That's It! That's the Stronghold!

That’s It! That’s the Stronghold!

That’s it! That’s the Stronghold!

By Steve Backlund

In the first week of serving at one of the churches I pastored, someone told me, “This city is hard for the gospel.” I thought, “That’s it!” Agreement with negative past experience creates a stronghold! I knew if I believed that my city was hard for the gospel, I would be the biggest problem in the city. In essence, my beliefs would be the biggest stronghold hindering God’s will. 

What do you think are the greatest strongholds blocking the purposes of God? Are they demonic, regional principalities? Are they people possessed by the devil? While we don’t discount our wrestling against the principalities and powers mentioned in Ephesians 6:12, they are not the root problem. In reality, the only thing that can really hinder the will of God is what we believe. The greatest strongholds that we wrestle with are in our minds. 

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 is the most quoted spiritual warfare passage in the Bible. It does not mention the devil, but highlights the need to aggressively control our thinking. “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.” The highest level of spiritual warfare is the decision to believe and think higher than what we are experiencing and feeling. 

2 Corinthians 10:4 says we are empowered to pull down strongholds with supernatural weapons. A stronghold is a place that has been fortified to protect it against attack. A stronghold in our thinking is created by repetitive agreement with a belief. It is called a stronghold because it has a strong hold. It will defend its right to be in our thinking. It must be pulled down, demolished, and taken captive (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). 

We are called to “cast down arguments”. Our feelings and past experiences want to argue with what God says is true. Moses, Abraham, Sarah, Gideon, and a whole host of Bible characters argued with God concerning who He said they were and what He said they could do. 

The greatest strongholds blocking the purposes of God are created by Christians agreeing with their feelings and past experiences. We don’t deny the past; we just don’t get our beliefs from it. We don’t deny it has been hard, but we should not name it “hard”. If we do, then that’s the stronghold. That’s it! That is what is blocking God’s purposes. 

In talking about what the real strongholds are, I do not want to give the impression that we should ignore the devil. I am grateful for those who have powerful deliverance ministries and who help us do what Jesus did as shown in Acts 10:38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” But I believe we have greatly overemphasized the devil and underemphasized our beliefs when talking about spiritual warfare. 

We are not to call things by their past, but we are to call them by God’s promises. “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17). This is illustrated in Joel 3:10: “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’” If we are battling weakness, we may need medicine, doctors, or counseling, but even so, we are still to believe we are strong. If we call ourselves weak, then that is the stronghold that will work against all the other things we are trying to do to overcome our weakness. 

So, what argument of past experience has or is trying to create a self-limiting stronghold in your life? What arguments against God’s truth are coming out of your mouth? There is grace available to you now to demolish these arguments like never before. 

Finally, in Judges 6, the nation of Israel and the people of God were in a very dark time. They were oppressed by an unwelcome, oppressive governmental system of the Midianites. In that seemingly hopeless situation, God spoke hope to a man named Gideon. He argued at first but eventually came to a place of being fully convinced about what God was saying and about saving his nation. What’s fascinating about this is that the stronghold blocking God’s purposes was not the Midianites (negative government over them), Baal worship (a backslidden people), or a demonic principality; but it was in Gideon’s thinking. The future of the nation of Israel was locked up in Gideon’s thinking. Once he thought right, the nation was saved. 

“Gideon, that’s it! That lie in your thinking is the stronghold! It’s coming down and it will bring national revival.” 

Friends, we are the Gideons of our time. Nations will be saved as we change how we think. 

For more on topics like this, listen to my podcast by clicking the link below.


Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

Go to Top