How to overcome strongholds

how to overcome strongholds

by Adam Wittenberg


Ministry and Outreach

Tim Erickson spent decades in the deliverance ministry, but still felt there was something more to setting people free from destructive habits and emotions. That led him and his wife, Olga, to establish Overcoming Strongholds (OS), a deliverance ministry at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City.

Since 2012, they’ve helped many people find freedom, and trained others in how to do deliverance. One of Tim’s passions is to improve both the perception and practice of deliverance ministry, in light of the many misconceptions about it.

“Most people don’t know about deliverance, or they think it’s something bad like a bunch of demons screaming,” Tim says. “The words salvation and deliverance actually come from the same word. It was everything Jesus was doing—setting people free.”

When deliverance is seen as a process involving discipleship and healing, as well as casting out demons, the ministry takes on a much more accessible feel. At weekly OS meetings, which are open to the public, Tim, Olga, and their team of ministers give teaching on deliverance and pray for people who want freedom.

Many are healed on the spot, while others enroll in one-on-one deliverance sessions to gain freedom.

Tim’s aim is to see biblical results by using only what is found in Scripture and to follow Holy Spirit’s leading. That’s led him to continually revise his deliverance “model.”

“The Lord was saying, ‘I want to lead your sessions,’” he says. “The method is supplemental. God can lead and guide you, because every situation and every person is different.”

Below are some practical tips and truths he’s gleaned to help people in ministry and those who want to start:

  • Deliverance is all about understanding who God is and who the person is in Him. It’s about identity, not just casting out demons.
  • It includes discipling people after they get free from a demon, so they can break out of the stronghold and false identity. Ask God what resources to give them.
  • The afflicted person needs to use their will. They need to engage in the process by repenting of lies, embracing truth, and agreeing for the demon to be cast out.
  • Ministering deliverance isn’t based on your personality—it’s based on understanding your authority in Christ. Even quiet or shy people can do it, because the power is in the name of Jesus and obedience to Him. Demons can come out at a word—it is not necessary to shout.
  • You learn best by doing: you’ve got to lay hands on the person and pray. Partner with someone (who’s more experienced, if possible), read Scripture—especially the Gospels—and ask Jesus to show you the best way to do it.
  • The enemy is NOT more powerful than God! The devil’s biggest weapon is the lie. We’ve got to believe God will come in power and give people a revelation of who He is. The Lord wants to give it to us!


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The idea of demonic strongholds is found only one time in the Bible. Second Corinthians 10:4 states, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” How can such demonic strongholds be overcome?

Paul begins by instructing believers to use the right weapons. Second Corinthians 10:3 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.” We do not use human weapons; believers depend on God’s power to overcome the powers of evil. How? Through prayer for God’s help and dependence upon the Holy Spirit who lives in the believer.

Verses 5-6 offer details on how to overcome these spiritual strongholds: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” Our dependence upon God includes dealing with the false lies or ideas of evil, taking “every thought captive to obey Christ,” and being willing to stand against wrong when it occurs.

Dealing with false ideas or to “destroy arguments” involves identifying the lies that Satan, demonic forces, or the world around us may present. How can we identify these lies? We compare beliefs with biblical teachings from God. The Bible offers a clear foundation that distinguishes right from wrong to help us determine whether an idea might be from God or whether it is a lie from Satan.

Second, how do we take every thought captive to obey Christ? This occurs when we both identify the right thing to do and then apply it. James 1:22 teaches, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Third, how do we stand against wrong when it occurs? In Paul’s original context, he commanded the Corinthian Christians to stand against a sinful sexual practice taking place with a member in their congregation. This is one of many examples of standing up against sin when it takes place. When we see another Christian living in sin, we are called to lovingly confront them and help them turn away from evil. In doing so, we must also evaluate our own life (Matthew 7:1-5) and be careful not to fall ourselves in the process of helping someone else (1 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 6:1-5).

