What is a stronghold and how do you tear it down? A stronghold is a fortification, such as a fortified city. In many places in Scripture God is called our strength (Psalm 46:1, 28:7-8, 118:14; Hab. 3:19), our strong tower (Ps. 61:3; Prov. 18:10) and the place we run to when we need help (Ps. 31:1).
However, there is another meaning of stronghold and that is something that takes root in our lives as a pretense, which is a fancy word for a lie. It’s something we believe, but it is just plain wrong.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
These pretensions or lies develop in many ways, but one way is through things that happen to us in our childhood that we cannot process correctly. It happens when our needs do not get met—needs like provision, protection, identity, comfort, teaching, companionship and communication. God will meet these needs, but as children we don’t understand that. All we understand are the people nearest us—our family or those we consider our family.
Our father’s role is protector, provider and the one who sets our identity. Just think of all the times we take a jar to dad to open. Why? Because he has the strength in the family. We know Dad is the one who is usually the most concerned about providing income for the family. And all it takes is one pat on the back from Dad and it surpasses 1,000 good jobs from Mom.
Our mother’s job is to comfort and teach us. Hugs and loving touches give us fond memories of our mother. Anger, screaming and beating sets up an adverse reaction. We learn basic things from our mother about how to cook, wash, clean, wear the right clothes for the right weather and much more.
Our siblings are our first companions and the ones we communicate with. When my brother was little, no one could understand him. I am 2 ½ years older and I could understand him perfectly. So I was his interpreter. I remember clearly my parents asking, “What did he say?” And I’d answer and he’d shake his head yes. The point is our siblings get us because they are more our age.
The interesting thing is that all of these roles also relate to Father God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus. If we had good relationships with our biological family, it will transfer well over to our relationship to God.
Father God is our provider, protector and setter of our identity. The Holy Spirit provides comfort and teaching. And Jesus provides companionship and communication.
So for instance, say our father was weak and not a very good protector. Perhaps he was afraid. Perhaps you wanted him to protect you in a way he didn’t. It might be that he was a great dad, but there was one time you as a child perceived he didn’t protect you. That got stuck in your mind and heart.