“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV).
The mind is the stronghold of the enemy – the devil. Dictionary defines stronghold as a fortified place, a place of security or survival, a place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic. The strongholds are the last stand of the enemy. The enemy will do everything at all costs to confuse the minds by inducing deceptions. The enemy has been keeping our minds away from the truth. He is planting seeds of evil thoughts and nurtures them until we believe on his lies. He is a liar from the beginning, and there is no truth in him. When He speaks, he speaks of lies.
“Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NKJV).
The thoughts and minds of all who do not believe in Christ and of the gospel of Christ have blinded by the devil. In reality, whoever hears this good news will surely accept it and surrender his life to it, but the deception of the enemy is there to blind the eyes of the world. It could have been better if we are able to see our enemy with the naked eye. However, we only see his manifestations through his works in the physical realm. It is not the will of God for the world to crumble into distress. It is, however, the work of the evil one to cause us pain, sufferings and hardships, and that is because the devil came to steal, to kill and to destroy lives. He will attempt to influence and take control of our minds, and he will ensure that our thoughts rebel against God. The devil will use our minds and thoughts to destroy ourselves, others and our surroundings.
The Carnal Mind
The thought of a carnal mind is a stronghold of the enemy. When a person is born in the spirit (born again) his mind remains as it is. His mind did not suddenly become obedient to the word of God. It will take some time to have his thoughts be renewed according to the principles of God. And because he has established his mind to the evil ways of this world, his flesh easily follows the dictates of his worldly thoughts. The carnal mind refuses to listen to the word of God. It is rebellious by nature, self-centered, and full of unbelief. The carnal mind is warring against God and is not subject to God’s principles. Although he is not God, he taught he is god and became a worshipper of himself. He places his ego in a pedestal and became self righteous, dishonoring His Creator. Ultimately his eyes were blinded by lust of this perverted world.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:5-7 NKJV).
Jesus between the Flesh and the Spirit
In Matthew 26:36-45, Jesus made a profound revelation of the secrets of the spirit of man and the flesh of man. There is a war between the two. The spirit of man is willing to follow the things of God, but the flesh goes the opposite way. It is a battle to win our thoughts into the obedience of God. It is a fight to submit our will to the will of the Father.
While spending the night in a place called Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray with Him to the Father. After He had prayed, He went to see His disciples and found them in a deep sleep. Jesus rebuked them for at least three times for not praying with him that night. Jesus declared, “…the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
According to Jesus, our spirit is in constant battle against our flesh. Our spirit is willing to obey God and desires to have fellowship with Him, but our flesh is so weak to follow suit. When Jesus offered prayers to the Father in Gethsemane, He struggled to the point of shedding droplets of blood to His forehead as He surrendered His will to the Father. Jesus had to pray three times that night before he finally surrendered His will to the will of the Father. Evidently, Jesus experienced the reality of His Spirit warring against His flesh. Nevertheless, He came out from that prayer closet determined to do the will of God.
Pulling Down Strongholds
In the scripture above, Paul wrote “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,” into the obedience of Christ. As your spirit is nurtured in the Word, your spirit acts as the voice of your conscience, and your mind and thoughts follow into the obedience of that conscience. You will have to make a choice between surrendering your will or not to the will of God. And it takes an act of faith in order to submit your will, your mind, and your thoughts to the will of God. Five things a believer must do to pull down the strongholds of the enemy:
First, the believer has to pull down the strongholds of the enemy by subjecting his thoughts into the obedience of Christ. The voice of your spirit which is your conscience is the quickest way to pull down the strongholds. It takes a strong conviction to demolish every selfish and evil thought the mind could ever process in a flash. It is not enough to read the Word in order to develop a strong conviction, but meditation and obedience to the Word on a consistent basis shall weaken the cravings of the flesh, and when the flesh is weak, the spirit comes out strong.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Second, the believer has to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot have the knowledge of God through your mind. It is through our spirit that God communes with us. You must feed on the Word of God. Feeding on the Word is the same as meditating on His Word. The Word of God must be part of your daily confession. You have to speak out the Word and let the Word sink in your heart. And when you speak His Word, it brings conviction in your heart. Also, you have to put the Word into action, or simply obey the Word. The Word shall be part of your daily activities until it becomes a part of you and you with the Word. In addition, your mind has to be renewed according to God’s word. You must have a determination to live according to His word. It is a choice that you will have to make.
Third, the believer has to obey the Word of God. Obedience is simply doing the will of God. The Word of God in your spirit doesn’t do you any good if you don’t put it in action. You have to put His Word into action by obeying what He says. As a matter of fact, obedience is the ultimate gauge for measuring the spirituality of a believer. It takes a lot of meditation and obedience to the Word of God to renew one’s thoughts. Your mind and your thoughts were not miraculously renewed at the time you were born again. Renewing of the mind is a process, and every process there is time involve. You cannot renew your mind overnight. You have to bring your thoughts under the control of the Word of God.
Fourth, the believer has to learn the truth of the Word of God. Whoever found the truth, has freed himself from the strongholds of the devil. Because the truth shall set you free, freedom from the lies of the enemy can only be realized if the truth is known. As a new covenant believer, the devil cannot influence your spirit. He can only suggest evil thoughts but he cannot touch your spirit. Your spirit is the candle of the Lord. He belongs to God. Your spirit is a new creation made into the image of Him and likeness of Him for good works in Christ.
Living According to the Spirit
Ephesians 1:17, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened …”
This prayer of Paul shall be our prayer also. Paul is praying for the spirit of wisdom and revelation of Christ for the saints. The only way to have a revelation of Christ in our hearts is through the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. Without the spirit of wisdom and revelation knowledge of Christ, no one can have the knowledge of God. The spirit of wisdom and the knowledge of Christ are the workings of the Holy Spirit to unfold the mystery of Christ.
Fifth, the believer has to live under the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who will work along with our spirit to subdue the desires of our flesh and the lust of this world. This is the biggest oversight of many believers – not living with the leading of the Holy Spirit. But God did not leave him alone. He gave His Spirit, the Comforter and the Teacher who will guide and lead him into all truths. He is the power and the ability of God. As a new covenant believer, the Holy Spirit is for you.
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus had commanded His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them before launching out into the ministry of the Gospel. You will never succeed in life without the power and the ability of the Holy Spirit living inside of you. He will reveal the wisdom of God from heaven through the Word of God that is in your mind and thoughts. He will give fresh anointing to the Word in your heart. He will give you the fire in serving the Lord, and compassion for the salvation of lost souls. You will become bold and not afraid to share the goodness of God to others. You will be a mighty witness for Jesus.
Think About These Things
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are if good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV).
Meditation is a discipline to be learned by every believer in Christ. It is a process that will nurture our spirit with the word of God. Moses had to educate Joshua the importance of meditation in order for him to succeed in the next assignment from God – the leadership and occupation of the promise land by the people of Israel. The secret of success is the meditation of the principles of God.
Part of meditation is the confession of God’s word with our lips. We must speak out the Word from our lips. It is not a new age or new thought idea, but this principle came from the scriptures. Meditation is putting our thoughts and our lips on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue and anything that is praiseworthy. If we can successfully apply “Philippians 4:8” in our lives, then, we have pulled down the strongholds of our enemy.