How to Break Satan’s Strongholds in Your Life
Ephesians 4:27, 30
As surely as my name is Adrian Rogers, I know there are many Christians who have a satanic stronghold in their life. It’s harming them, wrecking their spiritual life, contaminating the life of their family and church. The devil has found an unclean place within and built a foul nest, a beachhead, a stronghold there. And he uses that stronghold to war against God and His work.
Ephesians 4 says, 27 Neither give place to the devil… 30 and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. We should sit up and take notice: on the one hand we could give place to the devil and on the other grieve the Holy Spirit. Either one should be unthinkable.
What does it mean to “give place to the devil”? Let’s say you own 50 acres of land, and I want one acre right in the middle of it. You sell it to me. Now I have the right to go into and out of your property at will, to get to my one acre. Supposed I start throwing trash around and paying loud music all hours of the night. I’m desecrating your property, but there’s nothing you can do—you’ve given me access. You try to make me leave, and I say, “I’m not going, and you can’t make me go. I’ve got a legal right to it. If you don’t like it, tough luck.” You wouldn’t be able to move me out because you gave me a place there.
Some of you have done the same thing for Satan! You can’t dislodge him unless you dislodge him legally because you’ve given him a place. He owns some strongholds in your life.
Here’s what you must do to dislodge the devil and break his strongholds. Three things:
Just before “Neither give place to the devil,” Paul says: 22…put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”
Be done with it, confess it, forsake it—there’s no other way to deal with sin. Repent—turn 1800 and walk the other way.
What gives place to the devil? 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
If you’re a liar, you’ve created a climate where the devil feels welcome. Lying is the devil’s nature. Jesus said, “The devil is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). He is the prince of darkness. God’s kingdom is built on truth. If there’s an area of dishonesty in your life, that will be the devil’s campground.
If you would steal so much as a fifteen cent pencil, you’ve made a place for the devil. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is much and he that is unfaithful in that which is least is unfaithful also in that which is much” (Luke 16:10). Not may be, but is. With God, thievery is thievery. It makes no difference. You’re a thief.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,
5:4 And neither filthiness nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not convenient but rather giving of thanks. The devil is filthy. Do you gossip, assassinate character, and steal somebody’s reputation to make you feel better by trying to put them down? You’re a thief.
If you have a filthy mouth, it’s because you have a filthy heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Satan incubates and dwells in a filthy heart. You’ve given it to him and he’s going to make a stronghold out of it.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
If you’re bitter, you’re like the devil. He loves to find that kind of heart. If you’re bitter, you’ve got no joy, no victory, your prayers are not getting through to God. You’re ruining your own life and the lives around you, and contaminating the life of your church.
But the devil is not finished yet. Bitterness often leads to slander. The word devil literally means “Slanderer.” If you are a slanderer, a gossip, if you are speaking evil, you’re doing the devil’s work.
Your bitterness soon turns to wrath, burning on the inside—internal heat, like smoldering rags in an attic or closet. Then those smoldering rags burst into flames. That which is internal becomes external. But the devil is not finished yet. That anger then turns to clamor (shouting). Clamor turns to evil speaking. You start to say things you don’t mean, and now you’re out of control.
But you opened the door. The devil can take no place except what you gave him, and the Holy Spirit is weeping, heart broken.
Did you know you can break the heart of God? Can you imagine being saved, bought with the blood of Jesus, and this purchased temple has become a nest of Satan, and you opened the door. The dear Spirit of God is weeping and Satan is laughing, making a mockery of the things of God.
You gave him a place in your life. You’re not going to get that place back until you repent. Repentance is not just being broken over your sin, it is being broken from your sin. The Bible says put it away, be done with it.
Even after you repent, the devil is not going to walk out. After repentance there must be resistance.
27 Neither give place to the devil.
James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” What you gave him, you must take back. But you can never take it back until you take away his legal authority.
If there is sin in your life, every area where there is unconfessed sin is legal ground for Satan. Until you confess it and come for cleansing, Satan has every right to set up camp there. He’s not going to walk out. You’re going to have to run him out.
Even if you repent, you’ve still got to clean house. Go in there with a power of attorney, which is the name of Jesus, then take the blood of Jesus Christ as your authority, and you can say to him in no uncertain terms:
“Satan, I’ve given you a place, but I take it back in the name and the authority of Jesus. I clean it out, I repent of the sin, I cancel the debt, it’s all done. Devil, you have no more right, you have no more legal authority. Satan, I don’t shout at you. I don’t plead with you. I don’t argue with you. I don’t beg you. I bring Jesus Christ against you. You have no right, you have no authority. This body of mine is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. You are trespassing on my Father’s property and in the name of Jesus whose I am and whom I serve, be gone.”
The Bible says he will flee from you. But if you try to resist the devil with unconfessed sin in your life, he will laugh in your face. He’ll say, “You gave me this piece of property and I am not moving out.” There must be repentance, then there can be resistance.
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness
It’s not enough to put off the old man; you must put on the new man. “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18.
To be “filled with the Spirit” means there’s not one room in your temple where God is shut out, not one closet He doesn’t have a key to. In your sex life, family life, business life, political life, church life, social life—in your money, your exercise, your sleep, your eating, “in my lying down, in my waking up, Jesus, I give you the keys to it all.” 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
You have a choice; you can grieve the Spirit of God and be filled with the devil or you can put the devil out and be filled with the Spirit of God.
You’re never going to cease grieving the Holy Spirit, you’re never going to expunge Satan from your life, until you choose against Satan and yield to God’s Holy Spirit. Take those three steps, repentance, resistance and renewal.