Overcoming demonic strongholds is not really about casting out demons or other spiritual encounters like someone might envision from a movie. Instead, it involves identifying sinful lies, comparing them with biblical beliefs, standing against evil, and doing so by the power of God’s Spirit.

Related Truth: Spiritual warfare – What does the Bible say?Is there demonic activity in the world today?How should I respond to spiritual attack?What is the full armor of God?What is the sword of the Spirit?

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Truth about Angels

how to overcome strongholds

We all have them.

We all have weak areas where we are easily tempted to go astray.  If we are not careful and we give into temptation on a habitual basis – a stronghold can form in our hearts and our minds.

2 Corinthians 10:3 & 4 says:

“3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Everyday we wake to a spiritual battle.

If we are unaware of the tactics of our enemy and we let our guard down – we will soon find that there are fortresses and obstacles ahead in our lives.  These are areas that in our own flesh – we do not have the power to overcome the enemy.

If we try to go up against the enemy in our own strength – it’s only a matter of time until we lose.

But if we go against the enemy with God’s divine power – we CAN destroy strongholds.

Where do these strongholds come from?

The next verse in 2 Corinthians 10 tells us:

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Strongholds come from arguments and opinions that are raised in our thoughts against God and his ways.



Like the snake in the garden – when he questioned Adam and Eve, we ask the same question, “Did God really say that?” (Genesis 3:1)

The battlefield is in our minds!

Do we get that?  That the battle is not always – the world or “Satan made me do it” or our peers who are pressuring us or the internet, movies or the television’s fault.

It’s false arguments and wayward opinions that we allow to bounce around in our thoughts.  We fail to take them captive and destroy them.  We let them exist and do not deal with them.

We are sleeping with the enemy.

This brings us to our reading in the book of Deuteronomy this week.

Look closely at chapters 12 and 13 and see how God tells Israel to deal with anything that would lead his people astray.  The words are strong and clear.

2 You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place.
~Deuteronomy 12:2-3

6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known,7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. 9 But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

11 And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.
~Deuteronomy 13:6-11

12 “If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to dwell there, 13 that certain worthless fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, 14 then you shall inquire and make search and ask diligently. And behold, if it be true and certain that such an abomination has been done among you, 15 you shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, devoting it to destruction, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword. 16 You shall gather all its spoil into the midst of its open square and burn the city and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God.

It shall be a heap forever. It shall not be built again.
~Deuteronomy 13:12-16

Friends, these are such strong commands and verses that I hesitated to post them here.  I know that many would read these and see them as incredibly harsh – where’s the grace right?

But what we do not understand, is this is God’s great love and care of His people.

God KNOWS that sin destroys us.  It is fun for a season but in the end it leads to death.

God is our protector.

God loves you.

He is the Lion of Judah, the Great I Am, the Creator of the universe and He does not want you entangled and enslaved by the strongholds of the enemy.

That is why he has equipped us for battle with his truth.  We must know truth, wear our spiritual armor daily and be in God’s Word so we are equipped to fight the enemy.   We can not coast aimlessly through life assuming we got this in our own strength.

Darkness is not stagnate.  

It moves in anywhere it can.  

The light MUST push out the darkness.

We must participate in pushing out the darkness.

In Deuteronomy 12:7 – after the the destruction takes place, Israel is told:

And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.

After – and only after – we take these steps of obedience and push out the darkness –  will we find all that our soul truly desires:

Eating in peace.

Rejoicing in our households.

Blessings in all that we undertake.

The peace and happiness we so long for in our souls, comes after we have obeyed the Lord and fought the enemies arguments and opinions.

Is there a stronghold in your life that you need to destroy?

As we see in our reading in Deuteronomy – God told his people to take drastic measures to burn down, tear up, kill by the sword and destroy the enemy.

Where has the enemy taken ground in your life and created a stronghold?

Don’t hesitate.

Destroy it today.

Do it now.

Walk with the King,

**Chime In**

Is there something in your life you need to take drastic measures to destroy so you can be free and live in peace, joy and blessings?  Share it with us in the comment section.  You are not alone.

