My definition of a stronghold is any negative, destructive or incorrect belief, hurt, or unresolved issue that has become so engrained in a person's subconscious character that it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to mature spiritually, and progress successfully in life. People may not even be aware of how strongholds are negatively impacting their lives.
Strongholds are especially true in church, as well in the home and at school, where sometimes people are programmed to believe certain ways, without questioning their beliefs, and are not encouraged to discuss their problems, because of "playing church."
The negative consequences of strongholds become most obvious in the young adult age(18-25), if not earlier, when this group leaves home to begin college, careers, marriage and families, and embark upon their own individual journey toward success and spiritual growth. This is when wrong beliefs, hurts, and unresolved issues are brought to the surface. Many college students do not continue to practice their faith after graduation, and many churches do not have young adult ministries. They must see a positive connection between what they have been raised to believe and how it is playing out in the real world.
CAUSES/EXAMPLES OF STRONGHOLDS
Bible verses taken out of context
Religious phrases void of meaning
Any type of teaching not questioned
Past unresolved issues and hurts
Inability to "mesh" success and spirituality
Confusion over the concept of being "called."
Frustration and confusion with "God's will."
Misunderstandings of what real love is
Inaccurate teaching about tithing and giving
Traditional and denominational teachings
Wrong concepts regarding faith
Wrong ideas about healing and forgiveness
Unbalanced teaching on grace and judgment
Lack of proper biblical interpretation
Being a people pleaser
Upholding others religious expectations
The control of some local churches
Religion without relationship with God
Wrong teachings about submission and head-
ship in marriage
RESULTS OF STRONGHOLDS
1. Frustration and confusion can occur in a person's life and spiritual walk.
2. They may lead to "stuck situations." These are unresolved, negative circumstances or relationships that continue over a long span of time with no apparent resolution. They can eventually result in hopelessness and depression.
3. Some incorrect beliefs do not bring positive results in life, especially in the family and other relationships, or they do not line up with reality. An example of this is the belief that if one marries another Christian there is a greater chance of a better marriage, but that is not what statistics indicate.
4. Strongholds can lead to living a life of defeat, unable to experience the life God designed a person to live.
5. One of the less obvious ways is that strongholds can lead to what I call "hidden hurts." Hidden hurts are negative, unresolved issues or incorrect teachings, or lack of teaching, in a specific area, that effects people in ways they are not even aware, or holds them back in life. An example of this low self-esteem.
6. Generational curses. These are negative, conditioned responses in reaction to circumstances or relationships, addictions, wrong mindsets, or patterns of behavior passed down from one generation to another.
7. Dysfunctional marrriages and dating relationships.
8. There may not be much positive progression in life, in general, including lack of goals.
9. Religion may become a replacement for personal responsibility.
1. Know what Scripture teaches.
2. Re-examine verses taken out of context.
3. Apply Scripture correctly.
4. Get rid of traditionalism and legalism.
5. Deal with past emotional baggage.
6. Break generational curses.
7. Be the person you were designed by God to be.
8. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
9. Practive forgiveness every day.
EVALUATE ONE'S LIFE IN 12 AREAS
How is each of the following areas being effected by strongholds? How are things progressing in a general sense in each of these areas?
1. Success and spiritality
2. Money and giving
3. Healing and forgiveness
4. Marriage, family, and relationships
5. God's will
7. Emotional baggage from the past
8. Biblical interpretation
9. Life purpose and passion
10. Lordship and discipleship
11. Religion and church attendance
12. Knowing what you believe and why.