I once read that pulling down strongholds was the demolition and removal of old ways of thinking so that the actual presence of God can be seen and I think that at this tender age of life I am beginning to suss this out and what it means.
The Greek word for stronghold, literally, means a fortress. It is used in the Bible as a metaphor to represent the things that are based on human confidence and pride, as opposed to the reality of God's spirit or guidance. Therefore strongholds are fortresses that exist within our minds. They are extremely supportive thought-patterns and ideas that govern our lives, our communities, and our churches. It basically means that they are ideologies, and are things that have a "strong hold" or "grip" over us, as individuals, as a person, or even a nation where they control our lives and we have no power to stop from doing them!
St Paul called them "principalities and powers" where these ideologies can be found to exist almost everywhere in our lives. From kinder garden to the lecture halls of our universities, "for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh." (2 Cor 10. 3.f)
You could call them the obsessions, passions that exists when we think we are right as opposed to when we are wrong, where I believe at the moment one of the biggest strong holds over our lives, which dominates our society at the moment is materialism, both in thought and action, and is endangering our planet and our species.
Its not science or technology that is the evil, nor is it what man can achieve. If it were never meant to be God would not have given it (science) to us in the first place, nor the brains to use it. I believe we are meant to reach for the stars, and are meant to find cures for cancer and many other things. But its strange how we can never achieve anything for the sake of achievement, and achievement alone, where the greatest super strong hold as I call it has a grip upon us, money, the root of all evil. Where we cannot find a cure nor solution without having placing a sense of value and wealth upon it.
Sometimes the problem with dealing with it is the old language of the bible, and its truths. How many of us have been possessed by something, gripped by the want or need for something? Often material, a possession, or even a lust. Even the thought of religion, religious extreme-ism is all part of this strange war-fare that we under go with in us. I watched my mother for years trying to give up smoking, or one of the most loving women in my life trying to kick the habit of alcoholism.
A century ago hundreds of temperance movements were formed to combat alcoholism. One of them was called 'The Rechabites'. They were largely formed by women, and held hundreds of protests
and rallies up and down the country particularly at Westminster and 10 Downing Street. Their aim was to break the strong hold of alcoholism, and the affects that it was having on society. For you see it wasn't so much the alcohol, but the intent people had on making money who were investing in it, fleecing the poor.
The Rechabites in Jer 35 had taken a vow to obey the commands of their forefathers and no matter the setting or circumstance, they remained true to their commitment. They abstained from heavy drink, the obsessions and pleasures of life, and were thought to be the most perfect Christians to be found in the bible, following their ancestor Rechab.
It is said in the bible that they were tested by God to see if they would remain true to what they profess. I remember my grandmother telling me that she had signed the pledge early on in her life. 'The Pledge'
Strange to say, we never think of such things as strong holds, but I can see what possess our young ones today, computers, mobile phones, drugs, adventure; etc, etc...... Try kicking the habit, try simply admitting to yourself you have a habit or are possessed! As St Paul says, "we do not fight flesh and blood but principalities and powers", which can be anything that robs you of life and I mean anything including religion.
Sometimes when we add to much superstitious salt and pepper to our religious gravy the language we find in the bible doesn't seem to taste the same as the language we use today. But think about it, if we could only see these things as the ideologies they are and obsessions that they may be, may be would see that there is some reality to our bibles after all. For sometimes it takes a lot more than just will power or determination to pull down these strong holds, because its the fear of loosing the comfort they can bring which prevents us from taking any conceivable action against them. For these strong holds can so easily be at the heart of the way we live and think and in many ways have become a great curse to our modern world.
Well its not much but I hope you like my wee blog, strong-holds how things can so easily possess us, and that is the truth.