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Removing Strongholds


...
in the Framework of the
Inner Man

Ed Corley

—With help from II Corinthians 10:4,5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

I CAME FROM a Baptist background with strong roots in the doctrine of "eternal security." From the day I opened my heart to the Lord, the teaching came strong: "Now that you’re saved, you’re secure." I’m glad for whoever pointed me to John 10:28, that strong Scripture on security. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

One day, about a year after I was saved, I decided in a moment of discouragement that I would just stop being a Christian. The thought didn’t last long. It came to me I could not just do that. I was saved forever, I couldn’t become un-saved. So I didn’t even try. I’ve never tried since.

I’m glad for that early teaching. I believe it brought me to a place of security and strength in my relationship with the Lord that has sustained me through forty-five years of knowing Him.

But I cannot escape some dealings of the Lord that have been coming on recently. We are perceiving there will soon come a greater attack on believers than we have ever known. Many will be pushed to the point of denying Christ.

It is Satan’s aim to disprove testimonies like the one I gave above. With strong determination, he will show that he—aided by hoards of seducing spirits—can remove multitudes from their faith.

So, I ask you, whether you hold the firm doctrine of "eternal security" or not, to consider with me some Scriptures revealing the anti-Christ plot for the time of the end. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you whether you will be strong to stand in the day of trouble—or whether you will be among those who could depart from the faith.

LATELY, EVERY TIME I’m about to open the Scriptures in teaching, I ask the people with me to lay their hands on their heads as we pray. I do this because of II Corinthians 10:4, 5. Here Paul names three points of conflict in our inner man that, if not overcome, will weaken us in time of trouble. In praying, we ask Him to work in us with regard to these so we can open ourselves to repentance and to His word of healing.

Take note of the three points. Each one of us is liable to have them.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of 1 strongholds; casting down 2 imaginations, and 3 every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

For several days, this passage has been coming to my attention more strongly than ever. We are seeing that if certain conflicts within us are not resolved, we are liable to become little "satans" who give in to the pressures of anti-Christ and reject the call of God’s Kingdom for the final days.

I use this strong language because of the strong language Jesus used when He called Peter Satan in Matthew 16:23. Satan means "adversary." Something rose up within Peter to withstand the Lord when he learned that suffering and the cross lay ahead. Peter’s response was so offensive to Jesus that He called him an adversary.

Jesus said to Peter, Thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Savorest is from that word phrónema we covered in the MASCHIL Special Edition on The Carnal Frame. It means "to have a certain frame of mind." Jesus was saying, "Peter, your frame of mind is that of man." It was humanistic to the core and made Peter an adversary to Jesus.

The stronghold of humanism in Peter’s frame of mind saw no sense or value in the cross. His was a way of thinking that sought only blessing for the natural man. Jesus confronted him on this.

Although Peter was religious and had strong feelings for Jesus, something was in his way of thinking—in the framework of his inner man—that could not receive the word Jesus had put forth about His death on the cross.

That untouched area in him made him deny the Lord. When the pressures came on, he began to curse and to swear, I know not the manMatthew 26:74.

It is apparent the Holy Spirit dealt with this in Peter and set him free to become the Apostle of Pentecost. But what about us who may face a time of trouble far, far more severe than what Peter faced?

The conviction is upon many that we are the people upon whom the times of the end are come. The Prophet Daniel, pointing to this time, said, … and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation…Daniel 12:1. Jesus repeated this in Matthew 24:21 saying, For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Some build a doctrine of a "rapture" before the time of trouble. But others are beginning to question this, seeing it has more support from gospel songs than it does from Scripture.

Others ignore the possibility of suffering and give attention to a message of prosperity catering to the desires and needs of the natural man. This raises up people like Peter who have no concept of the cross and in whose theology there is no place for tribulation.

The doctrine of prosperity, if not balanced with the word of the cross, allows for the retaining of inner strongholds that weaken believers. These will fall if, indeed, they do face the trouble to which Jesus and Daniel pointed.

