Everyone who desires to follow Christ engages in an inner struggle against sin. The greatest spiritual warfare we will ever fight happens on the battleground of our own minds and hearts. So, if you feel like a civil war is going on inside, you’re not alone. Consider Paul’s journey and even the path of Jesus.
As Paul evaluated his Christian walk, he felt he was growing more sinful (Romans 7:21-23). Paul likened it to an ancient punishment where a living person had to carry a dead body until it deteriorated and killed the carrier. Paul’s conflict felt like a corpse that would ultimately kill him. He cried out, “Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:25).
Yet Paul records winning that struggle. He wrote, “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For the spirit of life has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
Ever since Adam brought sin into the world, we all have a propensity to sin (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12). That’s why, to inherit the kingdom of God, we must be born again and become a new creation (John 3:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17). Yet, the difficulty is that when we are born again, the warfare begins in earnest. Flesh versus spirit. Darkness versus light. Enemy’s voice versus God’s voice.
Jesus was not immune to this struggle. Satan always seeks to have something on us. To trap us, Satan presents things that only look good. That’s what he did to Jesus.
Satan brought things to Jesus that looked good but had destruction in them — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. After Jesus resisted it all, he told his disciples, “The chief of this godless world is about to attack, but don’t worry. He has nothing on me, no power over me” (John 14:30 NIV and MSG).
When Satan brings such things to us and we invite them into our lives, they easily become a stronghold.
Remember how the Greeks defeated Troy. They built a huge wooden horse the men of Troy couldn’t resist. When the Trojans opened the gates to bring in the huge horse, it was filled with the best Greek warriors and Troy was defeated.
When we allow something inside, it’s like a Trojan horse. We call it a “stronghold.”
Ty Adams, the founder and CEO of Girls Gone God, wrote, “A stronghold is a mindset that causes believers to accept as unchangeable, something they know is contrary to the will of God.”
A stronghold can happen very easily, just by internalizing something someone says. For instance, a child is told, “You are dumb,” or “ugly.” Or, “You’ll never achieve your dream.” Internalizing these false statements makes them internal fortresses against God’s presence in our lives — strongholds.
The weapons God has given us are not of the world but have divine power to demolish these strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Here are three weapons to bring down any stronghold in your life:
1. Practice extreme, radical obedience
God told Joshua to get trumpets and march around the enemy city of Jericho for 7 days. On the seventh day, God instructs them to march Jericho seven times quietly, and then when the trumpet blows, to shout.
For 7 days, the people in Jericho were laughing their heads off. “Look, they’re not attacking!” They didn’t know God’s people were attacking with God’s weapons, not earthly weapons. On the seventh day, Israel shouted and the walls collapsed.
For 7 days, it didn’t look like anything was happening. It was not the world’s way. But it was God’s way. And his way is radical, complete obedience. That may mean getting off your computer, having a friend hold you accountable, or flushing your addiction down the toilet. Radical, complete obedience means doing whatever it takes to destroy the stronghold in your life.
2. Unite your heart to have only one king
For 400 years after God’s people entered Canaan, Jerusalem remained a stronghold of the enemy. But after a civil war between the tribes of Israel and Judah, they united under a single anointed king, David. Finally united, they took Jerusalem, and it became a stronghold for them, not their enemy.
You’ll never conquer a stronghold with a divided heart. Unite your heart, your body, your spirit and say, “Jesus is my anointed king — my only king.”
3. Turn loose the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ day, the religious stronghold seemed impenetrable. The religious leaders were so strong, and they were the main voices calling for Jesus’ death.
But on the day of Pentecost, a mighty, rushing wind came into the room where 120 Christ-followers were waiting. This was a weapon the earth was not ready for. This weapon was not of this world.
The new Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then Peter preached and 3,000 people were saved. And over time, many priests even gave their lives to Jesus Christ.
So, how will you break strongholds and win your internal war? With extreme radical obedience. With complete heart unification and loyalty to Jesus, the anointed king. And with the power of the Holy Spirit turned loose in your life.
If you’re dealing with a civil war inside, if you want freedom from a stronghold, or if you let in a Trojan horse and don’t know how to get it out, use the weapons God has given you. Obey Jesus, dedicate your life to Him, and welcome the power of the Holy Spirit. When you do, you’ll see that God has an amazing destiny for you.
Dr. William M. Wilson is the president of Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dr. Wilson is instrumental in developing Spirit-empowered leaders through whole person education to impact the world. He is known as a global influencer and a dynamic speaker with four decades of executive leadership experience. Wilson’s weekly television program, “World Impact with Dr. Billy Wilson” has been inspiring viewers in over 150 nations and multiple languages since 1998.
As Global Co-chair of Empowered21, which attracts Spirit-empowered principals from ministry, academics, and next-generation voices. Wilson is the Chair of the historic Pentecostal World Fellowship and holds leadership positions with the National Association of Evangelicals, Mission America Coalition, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the City of Tulsa Chamber of Commerce.