What image pops up in the theater of your mind when you hear or visualize the word STRONGHOLD? Many people will blurt out words like bondage, hindrance, fear, captivity, sexual promiscuity, flippancy, poverty, jealousy, anger, stubbornness, rebellion, lying, addiction – substance, alcohol, and food binge. The list is long.
The mental reactions to stronghold are often combatant, self-preservation or subservient. On the basis of these reactions the inference that most people do not have a balanced understanding of the word stronghold would be accurate.
Definition of Stronghold
To have a basic understanding, let’s start with English dictionary definition. TheFreeDictionary.com defined STRONGHOLD as;
- A fortified place or a fortress.
- A place of survival or refuge.
- An area dominated or occupied by a special group or distinguished by a special quality.
Some of its synonyms are fastness, fortress, bastion, bulwark, refuge, haven, retreat, sanctuary, hide-out, and bolt hole.
Two Hebrew words used as stronghold in the bible are MISGAB which means, a secure height, Stronghold, Retreat, and MAOZ that means refuge, stronghold, fortress, place of protection; (used with head) helmet – strength, fort, rock, and most strong.
Who Cares about Strongholds?
Every entity, especially human crave strongholds. The reason we are in most relationships; be it marriage, friendship, social groups etc. is either security, synergy, social esteem, protection, prosperity or others. All of these reasons could be subsumed under stronghold. Our need for strongholds seem to heighten with our successes in life!
David you are already a king, highest authority in the country why did you desperately battled the Jebusites to dispossess them and possess their stronghold? Does the US President have a stronghold? Deep Underground Command Center, Many Secrets Bunker across the nation, Virginia, Colorado etc. Are these really necessary? Discussion!
Just as much as we seek strongholds there are organisms desperately seeking us as their stronghold. There are parasites; tapeworm, roundworm, guineaworm, flea – lice, that want to possess us as their strongholds. They want to hold fast, strongly to us and never let go their source of sustenance and preservation.
We can parallel this natural life structure with spiritual life structure. Humans seek stronghold in God. We desperately want Him to be our refuge, fortress, shelter, our dwelling place, hiding place, secret place and the place of comfort.
David unequivocally amplified our desire for spiritual stronghold in God in the following examples; 2 Samuel 22:2-3; He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me.
Psalm 9:9; The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Just as we are desirous of stronghold in God, and there are “spiritual parasites” (demons) that want to possess us and control our emotions and actions. These are bodiless entities that primarily want human bodies as habitation to legalize their control and influence over humans and the world.
As long as they inhabit humans we would be held captive as hostages. We would be hindered in living out our purposes. Humans were created to be the dwelling place of God, the hiding place of God, the secret place and the resting place of God.
We were created to be the Temple of God, His refuge, His fortress, and a place of His pleasure. Acts 7:48; Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20 – We are the Temple of God. Hebrews 3:5-6; Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. That big IF refers to conditions precedent to being God’s house.
How to Be God’s Stronghold
What must we do to be God’s active permanent pleasurable residence? I’m not taking about “hosting His presence.” God is not seeking a temporary accommodation. He does not want to be a guest in His own house! We need a realignment of our paradigm. Our worldview must be framed on the mind-view of God; a complete understanding that we are “One-in-One”.
We must intentionally yield the rights of ownership to allow Him derive comfort in using His house (us) the way He deem fit. So how do we do that? We must Keep it Clean, Keep it Filled, and Keep it Real!
Keep it Clean: Matthew 19:20-22; All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus did not say a wealthy person cannot follow Him or enter the kingdom of God. He was simply saying dispose of the possessions that are possessing you. Get rid of whatever possesses you other than God. What thought, emotion, feeling, habit or people have a strong grip (hold) on you and taking you away from God and the things of God? Paul and Peter made simple with the terms, put off the old and Put on the new! It’s a long list, anger, malice, jealousy, bitterness, rage, deceit, immorality and more. (Colossians 3:8-10, Ephesians 4:22-24,31; 1 Peter 2:1).
Keep it Filled: Matthew 12:43-45;“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.
This house of God must not be empty. What do you fill it with? Except the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam was told to eat fruits from all the trees, and foremost of them is the tree of life, symbolic of the life of God. You are what you feed on. Biologically your body will respond to the food you eat. And psychologically what you fill you mind with influences your emotion, action, habit and who you are. You are what you feed on. As a man thinks in his heart so is he. What do you feed on?
What was Jesus Christ filled with, what was He full of? If you could cut Jesus’ body when He was on earth, I’m thinking His blood cells (the red and white corpuscles) will pour out WORD of God. He knew and understood the bible so much at age 12 that he taught with high pedigree that caught the attention of the leaders and others in the Temple. He knew the word and lived by the word that He didn’t need to look for the Bible or think hard to fight back satan with the Word of God when He was tempted.
Clean up, fill up and be real! When the word of God is stored in a clean heart, the Spirit of God operates with liberty. The Word of God in a clean heart will always attract and retain the Spirit of God. David said create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right Spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).
It is with the Word and the Spirit that we can demolish the strongholds of satan, and build strongholds for God. It is with the Word and the Spirit that we can push back darkness and completely vanquish darkness. It is by the Word and the Spirit that we can overcome.
Revelation 12:1;They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. The blood here is referring to the Life of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lamb of God. The live of every creature is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). A man is a Spirit, or a man’s life is Spirit.
To understand Revelation 12:11 properly it would be rendered as “We overcome by the Spirit/Life of Jesus and the word that testifies for us.” This is how we overcome. This is God’s productivity module and consequently ours. Are there other examples? Genesis 1:1 says the earth was formless and empty, darkness was upon the face of the deep, and while the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters God said “let there be light.” He spoke the word that interacted with Spirit to create light. Luke 1:38, Angel Gabriel gave God’s word to Mary an unmarried virgin, who curiously asked how it will happen.
The Angel revealed that the Spirit of God will come upon her and she conceive. When Mary received the word by saying “let it be unto me according to your word,” the Spirit and the Word of God interacted, then she conceived. It is this same production module that produces a recreated human spirit, (John 3:5). Clean up, fill up, and be real!
Keep it real: The foundation and completion of our connection with God must be LOVE. From conception to continuation, its love! Deuteronomy 6:5; Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Luke 10:27; He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Devote yourself and everything you have to God. Love Him completely and relentlessly. When you are real, you are hot for God.