Recently it came to me there were strongholds still dangerously present in my own inner man. This didn’t come on as a condemnation, but it did come as a strong word from the Holy Spirit Who knows me better than I know myself. His desire, more than for my good comfort, is that I be whole for the Day of Christ’s appearing.

The Holy Spirit was pointing to strongholds in my natural way of thinking. They were parts of my life I had settled into accepting as normal. Or, if not normal, at least I had settled into feeling I could keep them under control.

What I share in this article, as in some others we have published, comes out of the pain of the Spirit’s search. But, oh! It is a good pain, like the lancing of a boil or the removal of a thorn. The poison released into life by these strongholds produces far more pain than the cut of the Spirit’s knife.

BEFORE WE TAKE a close look at II Corinthians 10:4, 5, let us take a review as to what we may face from the enemy. His determination to prevail over us is strong. We must not close our minds to finding out his unholy design.

The Prophet Daniel gives us details as to what the strong force of evil will do to knock us out of the race in the last days. Through four prophetic visions recorded in the last half of Daniel, we can trace his dark strategy. Many interpreters manage to appoint these visions to other ages and circumstances far removed for us. They ignore them for their importance today. I don’t believe we have the right to do this.

True, what Daniel saw has found foreshadowing fulfillment in other ages. But in each vision there is clear direction to the time of the end. This is to say that some of the prophetic principles of demonic activity have played out in past generations. But the finale of each vision points to an unfolding not yet seen in the earth.

Also, the New Testament, especially the Book of Revelation, repeats the language and terminology of Daniel. It brings us to the final days, aware of the trouble we may face, but with the hope of a sure triumph.

We’ve reviewed Daniel’s visions in past issues of MASCHIL. For the present we simply want to see what each one tells about the evil force we will call anti-Christ. We will consider his character and his mode of operation.

Because his character has come out in various persons throughout history, many have named the anti-Christ, thinking he was already on the scene. Each one has passed on, making way for another. We watch now with a careful eye and a heart open to Jesus.

· Daniel 7:8 calls anti-Christ a little horn. As such, he rises from a place of relative obscurity into a position of world dominance. In 7:25 we see three points of his evil time intention. He will blaspheme God, he will oppress believers, and he will undertake to alter God’s timetable and decree declaring his overthrow. These are characteristic of his dark practices: blasphemy, oppression and rebellion against God.

7:25--And 1 he shall speak great words against the most High, and 2 shall wear out the saints of the most High, and 3 think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Wear out in this verse means "use up to the full." He will work toward the utter exhaustion of believers.

The last part of the above verse points to a prophetic time period of "three and a half years." In this period, from all outward appearance, he will overcome believers. Revelation 11:2; 12:6 and 13:5 all point, in clear terms, to this same time of dark oppression.

Daniel 8:23 calls anti-Christ a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences. This describes a person of astonishing power and commanding presence, skilled in dark diplomacy and manipulation of people. While he is the wicked one, those joined with him are the wicked ones. He manipulates his company of followers till they take on his nature.

Then see in Daniel 8:24, 25 a description of the activities of the above named king. Like the wicked one of II Thessalonians 2:8 and 9, he will come boldly on the world’s scene, energized by Satan, to work all power and signs and lying wonders. Note the seven points of his evil work, all accomplished by a power not his own.

Daniel 8
24
—And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and 1 he shall destroy wonderfully, and 2 shall prosper, and 3 practice, and 4 shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
25 And through his policy also 5 he shall cause craft (deceit) to prosper in his hand, and 6 he shall magnify himself in his heart, and 7 by peace shall destroy many; 8 he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes...

Note the word destroy three times in the above verses. It’s from the Hebrew shachath which means "to pervert; to corrupt to the point of uselessness."

