“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Strongholds are fortresses where Satan’s demonic hoards set up their residence and attach themselves to your life in a very personal way; the weaker the believer the easier the enemy’s job and the more secure his stronghold. Weak believers are abundant in our churches today. Ultimately, if a significant enough number of weak believers become entrenched in a congregation the entire fold may very well become an encampment for the enemy.
Paul the apostle, knew how to fight those strongholds and it wasn’t through the use of carnal weaponry. In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul gives us a list of the spiritual weapons to be used as we stand against the enemy the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. It’s a war we’re in and these are our weapons for battle. God knows exactly what we need to fight this war and how to arm His soldiers (believers).
Weak believers might try to use persuasive words as a weapon, or manipulation, even portraying an image of success as their spiritual weapon. These are not weapons with which to fight a spiritual battle, these are weapons of political diplomacy where compromise and making concessions to the enemy is championed.
Using the perception of power and human schemes and programs to set up feeble attempts to stifle or dispose of the enemy strongholds is a recipe for failure. Strong, capable believers are those who probe deep into their Bibles and search and learn the Scriptures and take heed of those scriptures. These are the folks which give Satan his most fierce opposition.
“Our spiritual weapons are scorned by the world, but feared by demonic powers. When we fight with truth, righteousness, evangelism, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer, no principality or power can stand against us.” —John Trapp
The believer’s enemy has little opportunity for building strongholds when we are fitted for battle with God’s weaponry. He’s forced to stand by and watch or flee as believers roll out the heavy artillery belonging to the Lord. It frustrates the enemy when believers are so well equipped. No matter what Satan throws at us, if we are strong in our faith and secure in our biblical knowledge the minions of evil will always retreat.
Congregations need strong, committed believers in their midst. When more believers submit to Jesus’ authority and His precepts wholeheartedly each Christian fold flourishes. New believers need to be equipped in this battle from the start of their conversion. We must remember that conversion is only the beginning, too many treat it like it’s the end, and that once they become believers that’s good enough.
Many congregations today are overly focused on new membership, adding noses add billfolds to the fold. But neglecting a regime of teaching new converts will undoubtedly compel the enemy to increase his strongholds.
Pastors especially need to rally the troops and lead in the battle to proclaim God’s Word and adhere to it completely. If we aren’t really following Jesus wholeheartedly then we aren’t empowered thoroughly. What does it mean to follow Jesus wholeheartedly?
Everything Jesus taught becomes our way of life. We don’t argue with our Savior. His way is the only way. Partial or a less than total commitment just won’t do for fending off the enemy or for eliminating his strongholds.
Weak, uncommitted believers damage the folds ability to stand against the wiles of the devil. They are a drain, if you will, on the whole congregation. Basically, what we need to see in the Body of Christ is the same thing we see in our national sports teams, “total commitment.”
A sports team works together to accomplish their goal, and are successful only as a team. If one person is carrying all the weight on their shoulders, that team will ultimately fail. In the Believers case it’s a thorough and complete commitment to the cause of Christ.
All believers are in the game and carry the same weight. If some, or in the case of many congregations today most, allow others to carry all the weight the Christian Church weakens. Certainly we see this all around America, the true Body of Christ is diminishing.
Enemy-built strongholds thrive in weak congregations. Weak congregations are those consisting of people who are uneducated in the truth of the Bible. They attend church services every week but seldom, if ever. pick up their Bibles during their away-from-church time.
There are 168 hours in a week, and the vast majority of Christians only devote one hour a week to God Almighty. That leaves 167 hours to weaken and get into mischief. I know what many of you will say “Some devote two or three hours per week and more to church and to study.”
Most people these days place studying God’s Word at the bottom of their priority scale. Let’s be honest, if we aren’t interested in learning what God says in His word, if we place more interest and devotion in worldly pursuits, then how will we ever fend off the advances of the enemy? It just isn’t going to happen.
Unpopular as this subject may be, it’s the most important focus believers must concentrate on as they adhere themselves to God’s will. Building our walls of protection through the word of God is imperative. It won’t happen through a single hour in Church on Sunday mornings.
God’s power to overcome the enemy’s advances in our lives is only accessed through our faith in Him and our fervent prayers and Bible study. Understand, my brethren, our commitment to Jesus really means we will not deviate from His plan.
We will not let anything come between us and our devotion to Him. Then, and only then, will we be a part of the winning team. Believers know that, as the Body of Christ, we are on the winning team which means no matter who promotes a different gospel it won’t affect us because we’re able to differentiate the truth from a lie. As biblically knowledgeable believers we will only adhere to the truth. But be careful my brethren “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
Jesus tells us to be watchful of deception: “And He said, Take heed that ye be not deceived…” (Luke 21:8)
Deception comes in many forms, such as smooth talkers, deceptive practices, blatant liars, even well meaning but misinformed pastors can lead to deception. Satan has designed some deceptions for the intent of specifically corrupting the saints.
