go at it” with the devil, we are to simply comply with our scriptural responsibilities, call upon God, and He will make the devil “flee” (James 4:7).

7. Affirm God’s corresponding truth.

For example, If we have been bound by guilt over something in the past, we should affirm, “The truth is that no condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are ‘in’ Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 -Phillips; See Titus 2:14). When Christ was tempted by Satan, He repeatedly quoted the Word of God–“It is written!” Deception binds, but truth liberates. God’s Word is “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:16; Matt .4:4-11; John 8:32; 17:17).

The following testimony of freedom illustrates the value of tearing down strongholds.

“For 14 years I suffered from anger, bitterness, impure thoughts, and nightmares. When I was 3, my parents were divorced, and I was given to my mother. One day, my father took me from my mother. He put me in a day care center while he worked. In the day care center, a 15 year old boy repeatedly molested me. He threatened to kill me if I told anyone. I did not tell anyone until I was 10 years old.
“Last night, I watched and listened as the chart on tearing down strongholds was explained. Tears filled my eyes as I saw how that chart applied to me. I realized how wrong I was in covering that boy’s sin for all those years. I understood how I had given ‘ground’ to Satan by my bitterness and how the tormentors were afflicting me with fear, anger, lust, and nightmares.
“At 11:40 last night I called my mother and step father. I told them how I had allowed a boy to damage the least important part of me [my body] to also damage my spirit, which is the most important part of me. I explained how dedicating my body to God would mean that it was GOD’S body he molested and that I was then sharing in the sufferings of Christ [Col. 1:24].
“It was then that my mother revealed to me that I am the fourth generation in our family that has gone through this kind of abuse and experienced the resulting problems. My mom was very excited about this new material on tearing down strongholds, which was also helpful to her. At 12:30 we prayed [and took the biblical steps for gaining freedom in Christ]. I got off the phone at 1:15 am with a new sense of freedom and victory in the Lord. I had heard other people talk about having this kind of freedom, but I never knew what it was like. Now I’m experiencing it firsthand!”[4]

Let’s appropriate our full freedom in Christ and enjoy the benefits of the victory He has won!

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).

Part 2 of 2


[1] We also thank the Lord for the young man’s recovery, since the church prayed for him during this crisis.

[2] The CBN Ministry Handbook, (Tyndale House, 1985), p.94.

[3] Charles V. Fairbairn, Tarry Ye, (Light & Life Press, Winona Lake, IN., 1948), p.91.

[4] Known but unconfessed sin gives Satan “ground.” Ephesians 4:27 was written to Christians: “nor give PLACE [ground] to the devil.” The Greek word translated “place” is “topos.” In the N.T. it usually refers to a geographical place; it is also used metaphorically (as in Eph. 4:27) to denote, “the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly; opportunity, power, occasion for acting” (Thayer’s Lexicon). In Acts 25:16 it refers to legal grounds. Roman governor Festus said of imprisoned Paul, “It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have LICENCE [“topos” ] to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.”

[5] A Comprehensive Course in Effective Counseling, Advanced Training Institute, Oak Brook, IL. http://www.iblp.org. The seven points are also adapted from this course.

Honorable Mention

Video: We will Rise. “We celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and for good reason. But what if the Resurrection is inviting us — even challenging us — to allow the life of Christ to rise up within us, for the sake of the world? His story didn’t end in the grave. Neither will yours.” See this Igniter Media video here.

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