Strongholds Bring Deception and Distortion

May 19, 2002 AM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Luke chapter eleven. The book of Luke chapter eleven. We won’t be long today. But please turn with me to the book of Luke chapter eleven. And when you reach the book of Luke chapter eleven, look at verse twenty-one.

When you get there, signify by saying amen. Come. Say amen. There we go. Hallelujah. It says,

21. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

22. But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23. He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

24. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

25. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

26. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for the opportunity into come to Your house. We thank You for the Anointing that removes every burden and destroys every yoke.

Father, hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me. And Father, as I decrease I ask that You would increase. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, Lord Jesus, be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. In Jesus’ holy and blessed Name.

And the people of God said amen. You may be seated in the house of God.

When we look at the origin of a stronghold, it normally starts when someone is a child. It normally starts within our childhood. A stronghold can be defined as a practice way of thinking that has become ingrained and automatic. It’s a way that we practice thinking. We think this way over and over and over again until it becomes ingrained, and until it becomes our automatic way of thinking.

A stronghold has a life all it’s own.

I need us to listen today. Because too many of us in the body of Christ have strongholds in our lives. We have things that are in our lives that started when we were children, but we have not been totally delivered from them yet.

And instead of trying to get delivered, we cover it up. But it’s time to take the cover off of the stronghold and find out what the stronghold in our lives really is.

When we look at a stronghold, it’s like the habitual habit. It’s like an addiction. It’s like an obsession. It’s like a compulsion to something.

You see, there are strongholds that people have in their lives for different things. Your stronghold may be a desire that you have for certain things. I won’t get into that today. I don’t want to hit you right where you are. Oh, hello, somebody. But you understand what I’m saying today.

It’s your personal way of thinking. But God is trying to get us out of our own way of thinking completely, so that we can pull these strongholds up at the root.

Strongholds are areas in our minds where a person is held captive. And the perceptions of the person become distorted.

It’s sort of like these glasses that I have on. You see, there can be some white flowers outside. But through the tint in my glasses they’ll be looking like a yellowish color. And though you keep telling me that the flowers are white, my perception (oh, my God, my God) is distorted.

Until I take my glasses off, and then I can see that all that time that I thought one way (oh my God, my God), my thinking was all wrong. My perception was off. It was distorted.

And that’s how it is with a stronghold. It will cause my perception, the way I perceive things to be, off. It can make me think that my brother hates me when my brother really loves me. It can make me think my sister hates me when my sister really loves me. Oh, my God. I must be preaching to myself today.

It’ll cause my perception of things to be off. It’s sort of like a job too. When you know somebody else is more qualified than you, because they’ve taken out time to go to school and get a little more training... Oh, my God, my God. But in my mind I think that I should have that job. But if I just spent a little more time and got the training that I needed, maybe that job would be mine.

That kind of distortion in our thinking will cause us to blame God. It will cause us to start saying, “God, You’re not fair.” Because we perceive things in a distorted way.

It’s like a father to his son. Most of us, and a lot of us... I can’t say most of us. But a lot of us grew up without our fathers. Or either the woman in the house had the dominance in the house.

And when this happens, when you’re dealing with a son, his thinking may become distorted in a certain way. I don’t want to go here, but the Holy Ghost is leading me here. Oh my God, my God.

See, he can only see through the eyes of a woman. And so when you look at him... Not all the time, but a lot of times, his characteristics may be a little feminine. You don’t want to hear me today.

Not saying that he’s gay. But he can only see it the way a woman saw it. Oh, I feel the Holy Ghost on me today. His way of thinking, a lot of times, is distorted, because he has not had a male figure there to help him and rear him on about how to be a man, somebody.

A woman can only give a boy a certain amount of knowledge into becoming a man. But it takes a man to bring up a man.

And that’s why... Now here’s the rest of it. That’s why when you see a woman, and she has a boy in her house, but there’s no father in that house... Men of God, you need to get on your job and adopt those sons as your sons. Oh, I ain’t going to get much clap out of that. Because it’s going to be too much work.