· He will carry on his corrupting work wonderfully, in an extraordinary fashion, like no other has ever done.
· His objective will be to corrupt the mighty and holy people, the believers who oppose him and his dominion.
· One of his grandest tactics of corruption will be by peace. Oh, what a revelation this is! This word peace in the Hebrew original is shalvah. It means "rest, ease, security; a careless prosperity."

But then, look at the last point of Daniel 8:25. It tells of the abrupt end of this wicked one: …he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. II Thessalonians 2:8 tells us clearly what happens to bring him to his screeching halt. The Lord Jesus will make His grand appearance. This will bring that man of sin to his destruction—without one hand touching him.

· Daniel 9:26 calls anti-Christ a prince that shall come. The verse goes on to say he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. It is clear; the conflict with anti-Christ is a war. Like no "ethnic cleansing" known, he is determined to destroy all pertaining to, and involved with, the Kingdom of God. His aim is complete desolation.

Then 9:27And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation...

In Matthew 24:15, Jesus made clear reference to this abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet. He told of it in the context of saying the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations—Matthew 24:14.


Preposterous as it may seem, the two will come off simultaneously: the desolation of the holy place and the proclamation of Christ’s Kingdom in all the earth. How will this be? II Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 12 both hold answers. We expect to look at them in a soon coming edition.

Let us say it again: When anti-Christ makes his final sweep through all believers to bring their faith to ruin, a great thing happens for the Kingdom of God. In comes the wicked one with a flood of trouble and spiritual violation and the gospel of the Kingdom goes forth into every nation. What a combination! Meant by Satan to make desolate all that is holy, his abomination results in the spreading of the Gospel like never before.

· Then we have the last vision of Daniel, in chapters 10 through 12. Here he describes anti-Christ as a vile personDaniel 11:21. Vile means contemptible, someone to be despised. He will be wicked in his methods with no concern for the rights of others.

Many important statements come to us throughout these last three chapters, but we draw attention only to the following verses. In them we find five additional anti-Christ devices aimed at breaking down the people of God. These devices of desolation, however, are riddled through with the higher devices of God’s Kingdom to have a triumphant people in the earth in the time of trouble.

Daniel 11
32 And such as
do wickedly against the covenant shall he 1 corrupt by flatteries, but the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.
33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by 2 sword, and by 3 flame, by 4 captivity, and by 5 spoil, many days.
34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. 35 And some of them of understanding shall fall. to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

After tactic 1 corruption by flattery, fails with some, he proceeds to bring on 2 the sword. This will mean death to some. While others still remain, he will proceed with 3 flame. This probably means the destruction of believers’ homes and property. While some yet remain faithful, he will bring on 4 captivity. This means imprisonment for those who refuse to bow their knees to him. For whoever and whatever remains, he will follow up with 5 spoil. This means he and his cohorts will plunder whatever goods may be left belonging to believers, till they have nothing left with which to carry on life.

But, there’s light and hope. Take note of these three statements in 11:32 and 33. 1the people that do know their God shall be strong and 2 do exploits... 3 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many…

  1. When all the systems of the world are under the authority of a godless force that says to believers, "You cannot function," there will arise among them a people strong and doing exploits. This Daniel passage describes them as the people that do know their God.

The knowing of these people is intimate. It is more than intellectual or emotional. Itis a knowing that has found its way into the inner man, with every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God brought down.

It is for the preparation of these people that the Spirit of God is drawing our attention so acutely to II Corinthians 10:4, 5.

Take note of shall be strong in 11:32. This is the same word Gabriel used when he said to Daniel in 10:19a, Be strong, yea, be strong. In fact, all of Daniel 10 is about being strong. Think of it. There was Daniel, an old man about 89 years of age. He had been fasting three weeks, and then the Archangel Gabriel visited him. Just one of these reasons would be sufficient cause for him to say, I retained no strength—10:8. Then he said, And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened—10:19b.

It would be more accurate for us to translate the term shall be strong in 11:32 as "shall be strengthened." There is a difference. Shall be strong comes on strong with no idea of former weakness. "Shall be strengthened" indicates where once weakness was, strength will come forth.

