STRONGHOLDS AND DOMINIONS
Bob Jones and Keith Davis
LOVING THE LORD WITH ALL OUR HEART
"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
"O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a reproach to all those around us. So now, our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his supplications, and for your sake, O Lord, let your face shine on your desolate sanctuary. (Daniel 9:16-17)
The term “stronghold” is taken from the word “ochuroma” meaning 1) a castle, a stronghold, a fortress, fastness or 2) anything on which one relies; used of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent. Webster’s dictionary conveys the meaning as (a fortified place; a place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic.) From these meanings we can discern that a stronghold is a fortified place within our soul dominated by a particular characteristic contrary to the character and nature of God.
A dominion is likewise defined as the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); authority over mankind; a thing subject to authority or rule; a jurisdiction. Webster’s records a dominion as a domain; supreme authority: sovereignty. Therefore a carnal dominion can be understood as a sphere of authority granted that allows the exercise of influence over ones thoughts and actions that are opposed to the mandates of scripture and the representations of a righteous life. The Lord and He alone is to occupy the thrones of our soul having complete dominion and authority over the purchase of His blood. Any other power usurping that place of authority rightfully belonging to Him, creates conflict within us and a veil over our soul separating us from the fullness of His Presence.
THE WAR IS RAGING
I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:23-25)
If we are to fulfill the biblical mandate to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and strength, we must experience the reality of yielding our will to the will of the Father and apprehend the purification and refinement in each area of our life. The foundation for this principal resides in his abundant love for us and our love and appreciation toward Him for His great work of redemption. This war is presently raging in the souls of those being prepared to be used mightily of the Spirit.
Who will set us free from the body characterized by this spiritual death? The body is the scene of this spiritual confrontation. Sin living in our members imparted with the fall of man in the garden of Eden brings spiritual death to the body and separates us from that which we desire most...intimate fellowship with the Lord. Thus, man becomes aware that his strength is insufficient in himself to win this war. Paul cried out for the deliverance of his soul from the spiritual opposition working contrary to the true desire of his heart. The fallen nature of man is characterized by spiritual death?--the doing of that which is in opposition to his desire to do that which is good. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, we can be free and experience victory in this battle as we surrender to the fortifying work of God. Those who do are called “overcomers” inheriting the great promises reserved specifically for them. (Revelation 2:7,11,17,26; Revelation 3:5,12,21; Revelation 21:7)
BE SLOW TO ANGER
The Holy Spirit has clearly identified one of the great strongholds of the enemy in the American church is anger. Anger is generally the offspring of aggravation and irritation promoted through the Western lifestyle permeating this nation. The modern media fuels this stronghold by promoting a robust and stressful lifestyle creating frustration and pressure even within Christian homes, when allowed. These strongholds must be identified and dealt with through our biblical promises. To yield to these enemies is not simply experiencing unwanted emotions, rather, it admits demonic spirits assigned to create havoc and confusion at every opportunity. Unresolved anger, left unaddressed, will become bitterness and will pervert our thinking on every level. Bitterness will defile.
The Holy Spirit has also made it clear that un-forgiveness along with anger is another predominant stronghold inhibiting many from entering into their heritage and greater intimacy with the Lord. Unforgiveness has a traveling companion named rejection. Rejection will blind us from the love the Lord has for us and His plans for our welfare. Although many of us have been hurt, abused, and maltreated by parents, teachers, neighbors or others with whom we have had contact in the past, to harbor un-forgiveness only prevents our high calling and God's best for us. The Lord keeps good books. He knows all that has been done against us and all that we have done against Him. We must sow grace at every opportunity in order to reap a harvest of abounding grace. We have each been forgiven much and should therefore be willing to likewise forgive. In so doing we will discover our own freedom as we release to God any and all wrongs done against us, even praying for the Lord’s blessings upon those who hurt us.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you (Philippians 3:13-15)
To give undue attention to the past will only serve as a stumbling block to our desired goal of perfect fellowship with Him. The past contains both victories and defeats. The enemy will often try to divert our focus to either in an effort to withdraw our attention from the Lord and our divine destiny. David, the great prophet and king, once said, One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)
This singleness of purpose is paramount is our pursuit to Know God and walk intimately with Him. We can only allow ourselves to focus forward and upward in this noble quest to become One with Him.Anything else would serve only as a distraction from the “one thing” for which we have been called and commissioned. Let us therefore, so live that we may sincerely say, that there is one great object, which we always have in view...HIM. With all diligence avoid everything, which would interfere with that “one thing”. The past is the past because it is the past. Let it thus remain.
If we are to fulfill the commission to pull down strongholds and dominions holding captive our churches and communities, we must first experience freedom from the strongholds and dominions residing in us as individuals. Then, the necessary release of heavenly authority will be entrusted to us to destroy corporate strongholds of the enemy in our surrounding community through the Love reigning in us. For now, a limited flow of power for ministry is being released. However, as love grows within us greater measures of power will be bestowed with ever increasing revelations of His Glory. The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty. The Lord is looking for “liberators” in whom He can display His glory and set the captive free. The Kingdom of Heaven is within and upon the thrones of our innermost being He is to rule and reign allowing the Rivers of Living water to flow freely, providing a refreshing to those who are perishing.
We will love the Lord our God with our entire soul when it has been fully purified by the washing by the water of the Word. The divine attributes expressed to us through the Word provides the key that unlocks the resources of heaven to mold us and change us into His image, when applied in faith. Having an absolute resolve in our hearts concerning this biblical heritage touches the heart of the Father, releasing grace and strength needed for the battle. We must have the determination to no longer allow these strongholds to separate and veil us from His Presence and the fellowship rightfully ours.
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:12-14)