Have you studied the book of Ecclesiastes yet? 

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how to overcome strongholds

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1 John 1:9; James 5:16; Romans 6:12-18; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:16-23; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:22; Hebrews 13:4


 Heavenly Father, I thank You for the blessings that have come down to me from my ancestors on my father’s line and my mother’s line.

But I also acknowledge that as a result of their sinful beliefs and practices, they had also sinned against you in many ways.

Today I choose to forgive my ancestors for the consequences of their sexual sins that have affected me.

Please break the yoke and power of this generational curse of sexual sins off me.

Please forgive me too for my own sexual sins.

I know I am enslaved to these sins and that I am powerless to deliver myself.

I acknowledge that You can help me and that Jesus have already paid the debt for my sin.

All I need to do is claim it personally, for Jesus, had bore all of my sins, past, present and future when He died for me on the cross.

I accept the gift of grace offered to me through Jesus’ sacrificial death.

I thank You that You know everything about me. Help me to be completely truthful with You. I don’t need to hide any more.

If I confess my sins, You are faithful and just and will forgive my sins and purify me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Father, right now I choose to repent and renounce my sins of *(sexual lust / fornication / adultery / mental sexual fantasies and pleasure / pornography / masturbation / lasciviousness / sexual promiscuity / debauchery / sensuality / prostitution / homosexuality / lesbianism / voyeurism / degrading passions / …………………….. / ……………………… ).

* (Please pick only those that are relevant to you. You may add in those that are not found here).

Father, You sent Jesus to rescue me from this body of death!

I don’t have to be a prisoner to sin. This battle that rages over my body originates in my mind making me a slave to the sin that is still at work within me.

Right now, I surrender my mind to You.

Please cleanse my mind on the conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels.

Jesus, please Lord over my mind, my thought patterns and attitudes.

You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways (Psalm 139:1-3).

Come and dwell in me, Lord, by Your Holy Spirit, and set me free to live in Your resurrection life.

Please break the control and manipulation of sexual thoughts and images over my mind, body and sexuality.

Please forgive me and set me free from all consequences of my sins.

Please cleanse me of all defilement of spirit, mind, will, emotions and body.

Cleanse my eyes, ears, hands and sexual organs too.

In Jesus’ name, Father, lift off me all sexual spirits of lust.

The reason Jesus appeared was to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:7-8).

Lord, I have been a willing party to the devil’s work. Thank You that You appeared on this earth to die and be raised again to destroy his work.

Please destroy the works the devil has accomplished in me and through me. Set me apart for Your work from now on.

According to Your Word, no one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him (1 John 3:9).

Please help me to understand and admit that I cannot simply go on and on indefinitely in my sin and claim to belong to You.

I acknowledge to You that my body was not meant for sexual immorality, but for You, Lord.

You were meant to take authority over this body and bring it sanctification and meaning.

I know that my body is a member of Christ Himself.

I shall not then take the members of Christ and unite them in ungodly sexual relationships, whether real or virtual (1 Cor 6:13-15).

I renounce the use of my body as an instrument of unrighteousness and by so doing, ask You to break the sexual stronghold that the devil has brought into my life.

Please help me to exercise godly control over my sexual urges.

I have simply misused my body. Please cleanse it for Your use.

I present my body to You as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You and I choose to reserve the sexual use of my body only with my spouse.

In Jesus’ name, I renounce the lie of the devil that my body is not clean.

Father, I thank You that You have totally cleansed me unconditionally.

Jesus please Lord over my body and my bodily appetites, my sexuality and sexual expressions.

Therefore, I can now accept myself. And I choose to accept myself and my body as cleansed, in Jesus’ name.

I know that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in me, whom I have received from You. I am not my own; I was bought at a price. Therefore please help me to honour You with my body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Since I have been raised with Christ, help me to set my heart on things above, where Christ is seated at Your right hand, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1).

Please take my passions and redirect them first toward You. Be the chief focus of all my passions and create a new heart within me.

In Jesus’ name. Amen!

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