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:5)
Jesus gave His disciples many specific warnings about the deceptions to come. Many would come in His name saying they are the Christ; history has proved that prophecy correct. Many have been led astray by these false Christ’s, having fallen for that great deception. We, as His followers, are admonished by Him that deceptive people abound, ready to lead us down that slippery slope to destruction.
Believers won’t fall for that deception if we are strong in our faith and utilizing God’s awesome power in our lives. But if we’ve allowed the enemy in to build his strongholds then the result is a flood of deception. Remember the deceptions are many and most of the time they are thrown in with a bit of truth, just enough mind you to sound biblical to the uninformed ear.
It is very difficult to eliminate the enemy’s strongholds from within the Body of Christ; it doesn’t take much to weaken believers today. The Body of Christ is constantly being attacked and weakened. When the church allows evil to permeate its fold, it permits the infusion of evil intent which is bent upon destroying the Body itself, and the cause of Christ suffers greatly.
More and more this is happening around the world because Christians aren’t standing on God’s precepts. Either they don’t know the truth, or they don’t believe God’s Word. They don’t take the Scriptures seriously, consequently they put no stock in the warning from Jesus Himself and more strongholds are erected in favor of the enemy.
Just take a look at how the contemplative/emergent/purpose driven agenda has infiltrated the Church. Their main purpose is to separate the fold from the truth of God’s Word. Hence, the weakening goes forward and another of the enemy’s strongholds is erected.
Carnal thinking, when attributed to the believer, is a true stronghold where the enemy lavishes and basks in his lair. He laughs at the believer. The enemy has nothing but contempt for all people, but even more so for believers. He knows by a believer’s carnal thinking that he has him, and in some cases entire congregations, exactly where he wants them.
Believers remain basically useless for the kingdom of God while the enemy’s strongholds become more and more fortified. Instead of God’s word being the whole truth, other avenues (mans precepts) are pursued in an attempt to gain a higher sense of spirituality. This is a satanic stronghold perpetuated by deceived individuals and packaged and sold to the church today. Example: Many believers accept the lie of evolution and try miserably to tie that lie to God’s creative work.
I’ve noticed that some of the brethren aren’t convinced Jesus is God. It’s scary to think there are many who call themselves Christians yet can’t seem to grasp the truth of who Jesus really is. Some don’t believe that the Bible is really God’s word. They aren’t convinced that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, that no man comes to the Father but by Him.
Those who dispute God’s truths use phrases like “I think” or “I feel” but then add no Scripture to back up these feelings. We should all be aware that our feelings can be one of the enemy’s strongholds and they are not to be trusted.
Our feelings need to conform to Scripture instead of trying to conform Scripture to us. If we don’t believe God’s word then we are nothing more than heathens totally lost parading around in believers clothing.
Weak believers won’t commit to Jesus’ teachings. They refuse to be placed in with those fundamental followers of Christ who actually take the Bible literally as the true living word of God. Thus through erroneous teachings many become wrapped up in a delusion which proclaims the Bible to have been written by man and it includes outdated, mythological, or even falsehoods that diminish its other context. Other weak believers conclude the Bible to be mostly allegorical and therefore basically useless in today’s culture.
Strongholds appear to be overwhelming as we begin to see more weak believers infiltrating the Body of Christ and infecting the Church with their learned hypocrisy. The Body of Christ can’t afford weak believers. We are coming down to the final hour, folks, and we must remain strong. There are strongholds to defeat, and defeat them we must. Only through a commitment to the truth of God’s word can we regain the ground that was previously ours but has been lost to the charlatans.
God chooses to work in the lives of believers. He uses believers to accomplish his goal. He uses us to spread His word and to help enlighten and attract others to the truth, and to edify one another. We, the Body of Christ, are a light for the lost world. Weak believers shine forth weak light or no light at all. Strong, committed believers shine forth the powerful light of Christ. Which light shines from you?
Complacency and apathy in a believer give the enemy his greatest strength. When believers are no longer motivated to be a team player and to help motivate the flock they become more of a detriment to the fold instead of a deterrent to the enemy’s building of strongholds.
I must reiterate that fervent prayer and a committed regime of Bible study is the key to avoid the formation of strongholds by the enemy. Over and over again this has been my mantra and the theme of most of my commentaries. If, by writing these commentaries, I can convince even a few of the brethren to read and study their Bibles, to receive from God his gift of knowledge and wisdom which translates into discernment, that would be worth all the effort placed in these commentaries.
God’s Word is the power we need to sustain us in these soul trying times. I challenge every believer to study God’s word an hour or more every day or night of the week. If that means you miss the reruns on TV, which you’ve already seen, or you miss the ball game because you were studying your Bible it won’t really affect the outcome of the game because you missed watching it. But, by studying your Bible, you can help the fold where you worship strengthen its stance against the invading enemy.
God will work his plan through every believer who will commit to saying “Yes” to Him. If you are protected by God’s mighty power who can stand against you? Certainly by studying your Bibles and by living through God’s power the strongholds of the enemy can be eliminated. The fold can and will survive.
God bless you all,