Paul teaches us not to fear weakness. His testimony was that God’s strength comes to its fullness—indeed, finds its perfection—in weakness. (II Corinthians 12:9)

  • The word "exploits" does not appear in the original Hebrew of verse 32. There, it simply conveys, "The people that know their God shall be strong and do." Do what? Anything necessary to carry on life.

The word from which "do" comes in the original means "to function, to carry on." In speaking of the anti-Christ, the same Hebrew word appears in Daniel 8:24 translated practice. While he "practices" under the energy of Satan, those who know their God "practice" under the energy of God’s Kingdom. Will this ever be to his consternation! The people he has wiped out and stripped of ability, still carrying on.

In all the world, with all his devastation and corruption, never once is the vile person able to reach into God’s Kingdom and drain off the power there. When he confronts the people who have found this secret place of the most High (Psalm 91:1), he is baffled. They endure his sweep of destruction right to the end—strengthened.

  • In the time of anti-Christ’s vengeance, Daniel tells us there will be a people that understand. They have understanding because of their diligent—and sometimes relentless—pursuit of truth.

    Then he says they shall instruct many—11:33. Shall instruct is from the exceedingly beautiful Hebrew word, bin. It gives the meaning of a gentle impartation of truth—as much by spirit and example as by speaking.

    Throughout the days before the end, they that understand are the people who have prayed, loved and wept over Scripture, have taken it into their bosom to live by it, and have tested it to the hilt—only to find every word faithful. Truth has entered them and become their life. It has worked on their faith until they have more difficulty disbelieving God than believing Him. The word of the Kingdom has reached the inner parts of these people and germinated into a kind of life the anti-Christ corruption cannot touch.

    Many of these who understand felt the call of God early in their lives, only to find little release to move in it. But in the dark days of tribulation, what God wants for them will come into fruition. With pulpits closed, instruction will go on privately. Secret places will become schools in which oppressed people will find the way of hope and deliverance in the darkest hour the world has ever known. What a day of ministry!

    What about them of understanding? Will they go through tribulation also. Yes. Some of them will even fall. David steps in here, however, and gives a good word: Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast downPsalm 37:24.

Paul adds his testimony: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead—II Corinthians 1:9. In the face of bewildering trials, the hope of those who understand comes to rest in the life and power released from Christ’s resurrection.

Jesus told more about the time of trial. He said, Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake…But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved—Matthew 24:9,13.

The word endure is a powerful word. It comes from the Greek hupoméno and means to remain behind, running in the race even when others have fallen.

Unto the end also gives a powerful insight for the day. End is from telos. It doesn’t mean "end" like the last day. It means "end" like the perfection of a matter. Those who remain in the race running—not falling out along the way—until the work begun by the Lord in them is brought to completion, they will see a powerful salvation. Paul’s word in Romans 8:15-25 has impact and meaning here. Read it!

Regarding these people, Daniel says in 11:34, They will be helped with a little help. Perhaps like Jeremiah was helped in the dungeon, or like Paul in the prison, or like John on Patmos, these will be helped. Those ancient men were so helped by the visitation of the Lord and the light of His countenance, that they had little to say of their tribulation and suffering.

But do take note of this statement in Daniel 11:35—Some of them of understanding shall fall. For those who do fall it will be for a purpose. It will try them, purge them, and make them white for the closing day—apparently for the purposes of God’s Kingdom.

But wait. There is something alarming back in Daniel 11:30. It tells of some who do not come through the time of trouble in a good way. They fall under the sway of the anti-Christ and give into his tactics. They forsake the holy covenant. They deny their relationship with the Lord.

The vile person has an eye for these who defect. He shall even return and have intelligence with themDaniel 11:30. For years this has taken my attention. The Hebrew from which have intelligence comes is the same one Gabriel used when he gave Daniel understanding (Daniel 9:22). As that Archangel had access to the mind and spirit of the Prophet (he "had intelligence" with him), so will the anti-Christ have access to the minds and spirits of those who turn from Christ. He will make them his psychic captives, possessing them in spirit and soul.

