What Is The Tearing Down Of Strongholds?

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Many people when they talk of the tearing down of strongholds try to make this something more than it is.

They try to give the devil credit for something that in this case, he has nothing to do with.

The Apostle Paul when he talks about the tearing down of strongholds is not talking about demonic activity but instead is talking about human activity within our minds.

So let’s take a look at the passage in 2 Corinthians 10 where Paul is talking about the tearing down of strongholds and let’s learn how we can tear down these things within our lives and live lives that are truly free in Christ.

The Tearing Down Of Strongholds Bible Verse.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT

3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 1 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV

3 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, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

What Are Strongholds?

In this passage, we can see that strongholds are not some type of demonic activity. Instead, strongholds are things that happen in our minds.

In this case, the battle is in the mind and we need to have our minds renewed. (1 Cor. 12:1-2)

Strongholds are embedded in our human reasoning, our imaginations, and our human pride. They are part of how we perceive the world.

So let’s take a moment to talk about these 3 things.

Human Reasoning

The process of human reasoning is a very basic process that we use all the time. It basically goes like this.

If A causes B and B is bad, then we should not do A.

Now let me put it in more human terms.

If my Father never gives me love and I am disappointed, then I should not ever expect love from a Father so I won’t be disappointed.

Thus this human reasoning influences our expectations.


Imagination can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how we use it. It can cause us to be creative geniuses or destructive fools.

When we allow our imaginations to dwell on things that are contrary to the word of God, then it can be destructive.

Imagination is the womb that desire uses to give birth to sin. (James 1:15) Imagination is never a reality.

Many times we imagine God to be one way but He is, in reality, the exact opposite.

Human Pride

There is healthy pride and unhealthy pride.

Healthy pride is when you care about how you look, do your job, excel in your career.

Unhealthy pride is self-reliance and stubbornness. Unhealthy pride is when you must be right even though you know you are wrong. Unhealthy pride demands its own way.

When we are operating with unhealthy pride we are opposing the truth by choice.

It is a stronghold that has to be torn down if you are ever to come to the full knowledge of God.

What Do These Strongholds Do?

A stronghold protects something. It protects something that we do not want to be disturbed.

Usually, it is some type of wound that we have received that hurts if left unprotected. We protect it with a stronghold around it.

Sometimes it is with false arguments that make the wound safe like, “It is better not to love because you always get hurt if you love.”

The lie in that statement is the word “always”.

It is false.

Sometimes we protect it by imagination.

We have an experience as a kid with rejection. Because of this, we imagine that everyone will reject us.

So we do things that will cause rejection since we would rather be rejected for what we do instead of being rejected for who we are.

We imagine that the rejection will happen and so we act accordingly to our imagined expectations.

Sometimes we just get wounded and we rebel against the pain.

We set ourselves up so that we never have to rely on anyone else again. We have unhealthy pride. We become self-sufficient and arrogant. We think we know everything, can do everything, and that no one else can do it better.

All of this to protect a wound in our heart and to protect it from ever being wounded again.

How Do You Tear Down Strongholds?

If the wounds are in our heart but the strongholds are in our mind then tearing down those strongholds is a 2 fold process.

Notice what Paul said about what we use. “We use God’s mighty weapons”.

Many times people try to use human weapons against these things. Usually, when this happens, any success that is seen is short-lived.

To pull down these strongholds we must use God’s weapons. They are truth for the mind and healing for the heart.

Let’s go back to my original example.

A person never receives affirmation and love from their father. Because of this, they decide to not seek affirmation and love from any father.

Since God is our father, they never seek nor believe that this father will give them love and affirmation.

However, what does God say?

John 1:17 NLT
For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

The truth is that God not only loves them but does so with unfailing love and is passionately pursuing them even now.

Once a person realizes that they have accepted a lie, then they change and accept the truth. The stronghold comes down.

Then the heart issue can be dealt with.

All the pain of rejection and feeling unworthy of love can be exposed to the only one that can heal that hurt.

It can be filled with the knowledge deep down in their heart that they were not worthy of rejection and that the problem wasn’t their lack, but the human failings of another flawed human.

The heart issue is dealt with by the Spirit of God.

Mental assent or determination alone cannot heal a heart. Only God, who created the human heart, has the expertise to heal it.

This is what Paul was talking about when he said the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God.

When the strongholds come down, it will probably be messy. It will be emotional, but in the end, they result in being set free from something that was leading you to destruction.


Pastor Duke

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2 thoughts on “What Is The Tearing Down Of Strongholds?”

  1. The writer gets off to a good start and then commits the same falacy he correctly criticized in his introduction. Indeed, this text is NOT talking about demonic activity at all. In fact there is not one single mention of demons, principalities, powers, Satan or such in 2 Corinthians. People tend to excise this verse and somehow insert it into Ephesians 6, completely ignoring the context. The writer is correct, therefore when he states that the strongholds Paul speaks of are in the mind.

    BUT, the writer makes the same mistake the “spiritual warfare” warriors make here. He tells the readers that the strongholds are in their minds. That they, as Christians, have different strongholds of pride, wounds, rejections and such – and all that is simply made up and NOT at all what Paul is talking about. In context, Paul is talking about the strongholds of the false doctrines that were being taught by false apostles that were invading the Corinthian church with their heresies (10:12, 18; 11:4, 13, etc.) The strongholds Paul is tearing down are not personal issues within the Corinthian Christians or within Paul himself that need some sort of inner healing – but are the blatant heresies of false teachers who were teaching a false gospel.
    This piece takes a good first step in exegeting the passage correctly, by pointing out that it is not about dealing with demons, but falls short of truly explaining Paul’s intent with this statement.

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