It’s the same way with a little girl. She’s got to have a woman influence in her life. Or else when she grows up, she’s going to be a little bit too manly. Ain’t nothing wrong with a woman holding her own. Don’t get me wrong. But ain’t no sense in no woman acting like no man.

And that’s what even happens in the pulpit. You see, a woman... A lot of time a woman minister, instead of being who they are, they begin to take on a man’s row. And they start to preach like a man instead of preaching like a woman, like they really are. Their perception is distorted.

And that’s what a stronghold in our lives will do. I won’t be able to see things the way they really are.

It’s like a child, when you tell them it’s really like this, and they keep saying, “No, but it’s like this.” But you were there. And you talked to the person about it. But they keep saying, no, it’s like this. And eventually you say, “Okay.” Because you can... It’s like you can’t convince them.

It has to be a place of deliverance. See, you can’t holler and scream at nobody to... Hollering and screaming at them ain’t going to get them delivered. It’s the Word of God that’s going to get them delivered.

The perception of someone that has strongholds in their lives becomes distorted.

When a person is wounded, their perception of the way things are also becomes tainted and distorted. Let me tell you how.

Before you can even come up on them, their defense mechanism kicks in. You can see them in a distance, and most of the time you’ll... When a person... When they see you and they automatically drop their head, they’re trying to get themselves together. A lot of times they’re trying to put on another face. Oh, I got this one on now.

“Hey, how you doing?” Oh, I feel Jesus today.

When a person is wounded, no matter who it was by, their defense mechanisms kick in. And no matter how much you tell them you love them, how much you hug them, how much you kiss them, something’s still in the back of their mind and saying, “No, they don’t.” You constantly got to prove yourself over and over and over and over. But didn’t that show you? But over and over...

It’s like Jesus. He told us, He said, “I love you with a love that you can’t even comprehend.” He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” But He got to tell us over and over and over again. Because something hurt us, and it has turned into a stronghold. And even when we lift up our hands, our hearts are not right.

Strongholds will distort our perception, even about God. You may see your brother or sister prospering. It’s their season to prosper. But there’s a stronghold in us that says, “Why them and not me?” I might need to say that one again.

We begin to think that God is a respecter of persons. It’s their season. They’re bringing forth in their season. And if they latch on to their season right, that season will continue over and over and over and over again. But if in their season they’re prospering, but they don’t know how to give in that season, then it’s going to stop. And they going to have to wait for that season to come back around again.

Strongholds will distort our thinking. It’s like when we get the money, instead of opening up to give, the stronghold will make use close down.

It’s like a dinner plate, isn’t it? Have you ever seen somebody at the dinner table? And instead of just sitting back and eating their food, they’re hovering over it.

It will distort our way of thinking. Darkness reigns in those areas of the mind where there are strongholds. There’s a system of logic rooted in a lie, that that particular individual comes to accept.

A stronghold is a lie. And we all know who the father of lies is. He’ll plant that seed there, and cause us to believe a lie. And most of the time he’ll try to make us believe a lie about ourselves to pull our self esteem down. And that’s why when we come into the presence of other people, we’re not who we really say we are. A stronghold is a lie.

“Here I am. Take me or leave me.” That’s what you’ve got to say. But in the process of you saying that, you got to say, “There’s some things about me that need to change. But take me or leave me. I’m not saying take me or leave me because I’m perfect. Because God ain’t through with me yet.” Can I get an amen in the house of God today?

A stronghold is a lie that we have come to a place where we accept it to be true. If it’s a lie, then you need to tell the devil to pack his bags. He doesn’t have any business being there.

The thought patterns begin to become alienated from God. The things that I think about are alienated from God. They’re not according to God’s Word. I become fixated on things that are contrary to the Word of God. And when I’m fixated there, a stronghold develops.

What stronghold do you have in your life that you need to get rid of? I find in the body of Christ that most of us have some sort of stronghold that we need to get rid of. My stronghold is an appetite. And I want to eat.