Some expositors explain Daniel 11:30 as having no bearing on the end time. But it very likely does. As does also II Thessalonians 2:3, which tells of a falling away that must take place before the end.

It is likely you know some with whom the vile person will have intelligence, or some who will fall away. May the Lord work in you so you will become one who remains in the running.

Just take a minute and read Philippians 1:6. Something from this verse took hold on me in my early years of knowing the Lord. It released a confidence in me that has remained. Then read Hebrews 10:35 and the verses following. Wow! What a word!

THE HOLY SPIRIT has continued speaking to us from II Corinthians 10:4,5 about the strongholds of the mind. Until these are broken down, they will continue opposing the work of God’s Kingdom inside us. They are what make us weak before the enemy and will cause us to weaken during his end-time hostility.

Take note again in these verses of the three points of inner conflict. Then, take note how we can deal with them. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of 1 strongholds; casting down 2 imaginations, and 3 every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

This is a warfare passage. When I first read it, I thought it was a reinforcement for going against the strongholds of evil in the world. But it doesn’t take long to see the field of conflict to which it directs us is inside us.

The conflict revolves around strongholds of our minds, imaginations, and high things within us that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. The positive thing is we can demolish all of them and bring every thought we have to the point of acknowledging the authority of Christ.

The method of demolition is by open exposure and subjugation to the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. This is exactly what James 5:16 points to. We’ll name some of the strongholds later in this article.

· Weapons is the above passage is from the Greek hópla, meaning implements used by soldiers in heavy fighting, whether shield or sword, defensive device. It is only the Holy Spirit who or offensive. The implication is that the can win the war. We saw this in battle will be fierce.

· Warfare is from the Greek Strateía, meaning an expedition, or campaign of major proportion, carried out by trained and disciplined soldiers. This is no light skirmish. The enemies are firmly entrenched in positions not theirs by right. Their determination to hold on is strong. Allied with them is much emotional feeling and ideas of personal rights. In most of us, their long-standing operation has made the very enemies of our souls like part of our nature.

· Carnal is from sarkika, kin to the word sarx with which we became acquainted in the last two editions on The Carnal Frame. It means the physical or natural order of things.

The enemies within us evolve out of our own carnality, but the conflict with them can never be resolved by carnal device. It is only the Holy Spirit who can win the war. We saw this in Winning Out Over the Carnal Frame.

In that issue we dealt with the works of the flesh as found in Galatians 5:19-21. Now we are dealing with the mental and emotional attitudes behind the works of the flesh. It is here the strongholds lie. Whether the works ever manifest themselves or not, the enemy knows what is in us and will work at overcoming us in the areas of our weakness— where our strongholds are.

Let us emphasize this: The enemies within us are too strong and resistant to be routed out by psychiatric manipulation or counseling technique—or even personal resolution. Their overthrow demands a release of power. This can come only from the Spirit of God.

The word mighty in II Corinthians 10:4 points to this power. It’s from the Greek dúnata, a word closely akin to one of the "powers" released out of the resurrection of Christ—to which we’ve been giving attention lately. It means to be strong and powerful, able to produce. Actually, it is the power of creation and explosion. It is a power that enables us to say through the Holy Spirit, "It is possible!"

From the same Scripture, the words pulling down and casting down are from two forms of the same Greek word. The first is kathaíresis, a Noun meaning "demolition, overthrow, subjugation."

The second is from kathairoúntes, a Present Participle meaning "demolishing, overthrowing, subjugating." Oh, but they are strong words of warfare! They describe what remains after a complete sweep. Nothing.

The fact that kathairoúntes is a Present Participle shows us the process of overthrow may be prolonged. It can go on over a period of time with several major and minor skirmishes in the process. Even though its accomplishment is by the power of the Holy Spirit, it is we, with our mental and emotional attitudes, who prolong His work. He comes in and will pull down when we open our will to Him—and want Him more than we want our old ways.

Paul is not leading us to deal with demons in II Corinthian 10:4, 5. They can be cast out by the word. Instead, he is leading us to deal with the grounds inside us on which demons work. If the grounds remain, they can cause our downfall in the final day.

Strongholds is from the Greek ochuromáton, a word meaning "fortress." It describes a fortified place, an entrenchment for holding position while under attack. The strongholds the Spirit is after are fortresses inside us resisting the government of Christ.

There are two kinds of strongholds: imaginations and high things exalting themselves against the knowledge of God. Seducing spirits find ready access to these. Only Christ finds resistance.

Imaginations seems a fairly harmless word, but it is not. It comes from the Greek logísmos, a word defining the natural reasoning power of the mind. Until the Holy Spirit takes control over this, it remains dangerous in us.

It is within this power to reason, described by the word logísmos, that wisdom arises. But, alas! Wisdom can take an evil turn. James tells us it can be earthly, sensual and devilish, bringing with it envying, strife, confusion, and every evil work—James 3:15,16.

Human reasoning, enhanced by ideas from the world, strengthened by the sickness of our own souls, and riddled through with satanic perspectives, will withstand the authority of Christ. It weakens under enemy attack and will open us to evil in the last days.

NOW, LET US consider that third point of inner conflict we saw in II Corinthians 10:4,5. It takes on a plurality and itself becomes like an army as we name it: the high things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.

Without leaving II Corinthians, we find mention of at least twelve high things that can operate in us. Paul does not name them each in a list. Rather, he addresses the Epistle to their demolition.

These high things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God are ways of thinking and responding that cause trouble throughout life. Since they will make us particularly susceptible to falling in the time of trouble, we address them slowly.

Remember: they each work within us to withstand our knowing God.

1 Holding unforgiveness—II Corinthians 2: 10,11. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also; for if I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

How clear it is! Satan takes advantage of any occasion in which we refuse to forgive someone. Holding unforgiveness makes us weak and vulnerable to his attacks. The Greek word from which get an advantage of comes is very revealing. It means to reach in and take more than one has a right to. If Satan finds unforgiveness in the life of a believer, he will claim it as his right to work in that one.

James, in a letter to the church, shows us something more. If we refuse to extend mercy to another, we shut ourselves off from God’s mercy. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shown no mercyJames 2:13.

Forgiving others is so important that Jesus says we ourselves cannot receive it from God unless we practice it toward others—Matthew 6:14,15. Holding unforgiveness toward someone locks us into a prison of guilt unable to receive our own needed forgiveness. And, of course, living under the chain of guilt will only hinder us in the day of trial.

Lord, I renounce my unwillingness to forgive. Send your Spirit to demolish this stronghold within me. I take time now to allow your mercy to work in me—and then, reach through me to touch the one who offended me.

2 Holding hidden things of shameII Corinthians 4:1,2a... Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty...

Dishonesty is from the Greek aischúnes. It means anything of shame or dishonor. Translating the word as dishonesty is not altogether wrong, however. Shame is the major force behind dishonesty.

Although unclean and wrong practices are finding acceptance in society, they have no place in God’s Kingdom. Holding a secret fascination for things of shame weakens us and will make us susceptible to satanic attack.

Paul lays out some common areas of shame in Ephesians 4:22-32. He gives the same practical way of getting rid of them as in the II Corinthian verse. He simply says we are to renounce them. This means, "Put them away; have done with them."

Father of mercies, search me. I lay my life open for the cleansing work of Your Spirit. I renounce every hidden thing of shame and lay down my resistance to Your fire. Burn on, oh Fire of God, burn on in me, till every dark and shameful part is clean.

3 Walking In deceit—II Corinthians 4:2b …not walking in craftiness...

Craftiness is from panourgía. It means deceit in the sense of being clever, cunning and smart in leading others astray. This way of clever thinking and crafty dealing gains hold in some persons early in life. It grows out of the need to protect one’s self.

