How are demonic strongholds overcome?The idea of demonic strongholds is found only one time in the Bible. Second Corinthians 10:4 states, "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds." How can such demonic strongholds be overcome?
Paul begins by instructing believers to use the right weapons. Second Corinthians 10:3 says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh." We do not use human weapons; believers depend on God's power to overcome the powers of evil. How? Through prayer for God's help and dependence upon the Holy Spirit who lives in the believer.
Verses 5-6 offer details on how to overcome these spiritual strongholds: "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete." Our dependence upon God includes dealing with the false lies or ideas of evil, taking "every thought captive to obey Christ," and being willing to stand against wrong when it occurs.
Dealing with false ideas or to "destroy arguments" involves identifying the lies that Satan, demonic forces, or the world around us may present. How can we identify these lies? We compare beliefs with biblical teachings from God. The Bible offers a clear foundation that distinguishes right from wrong to help us determine whether an idea might be from God or whether it is a lie from Satan.
Second, how do we take every thought captive to obey Christ? This occurs when we both identify the right thing to do and then apply it. James 1:22 teaches, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
Third, how do we stand against wrong when it occurs? In Paul's original context, he commanded the Corinthian Christians to stand against a sinful sexual practice taking place with a member in their congregation. This is one of many examples of standing up against sin when it takes place. When we see another Christian living in sin, we are called to lovingly confront them and help them turn away from evil. In doing so, we must also evaluate our own life (Matthew 7:1-5) and be careful not to fall ourselves in the process of helping someone else (1 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 6:1-5).
Overcoming demonic strongholds is not really about casting out demons or other spiritual encounters like someone might envision from a movie. Instead, it involves identifying sinful lies, comparing them with biblical beliefs, standing against evil, and doing so by the power of God's Spirit.
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