Types of spiritual strongholds

Wrong-doctrine/misuse of Scripture

Spiritual TruthSPIRIT OF TRUTH

Unconfessed Sin
Suicidal Thoughts

Spiritual Truth(Garment of) PRAISE

Seeks acceptance

Spiritual TruthACCEPTANCE


Spiritual Truth

Gossip/Slander Betrayal
Critical nature Judgmental

Spiritual Truth

Seeks positions

Spiritual TruthHUMILITY

Spiritual Truth
Seeks activities
No spiritual power
Spiritual blindness

Spiritual TruthPRAISE & PEACE

types of spiritual strongholds


Walter Patrick Bissell (1 December 1957 – 29 December 1987) was an American Ballet Dancer who was known for his brilliant performance. He was a fine Athlete also. He happened to die at a very young age the age from Cocaine overdose. What happened?

As Patrick’s mother admitted later he was a victim of physical and verbal abuse at her hands for a very long time when he was a child. Many years of abuse left him emotionally wounded very deeply. Instead of seeking professional help he sought after Cocaine for temporary relief.

Many will blame the mother but there’s a spiritual aspect to this tragedy. Satan used Patrick’s hurts as a foundation to build a wall of lies about him, brick by brick. The Bible calls this a Spiritual Stronghold.

As God’s children, it’s crucial that we learn about Spiritual Strongholds in our own lives and how to deal with them because they are one of the highly effective strategies Satan use against us. I will share with you 5 core truths today.

Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (Core Bible Verse)

1. A Literal Stronghold is a Structure

A. Literally speaking a Stronghold is actually a reference to a fortified structure or a Fortress. In ancient times fortresses were built to defend great cities from invading armies. They were very strong structures constructed using thick and solid stones. It made a counter attack much easier as the Archers at guard on top of the fortress could rain down arrows on the enemy on the ground.

B. These structures were built on mountain tops or high places. Those that were built on the lower ground were often surrounded by a water-filled moat – often inhabited by carnivorous fishes like Piranha. Highly guarded at times of war no one could enter in or go out without prior permission (The wall of Jericho – Joshua 6:1)

C. The ruins of such structures can be seen even today. The Great Wall of China, The Red Fort in India and the Sigiriya in Sri Lanka are examples for such places.

2. A Spiritual Stronghold is a Mindset

A. In the New Testament Paul, the Apostle uses the term ‘Stronghold’ as a metaphor to refer to a false yet very strong state of mind. (It’s the fruit of Satan’s work within us.) This state of mind, in particular, takes the form of an argument, a false logic or speculation that underestimate the redeeming power of God. (…every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…)

B. For example, someone you trusted, who should have played a father-figure role in your life deeply betrayed your trust and hurt you. As a result, the devil lied to you that you are on your own because no one could be trusted. You in turn then become fiercely independent, so much so that you have trust issues, which has then resulted in a struggle to trust God for who he is.

C. So this mindset among other things can cause us to sin, inaccurately convince us about the person of God, urge us to live according to erroneous interpretations of Scripture, entertain pride of life, distort our perception of how God sees us and feels about us when we sin.

3. The Formation of Spiritual Strongholds

A. It often begins with an emotional wound we experience caused by hurt or disappointment that makes our heart fertile ground for seeds of lies to be planted. On this foundation, the devil then begins to build brick by brick walls of logical lies.

B. The moment we buy into these lies and agree with the devil, thereby ceding control, that area of our lives become a Spiritual Stronghold, which the devil vigorously defends and retains control of.

C. As years pass by these walls can become so strong the victim will not even want to be helped. The Paralytic by the Pool of Bethesda is a classic example of such situations. After 38 years of waiting he believed God cannot heal him unless he gets into the pool first when the water is stirred.

4. Common Roots of Spiritual Strongholds

Spiritual Strongholds differ from one person to another so are their roots. Given below are the most common roots.

A. Sin

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provides atonement for all sins. However, Christ can’t atone for sins we decide not to confess, (Proverbs 28:13). Devil the enemy of our soul thrives on secrecy and will establish a stronghold in unexposed sin in our lives.

B. Lies

These are lies about God, about yourself and lies about how God sees you. Lies that the devil has been whispering over and over in your mind for years, which in your pain, you have unfortunately chosen to believe.

C. Occult

Engaging in the occult is nothing less of posting a ‘Vacancy’ sign on your life for evil spirits.

D. Un-forgiveness

When we harbor bitterness against others the devil takes advantage by keeping us in bondage. The people who wounded us may not deserve to be forgiven, but we forgive because Jesus Christ forgave us for an even greater sin against God. Secondly, we forgive because it sets us free from bondage produced by bitterness.

5. Tearing down the Spiritual Strongholds

A. Many Christians fail at this because they don’t even know there is a stronghold. Therefore we need to prayerfully probe our lives for constant battlegrounds, unhealthy habits or thoughts patterns and struggles we don’t want others to know. Remember that Strongholds can take the form of good things also. Such as food, religion, a fierce-protectiveness. Although good they become toxic to your soul when the roots are in demonic lies that stemmed from a wound.

B. Spiritual Strongholds can only be destroyed through non-stop Spiritual Warfare. To wage such warfare however you need to abide in Christ. (…we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ…) Mentioned below is how to do that.

C. Spiritual Strongholds are built upon lies. You must replace those lies with God’s truth. To do so you need to start exposing yourself to God’s Word in a systematic manner and confess the truths you learned against the Strongholds you have identified. Any unhealthy habits and thought patterns that are foundational to known Strongholds must be replaced with healthy habits and godly thought patterns.


Finally, we need to guard our hearts closely lest the devil can rebuild his Strongholds that were brought down. To guard our hearts must remember one thing. Our identity is not rooted in our success or failures but in the work of Christ that was completed on the cross. Jesus saw every failure, shortcoming and every sin we would ever commit, and yet he laid His life down for us (Colossians 2:14). We don’t have to perform to earn God’s approval because Christ has already earned it for us. We only need to believe.

(If this sermon was helpful to you please consider leaving your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. It would be a great encouragement to me personally.)


The battle is truly for the mind. The enemy has only three weapons to use against us –deception, which brings temptation which opens the door to accusation. All of these activities operate from within the mind.

types of spiritual strongholds

Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons.The strongholds of Satan over your mind are brought down and you become free to follow Christ wholeheartedly.

The devil suggests something to us, and we see it in our mind’s eye. He whispers his thoughts and our imagination protects them onto the screen of our mind. These become powerful arguments within us inciting us to reject the wisdom of God. But equally, if we resist these vain imaginations and hold onto the wisdom of God, every wicked thing is cast down from our minds and we have victory over the devil.

Key Thought

Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons. God has given you the full force of his wisdom to cast down arguments and to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. That way the strongholds of Satan over your mind are brought down and you become free to follow Christ wholeheartedly.


Lord, I reject every false argument and vain imagination of Satan in my mind. I bring every thought of mine captive to the obedience of Christ, now, in the name of Jesus! Amen.

Discipleship Steps

Dealing with your thought life is a crucial part of following Christ. Ideas have consequences and false notions lead you down wrong, even disastrous, paths. Reject the lies of Satan that come through popular culture, human wisdom and the thoughts that build strongholds in your mind. It is absolutely essential that you spend time each day in the Word and in prayer, tearing down every argument and making every thought captive to Christ.

Read: 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

Strongholds of the Mind and Spiritual Warfare was last modified: September 28th, 2012 by Colin Dye



In 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV) we read, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (NKJV).  Now before we talk about how to pull down strongholds (spiritual strongholds) we need to answer the following questions:

What are the weapons we fight with?  Well, we know they are not of the world, and they are divinely powerful (v. 4).  All those pieces of armor we talked about earlier, though they were discussed as being mainly for defense, can also be used as offensive weapons.  And we have many other weapons too, such as obedience, humility, joy, love, and of course prayer.  And all of these come from God.  In fact, we could say that God is our weapon against sin and all the forces of evil.  For example, if we have love, if we have faith, if we have prayer that we use to battle with, they all are of God.  We have no love in ourselves, no faith in ourselves, and we cannot pray by ourselves.  We can do nothing of ourselves, not even seek God.  He seeks us out and draws us to Him.  Then He puts love and faith and prayer into us.  We battle by the power of God alone.  All the weapons He gives us, we could say, are instruments to channel His power through us.

 What is a spiritual stronghold?  The word “stronghold” (achurooma), in 2 Corinthians 10:4 (as it is translated in the NIV), could also be rendered as a strong fortification.  And from verse 5 we must conclude that “arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (NIV) is what is housed in and really is what makes up this fortification.  Hence, a stronghold (a spiritual stronghold) is a place in the mind where there is an accumulation of thoughts that seem to give a good reason to sin.  It is an accumulation of arguments for evil.  This place in the mind is a place of moral darkness where demons like to go and where they feel comfortable and protected—because wherever sin is harbored that is where demons dwell.

How do we recognize a spiritual stronghold?  That is, how do we know if we have a stronghold?  Is every sin a stronghold?  Well, I would say, to the degree that you harbor sin and habitually sin, to that degree you have a stronghold.  If you are not willing to let go of a sin, then yes, you have a stronghold.  And I am of the opinion that if you have a sinful habit you also have demons in your life—because demons like to go where sin is harbored.

But, basically, you know that a person has a stronghold in his mind when lies become truth to him.  And, when that stronghold is extra strong, that person will profusely argue against the truth.  For instance, when people argue and say there is nothing wrong with abortion, or homosexuality, or adultery, or lust, or the occult, then you know those people have strongholds because we know those things are wrong.  They have believed a lie.  Here then are…

Five Ways to Pull Down Strongholds

1.  Submit to God in humility.  If you are praying for a friend, ask God to humble him.  If you have contact with your friend, counsel him to submit to God.  Humility is the weapon used against pride.  We need to break down pride first because it is the sin that protects and holds together all the strongholds.  Thus, when pride is removed Satan will flee (Ja. 4:7), and the strongholds are weakened.

2.  After pride is removed—which could be considered as a stronghold in itself—ask God to expose all other strongholds.  Make a list of each one as God reveals them to you.

3.  Repent of all sin that makes up each stronghold and determine not to think that way any longer.

4.  Replace every lie with truth; and for every lie memorize a verse of truth.  For example, for the lie, which says, “I am a failure, I can do nothing right”—memorize Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

5.  Build strongholds of truth.  Don’t be satisfied with memorizing just a few verses.  Build huge strongholds of truth by memorizing many verses.  Try to memorize at least three verses for every lie.  The more verses you have committed to memory the better your defense will be against Satan.

This post is from the book Prayer A to Z, and is also in the book Purpose of Prayer.


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