But I’ve got to grab hold of that thing. Do you hear what I’m saying today? I’ve got to grab hold of it and say, “You will not be victorious over me. But I have the victory over you.” You have to learn to be honest with yourself.

Strongholds. When a person has a mental stronghold, it affects their decision making ability. Every decision that they make, they’re constantly wondering whether or not they’ve made the right decision. And they’ll go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, never coming to a place where they said, “This is it.” They’ll change it at the last minute.

It affects the decision making process. The decisions that we make will be distorted.

I need somebody to pray for me today. Because the devil don’t want me to get this out. (Tongues.)

But it started for must of us during our childhood, when folks spoke things over us and into us. That’s why you got to protect your children. You can’t let folks speak negative things into them.

Now they can discipline them. Hello, somebody. But you can discipline without speaking negativity into them. Discipline is not negative. Discipline is positive. Contrary to the way we think, discipline is positive. And it will have a positive affect on a person, if it’s done in the right way.

A person with a mental stronghold becomes an emotional command post that the enemy has entered into. Their emotional about everything. Anything and everything. They’ll be calm one moment... And I’m not talking about somebody with a condition. They’ll be calm one moment. But the next moment they’re flying all out. Then they crying. And then they happy all over again. Something’s wrong with that picture.

See, because what it does to the people around them, it causes them to walk on eggshells. See, and then that person thinks that everybody... There ain’t nobody that like them. They get a complex, don’t they? Everybody hate me. Everybody jealous.

But the perception is distorted. They don’t realize that it’s really them. I feel a little tightness in here.

See, everybody not going to like you. But everybody ain’t going to hate you either. You can be just as sweet and humble, and somebody will find something wrong with you. Get on my last nerve. Why? I don’t know. I just can’t stand them.

The perception becomes distorted. They think things are one way, but really they’re another way. And no matter how much you try to explain to them... Listen. Look. Listen. There’s a grip on them in their mind that says, “Okay. I hear you. But.” There’s always a “but” in the vocabulary. We got to get the “but” out the vocabulary. Kick the “but” out.

When we look at strongholds, it’s the primary strategy of Satan. And that’s what he’s trying to use to destroy the body of Christ. When a stronghold comes into the midst of a people, it brings sabotage and conspiracy along with it. Because it’s always trying to break up and never trying to unify.

It’s his primary strategy. Strongholds distort the perceptions of everything. And everyone has had one, one way or the other.

But according to First John one and seven, it’s the Blood of Jesus that gets rid of the stronghold.

Turn with me there to First John chapter one. Thank You, Holy Spirit. Sometimes we got to see it to believe it. In verse seven of chapter one of First John, it says,

7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another...

See, if we walking in the light, we can fellowship together, can’t we?

7. ...and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

It’s the Blood of Jesus that needs to be applied in that stronghold area. Because it has cleansing power, delivering power, that is needed in that particular place.

You can huff, puff, kick, scream, all you want to do. But until you apply the Blood of Jesus to the situation, the stronghold’s going to get stronger and stronger and stronger, building up power, from the friction and the strife.

But the Blood of Jesus will disperse it and cause it to be wiped away. The Blood is a weapon that disables every stronghold.

If we do not arrest the stronghold, this is what will happen. It will prevent and retard our spiritual growth.

Many of us say to ourselves, “I need... I should be further along than what I am.” But if you look deeper, there’s some strongholds there.

Let me tell you something. When you ready to move up, God going to move you up no matter who in your way. I need to say that again. When you are in a position spiritually and God is ready for you to move up and be elevated, I don’t care who’s in your way or what’s trying to block it. He’s going to move them out the way. And God is going to raise you up anyhow. Can’t nobody hold God back, contrary to what we think.

But if there’s strongholds that need to come down, no matter how I’m saying in my mind I need to be elevated, there ain’t going to be no elevation. If there are things that He needs to work out of my character, He can only bring me up step by step. It’s a process, a process, a process.