Recently I have been struggling with taking my thoughts captive. I have allowed certain thoughts to really have their way within my mind, gathering power as they roll around, over and over again. Sometimes it’s just very easy to allow thoughts to get a foothold in our mind and not even realize that it is something that needs to be addressed and not allowed to grow. As I was letting my negative thoughts take hold one morning during my prayer time I realized, this is exactly how strongholds begin within us.
Strongholds start in our thoughts and lead to belief systems. It starts with negative thought patterns, such as “today is a terrible day”, or “I just can’t do this anymore”, or “why do these terrible things always happen to me”. These are just a few of the many examples of the thought patterns we struggle with that take root in us without us even realizing it. We are caught up in the emotion of whatever comes upon us, and we allow our thoughts to go in whatever direction our feelings guide us.
It is very important to remember that our soul is where our heart and emotion reside. According to the Word, we are easily deceived when we follow the leading of our hearts, because the condition of man is sinful. Therefore we cannot trust our hearts (aka our souls) to lead us, especially in emotional situations. We can only trust something that is unchanging and steady; Jesus Christ. Jesus does not change and is righteous and holy. Therefore we must compare every thought we have to His Word in scripture, and then give it over to Him so that He can unveil the truth hidden behind the emotion.
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
2 Cor 10:3-5
Time and time again I have found myself going into a negative thought pattern and giving it reign over my mind. Little did I know that these were thoughts that had been playing out in my mind like a broken record, year in and year out. Maybe some of the thoughts had changed in some ways, but basically it was the same negative pattern that led down the same road. If God says He is God, then why am I so miserable, and why does the world look so terrible? It finally dawned on me that these thoughts took hold of me long ago and formed roots that went very deep.
Somewhere in my heart, I decided long ago that God was not who He said He was. I just could not come to terms that any part of me really felt that. I know that I love Jesus. I know that God is good. I have seen the miracles He has worked in my life, time and time again. However, if my heart truly believed in the goodness of God and His provision over every area of my life, then why would I constantly come back to these thought patterns that conveyed mistrust of Him?
I could not see that deep in the hidden recesses of my heart I did not believe God’s promises of love and provision. I could not see how I could easily fall apart when things went wrong because I wasn’t standing on the truth. And I could not see that even though in my mind I knew all of God’s promises and of His love, I was really not accepting them as though they were for me. I could tell myself all day long I believed all these truths, but in my heart I truly did not believe.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Roman 12:2
It was not that I didn’t believe in God or Christ, or even love Him with all my heart, mind and soul. It was that the hurt and dysfunction of my life had rendered me heart-broken and unable to accept these truths. My heart was in so much pain that it easily received the lies the devil had been sowing into me all along. The lies that I was unlovable, not worthy of God, and worse yet, that God is a liar and is not able to hold me up when I fall apart.
That is why it is so important to test every thought we have. We need to be willing to discipline our thought life for a time instead of letting our emotions run around like children on the playground. That way if our thoughts do not align with the mind of Christ, we know that we need to allow His Word to renew and transform us from the inside out. Without God’s truth we are susceptible to the lies of the devil, lies we may have already fell prey to years ago.
The devil wants nothing more than to bring us into submission to his will. He stands before the throne of God day and night, hurling accusations against us in the courts of heaven. Unfortunately because the devil brings so much pain and despair with his lies, we fall into submission to these lies and allow them to dictate and even direct our lives in many ways. As long as we believe the lie, it serves its purpose to tear us down and bring us away from God. That is where the strongholds take place.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Years and years of false beliefs grow deeply into our hearts, taking root and establishing patterns of behavior that go unnoticed by us. We blame it on our lives, on others, on our circumstances, and even on God. The one who never takes the blame is the evil one who has set his face against each of us. We need to live by the truth that we are holy and blameless in the eyes of God, and adopted in son-ship through Jesus Christ into His family.
The moment we come to a place to recognize how far from the Word we have fallen, we need to start reigning our souls in and allow the Spirit of the Lord to led us instead. He is here every moment of our lives to guide and protect us. Even though God may not protect us in the ways we deem necessary, He is always with us. As we allow His Spirit to take charge over our lives, He will bring a great depth of healing into our hearts.
Our hearts are where our strongholds lie, and that is where we must begin. It is from our heart that life flows, and God is willing to give us a new heart; one that is purified and refined from the lies of the devil. It all starts with the Word of God. The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit in our Armor, and we must allow it to shape and define us, separating us from all that is unholy and untrue.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Where do we start when we want to break down spiritual strongholds? With our thoughts. Our thoughts will be the beginning of the trail that will lead us to the beliefs we hold in our hearts. Our thoughts betray the true intentions of our hearts. When we take our thoughts captive and give them to Christ, we can be sure that He will lead us to the next step. Jesus is more than willing and able to bring us the freedom and healing we truly desire.
So for today, start by acknowledging the worries and struggles that have been filling your mind. Take a mental inventory of those swirling thoughts by writing them down. Then go over them one by one and notice if there is a pattern to them over the next few days. Ask Jesus to guide you in this process as you give these thoughts to Him. Allow Him to gently guide you to the next step of recovering what has been stolen from you. Hope and truth.
Once you begin to take your thoughts captive the real work begins. Jesus can start giving you truth and you can start relying on that as you navigate your heart and search it for where it has gone astray. You can see the places in your life where the lies began to take hold and take root, giving every circumstance over to Jesus. Jesus can reestablish and rehabilitate your heart and mind to reconcile it back to Himself. We only need to be willing.
he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven