“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”
2 Corinthians 10:4 (NLT)
It happened in a deep moment of prayer with eyes tightly shut. A vision that changed my marriage from that moment forward.
As I listened to the sermon, my face began to feel flush. The preacher’s words about breaking strongholds in our lives were hitting too close to home. He explained how a stronghold is simply a faulty line of thinking based on lies and deceptions, causing us to defend our thoughts and beliefs through human reasoning instead of God’s. And in that moment, I knew my mind had been under attack.
As if God had leaned down and whispered quietly into my ear, I suddenly became aware that despite the reasons I felt valid in my feelings of unforgiveness and negativity towards my husband, these thoughts had given the enemy a stronghold in my heart, affecting not only my marriage and my stress levels as I stressed about my marriage, but my relationship with God as well.
You see, there had been a lack of marital bliss in my house for months. My mind had slowly become so full of critical inner chatter about my husband that I could hardly focus on all the good things about him. Although I was aware of this problem, I didn’t know how damaging it had become to our relationship. So I bowed my head in prayer and asked God to help me break the stronghold the enemy had over my thoughts about my husband.
Then instantly, in my mind’s eye, I saw a thick triple woven rope being pulled to the breaking point until it snapped, with fiber splinters shooting in every direction. My eyes popped open, amazed at what I had just “seen”.
Peace filled my heart, melting away my negativity, and replacing it with a desire to love my husband and our marriage, despite his shortcomings and mess ups, and despite my own. The stronghold in my mind and heart that had been keeping my marriage in conflict had been broken through the weapon of prayer and God had allowed me the spiritual vision to “see” the evidence of His love and His power release the enemy’s grip on my heart.
In 2 Corinthians 10:4 above, Paul addresses this issue of strongholds when writing to the congregation of Corinth. At the time of this letter, Paul had been under great scrutiny for his assumed shortcomings. Many thought he was a weak and ineffectual preacher and boasted of their own achievements, seeing themselves as superior to him. Their negativity towards Paul and his preachings had permeated their minds, causing them to gradually stop focusing on Christ, and focusing on critical, self centered thoughts instead.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul exclaimed to them, “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (NLT). Paul knew the enemy had a stronghold over the hearts of the Corinthians, causing them to see things from the world’s perspective, instead of a holy one. He wanted them to understand their minds needed cleansing from all the obstacles that were standing in between them and God – all the lies and deception from the enemy – and that only the sword of the Spirit could snap that stronghold in two.
Just like the Corinthians, we all struggle with mental strongholds at times, especially in marriage relationships. Marriage is one of the top five stressors today, and there is no wonder why. It’s just plain hard sometimes. Due to the challenges that work, money, parenting and problems bring into a marriage, every day our minds may be bombarded with a flow of negative thoughts, hurt, doubts, fears, anger and suspicions. Movies fill our heads with false images about how intimate relationships and marriage are supposed to be and we start thinking our man, and our marriage, doesn’t measure up. Granted there are times when relationships cannot be mended, but our culture influences us to believe that if a marriage isn’t perfect, it can be deemed as disposable. (click to tweet)
The only cure for a spiritual stronghold is prayer and allowing God’s truths and His Word to reign in our hearts. Unless we consciously choose to pray for God’s grace to renew our minds and seek His power to snap the strongholds we struggle with in two, we will become imminent prey to the antics of the one who hates happy marriages. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy – and oh how he loves to tear down marriages.
On that particular Sunday where I experienced this vision from God’s, I knew I was set free from the stronghold of negativity. But the battle is a daily one – and he is always trying to weave that rope back together and tighten the chokehold; rebuilding the stronghold, filling our heads with lies. Marriage is hard work sometimes, but nothing is too hard with God.
What comfort it brings to know that God is ready to help us fight for our marriages, and that the spiritual weapon of prayer is no match for the enemy’s strongholds. (click to tweet)
Lord, help me to break free from the strongholds in my heart that are causing problems in my marriage and my relationship with You. Give me the ability to push past my hurts and the hurtful memories, and to try to look for the good in my husband. Show me how I need to change and give me the strength, comfort and peace that only You can provide as I persevere through hard days. I seek your blessing – of peace, or of restoration – and I trust You no matter what. Help me to stop stressing out and start praying out my needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What stressors are you facing in your marriage today, and how can I pray for you? Leave a quick comment on the blog and I’d be honored to do so.
(Be sure to tune in on Wednesday where I’ll be having a special book giveaway.)
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THIS WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT IS CHAPTERS FIVE AND SIX