Strongholds cause conflict, separation, bitterness, jealousy, envy, strife, confusion, competition, hostility. My God. The list goes on and on and on. It causes all of these things. And that’s why I’m trying to say that most strongholds started when we were children.

Either we were teased on the playground. Or either mama and daddy spoke into our lives, or other folks, things that were hurting and not helping. And we’re still not delivered at the root. And that’s why we cannot have relationships with anybody else that has any substance to them. All our relationships are surface, because of the strongholds.

But when you can get into a deep relationship with somebody, that means that you working on you. Hello, somebody. When you not only can get into a deep relationship with somebody, but you can keep the relationship...

It’s one thing to be in it, but it’s another one to keep it. Isn’t it? Then that means that the strongholds that were holding you back are leaving you. You’re unmasking the devil and saying, “You got to go.”

Strongholds. When we look at them, they give the devil and his demons more and more power. That’s what they do. Because they got a foothold there. And they know they have a foothold. And they going to try to stay there. And no matter what you say, if it’s not according to the Word of God, then they refuse to move.

Another thing that a stronghold will do. It will keep you from your destiny. If you don’t come and I don’t come to the place where I know that I have a stronghold in a particular area... Don’t get sleepy on me. Then the stronghold is going to hold me out of destiny. (Tongues.) It’s going to hold me out of that place of destiny.

See, you have a destiny for your life. That nine to five ain’t just it. Let me tell you. See, a lot of times we think that nine to five is just it. This is my destiny. Uh, uh. I got a destiny in God. And just like Jesus fulfilled His destiny and Paul, I’m getting in line. And I’m going to fulfill my destiny. But first I’ve got to get all these strongholds out of my life.

When we look at Peter, Peter had a whole bunch of strongholds in his life. He was prejudice. He was presumptuous. He acted out of turn, spoke out of turn, moved out of turn. But he was a man. So these things were rooted into him when he was a little boy.

But Jesus helped work those things out of him. By the Word of God. That’s what does it.

See, when we get a word like this, and we know that it’s hitting us somewhere, see, if we start trying to ball up, see, we ain’t going to be delivered. Stop trying to hide, and expose that devil. Expose that devil. Tell that devil he got to go.

Distortion of our perception. I feel the Holy Ghost in this... You might not feel it, that you’re as good as somebody else. But the Bible says they that judge themselves by themselves are not wise. See, He sees us all the same. I don’t care how anointed you think somebody else is. He ain’t looking at them better than He looking at you. He looks at us all the same.

God’s perception about you and I is not distorted. It’s not. If He said this about you, then so it is. I don’t care what nobody says. If God said one thing about you, then so it is. If they think something else, let them deal with your God. His perception about you is not distorted. He knows who you are.

Strongholds. They even produce financial problems. Now this is an area that we need to touch on. You see, when I do counseling, I say that there has got to be something put away. You got to put it away. I don’t care if it’s five dollars a week or ten dollars a pay period. You need to put something, if it’s two dollars, put it away.

See, a stronghold would tell me to spend everything I get. And then when that day comes, when that calamity or that disaster comes, I have nothing in the bank to be able to turn back on. Because I don’t save anything.

You say, “Well, pastor, all I got enough is to pay my bills.” Save a dollar. Save it anyhow. I’m giving you some wisdom today.

A stronghold will tell you that you don’t have enough when you serve the God of more than enough. A stronghold will tell you to hide your finances. We knew you didn’t have no money yesterday. But the check done came in the mail. And you going to hide your hand back here again today. And nobody know you got no money. Oh, you need to laugh on that one.

And even with the offering, a lot of times we don’t want to put it there, because there’s somebody going to know that we got a little extra money that doing the books back... Oh, my God. So we rather send it somewhere else so won’t nobody know.

Financial problems come from strongholds.

When I’m riding my children to school in the morning, I tell my children... And I been talking to my son since he was smaller about credit. I show him my credit card. And I say, “Look. When you have credit, you have to pay your bills.”