Craftiness comes with the idea that, if I’m completely honest, I will be deprived of something I want or need. Since Satan himself is the master of deceit and the father of lies, he quickly lays hold on this in any person.

From the beginning, it has been in the standard of righteousness before God not to bear false witness—Exodus 20:16.

What Jesus said in John 8:44 about lying and deceit being of the devil should lead us to renounce every trace of it. If any remains, he knows it. It is his turf. He will dispatch his spirits to lay hold on it and strengthen its operation in us—till maybe it gets out of control and we cannot distinguish between the truth and the lie.

God of truth, make me hate my tendency to deceive. I see it is a satanic device and I renounce it. Right now, I lay hold on the love of the truth. Release Your power in me to bring this into effect in every area of my life.

4 Mishandling God’s Word—II Corinthians 4:2c …nor handling the Word of God deceitfully.

 

This was the earliest tactic released on Eve in the Garden. Together with the serpent, she participated in denying some of what the Lord had spoken, in altering other of it, and in adding to it. (Genesis 3:3-5) How necessary that we renounce these devilish practices and open ourselves to all God’s Word is saying.

The Psalmist helps us by confessing: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…My heart standeth in awe of Thy wordPsalm 119:105 and 161b. Those who regard God’s word with awe and walk in its precepts will find themselves strong in the day of trial.

Precious Father, Forgive me for not waiting before You with Your Word. I open myself now to receive any part I have rejected or mishandled. If I have been ignorant of some part of it, lead me to that portion and anoint my mind to receive it.

5 Preoccupation with things that are seenII Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen...

 

Having more regard for temporal possessions and achievements than for eternal values opens us to seducing spirits. They will flock around us, always presenting challenges for the natural man to have more—at the expense of growing poor spiritually.

Instruction for overcoming this stronghold comes from Jesus in Matthew 6:25-33. In effect, He says, "Make the Kingdom of God the prime object of your search, and you will find all the things you need for your life. They will be added unto you."

The Apostle John gave some clear instruction regarding this matter in I John 2:15. He said, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Then he named the three dimensions of desire placed before us, apparently by the god of this world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Our parents faced these in the Garden of Eden and gave into the craftiness of the serpent. Jesus faced them in His Garden, and overcame. He won the greater prize by far.

Father of all provision, forgive me for meditating on things I want—even on things I think I need. I present myself before You now to meditate on the wealth of Your Kingdom and to seek it. Teach me all this means. Let the power of Your Kingdom work in me so that all I desire comes out of it.

6 Glorying in appearance—II Corinthians 5:12b them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.

 

The tendency to look on persons outwardly, not seeing inner beauty, comes over us with a subtlety. Many an angel is missed because of poor attire.

As well, many of us become more concerned with our outward appearance than with the condition of our hearts. We spend more time making ourselves appear right and good than we do making our inner man clean.

God chooses according to what is on the inside of a person. Concerning the young lad David, the Prophet Samuel said: … for the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heartI Samuel 16:7.

Father, my inclination has been to judge others by the way they appear or act. Release in me the ability to have mercy rather than judgment. And now—I don’t even judge myself, but l wait before You for the judgment of Your Spirit. Search me. Cleanse me on the inside where You see.

7 Living a self-centered life—II Corinthians 5:15 that they should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him...

 

This tendency to look out for "number one" comes on early and remains strong in many. When a self-centered person is imposed upon by someone else placing themselves first, resentment develops. And we know what a tool of the enemy this can become.

Instruction for pulling down this stronghold comes in Philippians 2:3-8. This is a marvelous passage from Paul needing attention from every one of us who follow the Lord Jesus. He said, Let this mind (this way of thinking) be in you which was also in Christ Jesus….He humbled himself.

