Mark 11:22-23 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
Matthew 5:21 – 48 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 31 “Furthermore, it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. 33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
In my last writing, I defined strongholds as thought patterns that we have consciously or unconsciously developed as a result of a specific knowledge that we have acquired over a consistent period through our culture, environment, friends, family or trusted sources and such thought patterns have become concrete images that we have adopted (believed and received) as truth and made them our value system and built our lifestyle around them. Strongholds are entrenched in philosophies, reasoning, dogmas, theories and high system ethics and views some of which are not in accordance to the ways of God. It is important to note that thoughts and imaginations are the main raw materials for developing strongholds. Our thoughts and imaginations (mindset) come from our environment, culture, education, tradition of men, philosophy and experience. Each of these sources is either rooted in God or the devil. The Bible expresses the doctrine of God and of the devil. I will discuss later on how to discern strongholds and their sources. Some strongholds are good and profitable but some are bad and destructive. Jesus gave examples of certain strongholds (mindset) that are controlling the lives of the people in His time and He instructed on how to be free from them in the above Scriptures. Identify the strongholds – if you can identify your most common thoughts you will discover the source of your true value. The first thing He did was to help them identify the strongholds. He pointed out to them that their current way of life was governed by the teaching that they have accepted and adhered to. The teaching they had received, created thought patterns and images that formed their lifestyle. Your actions and reactions are rooted in your value system. The question now is, have you identified the good and bad strongholds in your life? If you have not, tell the Holy Spirit to help you identify them because for anything to be dynamic, it must be specific. Take an inventory of your most common thoughts and trace their source. Who do you often listen to? What books do you read and apply in your life? These would help you identify your strongholds. Until you find the root, you cannot stop the reproduction of the fruit. Deal with the root first and you will stop the fruit.
Replace your thought content and change your thought pattern. After Jesus identified the error of their thought life to them, He then went on to give them alternative thought pattern. Whatever dominates your thought life dominates you. The error you don’t admit, you cannot change. Please be informed, your thought life is your real life. So, you first have to be honest with yourself and be willing to change. Ask God to forgive you for adopting an opposing view to His plan for your life. You then need to embrace new thought content and change your focus. Friend, change is not change until you change. The Word of God reveals God’s thought pattern to us. People’s secrets are in their stories. God’s Word tells us of Him so they are His stories. You need to deliberately choose your thought content and life based on God’s Word and you will be able to successful replace your thought content with superior and divine materials. Your thought pattern determines your life pattern.
To change your thought content and pattern requires an effort on your part. You are the custodian of your destiny and you have authority in Christ. So, you have to take the authority in the name and blood of Jesus to destroy the hold of the negative thought pattern that has been dominating your life. Cast those imaginations down and reject their dominion over your life. After you would have removed the previous stronghold, you have to build the new system of thought pattern you want. This is where many fail but you will not fail in Jesus’ name. You must now find what the Bible says about the topical issues in your life. What does God’s word say about marriage, money, love, work, family, greatness, self-esteem, righteousness, etc? When you find the information, extract them and set them out for easy reading. The next thing you do is to begin to dig into them by meditating on them. Study those Scriptures with the intention of thoroughly understanding them and accepting their requirements. Don’t just gloss over them; adopt them as your personal ethics and life’s philosophy. When you make God’s thought your thought, then your way becomes God’s way and you get results like God.
One thing that is important in this process is declaration. You don’t change a wrong thought pattern just by replacing it with a right thought pattern; you need to vigorously declare your new thought content until it becomes your worldview. If you are dealing with stronghold of condemnation or self esteem issues, keep declaring Romans 8:1 every day.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.
Deuteronomy 28:13- I am the head and not the tail, I shall be above only and never beneath.
Jesus had to vocalise to the people He was teaching in Matthew 5, the new way to think in order to dislodge their existing wrong thinking pattern. The next thing is to take action. You cannot act like a loser and win. Your action must match your thoughts and words. When you talk the talk, you must also walk the walk. Immediately, start believing and saying that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Then you need to get up and do something to prove that you truly believe in yourself because faith without works is dead. So act out your faith.
Just to let you know that the devil will try over and over again to pull you back into your old way of thinking. Remember he tempted Jesus, so he will tempt you, but you have to do what Jesus did: respond with the Word of God. This brings me to the truth that living in victory is a daily thing not only a Sunday morning affair. You need to feed yourself daily with the Word of God for you to reinforce your new stronghold and to stay within the boundaries of your values. Most of us watch news daily to be current. In like manner, catch God’s news daily for you to remain current.
To recap, the following are necessary to deconstruct strongholds: · Identify the stronghold in your life and identify the thought content from which they were developed. · Ask God for forgiveness for adopting an opposing view to His view and plan for you. · Ask for divine assistance because without God, strongholds would remain and take authority over the negative thought pattern by the power in the name and blood of Jesus Christ. · Be willing to change them and replace them with Godly thought contents and pattern. · Find Scriptures from which you will develop a new thought pattern and meditate on them until they become real images to you. · Begin to declare your new thought content until it gains momentum and becomes your new life value. · Act and live your life from the standpoint of your new vista. · Don’t give up your new thought content or pattern because of the temptation of the ease of going back into you old way of thinking.
For Further Study:
Deuteronomy 28: 1-14, 2 Corinthians 10: 1 – 7
Questions for Reflection:
- Name some of the strongholds in your life – from which thought pattern did they develop?
- Does your thought pattern align with the Scriptures?
- Will this thought pattern eventually draw you closer to God or farther from Him?
- Will this thought pattern give you the end result you desire for your life?
Holy Spirit, I desire a change. Help me as I work on changing my old stronghold to yours. I will not be conquered by old habits in Jesus’ name!