Each of us has things in our life that entangle us and hold us back, so what do we need to do to ensure the pulling down of strongholds in our lives?
It’s amazing how much we can learn from nature in our spiritual walk. The Bible is full of examples! Just think of a tiny seed and the potential it has. They say, “you can count the number of seeds in an apple but not the number of apples in a seed.” Each of us has huge potential to be fruitful in God’s Kingdom. All it takes is faith, even the size of a mustard seed. Because that seed can germinate and grow.
Growth is easy, given the right conditions, however, it seems there are always challenges. In The Parable of the Sower Jesus talked much about seed and the various outcomes one can expect when planting. When it comes to pulling down strongholds, verse 7 is appropriate… “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.”
What is choking you today? Which strongholds need pulling down in your life? I would like to encourage you to overcome the obstacles in your way, through this prophetic picture…
I was out walking in the fields near my home, admiring a heavily wooded area where the trees were flourishing in the spring sunshine. I love Spring because it is a season of hope after a dreary winter.
Walking under a canopy of green, I came upon a particular sapling that captured my attention. The young tree had a shower of new leaves but was entwined with a long, snake-like bramble almost as thick as its stem. The bramble shoot was a luminous yellowy-green that looked like a green mamba.
There were other, darker bramble strands at the base of the tree, but this particular thorny shoot was so long it extended far beyond the tree into a mass of foliage. I wondered to myself how long this shoot could be… and I found myself tugging at it to find out!
Well, it must have been at least 8 meters and it took a lot of pulling to find that out. Of course one of the thorns ripped into my skin, but actually, it was pretty easy to get rid of this lengthy strand even though it was choking the tree. I wouldn’t have tried this on an older, more established bramble, well not without protective gloves and a pair of secateurs.
But in this we see a spiritual truth. The sooner we get rid of the strongholds in our lives, the easier it is! The longer we let them entangle us, the more difficult it is to get rid of them. As believers, we need to know what our strongholds are, recognise how far they extend and pull them down before they choke us to death.
Now if you’ve seen a bramble you will know how hardy and determined they are, with powerful roots and destructive thorny shoots that grow rapidly. In the same way, evil influences can quickly come into our lives, ready to throttle us if we don’t take immediate action.
Pulling down strongholds
This reminds me of a powerful Bible verse – Corinthians 10:4. In the Amplified version it says: “The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
Or as the NKJV puts it, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” The secret to pulling down strongholds in our lives is the arsenal of spiritual weapons God has given us.
The NIV describes it like this…. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (Corinthians 10:4-5)
So what are these weapons? There are many, starting with repentance. Turning around from the way we have been going and choosing to do things God’s way. You can learn more by reading Ephesians 6:10-18 which describes the Armour of God.
There, you will discover that the Sword of the Spirit is our most potent weapon. This is because the Word of God reveals the truth and that is what sets us free. Our battlefield is in the mind and winning requires submitting to God’s thoughts – His ways rather than our own.
I have had to deal with some major brambles in my life. Some of them have been easy to remove, but others have taken much longer. Some have even grown back and it has been a long process to get rid of them.
Some of these ‘brambles’ are tolerated or even celebrated by others, though they lead to utter destruction. Yes, the berries they produce may be delicious, but the choking isn’t worth it, neither are the pricks, cuts and tears.
God wants us to be free, and that means pulling down strongholds of every kind. There is a saying, ‘Nothing tastes better than thin feels’… an encouragement to those who need to lose weight. Or in this case, “Nothing feels better than the taste of freedom!”
I would encourage you to pull down the brambles in your life. These could be anything including inferiority, lust, idolatry etc. Perhaps these evil tentacles haven’t affected you, but you will have something else trying to choke you. Everyone has to face temptation in their own way. Pull down those strongholds by the power of God, lay an axe to the root, if need be and walk in the freedom and fullness God has for you.
Also read: How do you fill your God-shaped vacuum?