Dear Lord, even in little ways, my tendency is to look out for myself more than for others. Sometimes I overcome in this area, but too often I slip back into being self-centered. I’m especially prone to protect my reputation at the expense of an others’s. This is a basic wrong in me. I give it over to Your Spirit for His correction.

8 Impatience—II Corinthians 6:4 …approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience...

 

Lack of patience has caused many a person—especially ministers— to miss God’s better thing. It has resulted in "Ishmaels" being born, as in the case of Abraham and Sarah who waited not for God’s time and miracle.

Impatience results in works that must undergo the fire of God’s judgment as in I Corinthians 3:12-15.

This stronghold can only be broken by following the principle of waiting on the Lord as laid Out in Isaiah 40:28-31.

Lord, teach me to wait on You! I’m so impatient it’s disgusting. I fret and become anxious when things don't work as I want them to. Send Your Spirit within me to discipline the part in me that rushes ahead of You.

9 Fraud—II Corinthians 7:2 ... we have defrauded no man.

 

This word means to be greedy and grasping. It means taking advantage of others, being interested only in one’s own needs.

Someone once said to me about another, "In every relationship, he’s only interested in what he can get out of it." An attitude like this is the material of fraud. Unless we are very careful, it comes over on us easily.

Paul gives good instruction regarding this matter in I Thessalonians 4:6. He admonishes that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter. Then he adds this word: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such.

Father, show me any way in which I have overreached the right of any person. Convict me wherein I have been greedy and grasping, not caring for the spiritual, emotional or physical needs of others. Show me any way in which I have defrauded another so I can make it right with them. I receive Your enabling grace to do this.

10 Responding out of insecurity—II Corinthians 12:20lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults...

 

Everything in the above list grows out of each one’s own personal insecurity.

Arguments (debate) come because of insecurity with regard to one’s own convictions.
Jealousy (envying) comes because of insecurity with regard to one’s actual condition, and from comparing one’s self with others.
Anger (wrath) comes because of insecurity with regard to one’s personal position.
Competition (strife) comes because of insecurity with regard to one’s personal qualifications.
Slander (backbiting) comes because of insecurity with regard to one’s own personal worth, causing the tearing down of another person to build up one’s own self-esteem.
Gossip (whispering) comes because of insecurity in relationship with others. Passing gossip gives one a sense of feeling important.
Pouting (swelling) comes because of immaturity, a deep base of insecurity.
Confusion (tumults) comes because of insecurity with regard to what one should be doing.

These are group problems growing out of individual deficiencies. Each point of trouble grows out of a need to control others and gain one’s own way. They are the delight of seducing spirits which flock in to take advantage of situations where any of the above works.

A person who is secure in his relationship with the Lord, and who abides in Him with a confidence, has no need for any of these mechanisms of immaturity. Instead, the very opposites can work. Paul names these opposites in Galatians 5:22,23.

Oh, Lord! Too easily I fall into to these petty devices of immaturity and insecurity. Sometimes they just slip out of me. Place a restraint on me by Your Spirit till all these evil ways become foreign to my nature. Replace them with Your nature.

11 Unclean sexual desire—II Corinthians 12:21 … uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness.

 

Maintaining the inner stronghold of sexual impurity is one of the most dangerous there is. We need not discuss it at length, but simply say demons are delighted with any form of it. They wait for opportunities to bring fantasies to life. This always works toward the destruction of some person.

The admonition of I Corinthians 6:18 is clear and concise as to the manner of overcoming sexual temptation. It comes in one brief statement: Flee fornication.

Oh, my Lord! Cleanse me! Let not a trace of unclean sexual desire remain in me. Break in me any unholy attraction. Set in order my inner man lest I fall under this attack of the enemy.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Sometimes each of us needs the ministry of someone to help find release from a stronghold’s power. For those who are willing to make a clean sweep, JAMES 5:16 remains very effective. Ask the Lord to lead you to someone who knows the authority and power of God’s Kingdom to pray with you.

© Berean Ministries

 

Berean Ministries
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Elk Park, NC 28622-0038

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