But see, a lot of us when we were growing up nobody took the time out to... We saw them paying stuff. But you know, the... It never registered.

When a child goes off to college, they’re going to give that child a credit card. Something’s going to come to them in the mail and say, “You can have this credit card.”

“But I don’t have a job.”

“We’re going to give it to you anyway.”

And then they run that credit card up. And they don’t have the money to pay it. And they’re just getting out in life. And they start off on the wrong foot. It’s a stronghold. That’s what it is.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all been there. But we’re coming up out of there. Oh, I won’t get an amen in the house.

Debt is a stronghold. But see, we’ve got to learn that when we get out of debt, stop going back in debt.

I had a Sears card come in the mail the other day telling me that this limit has... I put that thing in the garbage. Oh, you don’t hear me. Somebody else called on the telephone telling me, “You already approved for the...” I ain’t call them back.

See, when you get out of that place, don’t get back. It’s good to have maybe one credit card for emergencies. But when you flip your wallet, don’t let it just be like a picture book. Hold it up to the cash register. Talking about take your pick. Give them this one.

They say, “Well, ain’t enough on there.”

You put that one back. “Well, try this one. Now try that one.” Oh, you ain’t never been there.

It’ll keep us down. It’ll keep us bound. I’d rather walk in the store with money in my pocket. And they say, “Sir...” I’m just strolling. “Sir, can I help you?”

“Just looking.” And by the time they turn around, I done turned around. Walking on out the door.

And then they might say, “Mm, he must ain’t got money anyway.” They’ll never know, will they?

That’s where we’ve got to get to. And when we keep our checkbooks, we’ve got to balance our checkbooks.

I know this is basic one on one. But when I see other people... I’m not saying all of us don’t do our checkbook. But other people do, of the other persuasions. But we’ll write a check. And we don’t know nothing.

If you’re not going to write anything, then you need to get a checkbook that got a carbon copy up under the bottom, so that you’ll know everything that you owe. I won’t get an amen in the house of God today. They make them like that now. They do. They do. They really do. Yeah.

But that’s what we got to start doing. We got to get these strongholds out the way. And when they give you an opportunity, you know that bill is high. And they give you an opportunity.

They said, “Well, you know, what can you pay on this?” You better tell them something. Don’t just keep ducking and dodging them, with your caller ID, knowing it say out of area. I know.

Go ahead and get the courage up and say, “Lord, I know there’s nothing there. But I’m going to answer this call anyway.” And when you tell them the truth, a lot of times God will give you favor. It may be like the middle of the month. They say, “Well, just send me something so I can hold this account here.” Am I making any sense in the house?

Because you ain’t going to be in the shape you in now all the time. But when He do give you that money, you need to start paying some things. Hello, somebody. That’s what we have to start doing to get these strongholds out the way. We got to do it. We have to do it.

It’ll cause financial strain, And while we’re spending it... We can’t even enjoy it while we’re spending it. Because in our mind we already saying, “Golly, I know I got to pay that.” You really not enjoying it. Really not. Because that demon in your mind.

Strongholds will even try to make the Word say what we want it to say. When I have a stronghold that I want to hold on to, I’ll read a Scripture knowing it says one thing. But I’ll try to read it and turn it around to make it say what I want it to say. That’s what a stronghold will do.

What is the real underlying cause of that stronghold that may be in your life? What is it? If we don’t really get it that first time, like the Scripture says, he’s going to try to bring more demons into that place.

But when God delivers you, there’s got to be what we call maintenance. There has to be maintenance.

When you have a car, you have to do maintenance on your car in order to keep it running right. I don’t care what nobody told you, you’ve got to get an oil change. You have to. If you don’t do it at the recommended amount of mileage or time, then you needed to do around there somewhere, or else you going to have problems. And it’s going to wind up costing you more money than it should have cost you.

If I don’t take care of this stronghold properly and keep the maintenance, it’s going to cause me more problems than it should have caused me. And I’m going to have to spend more time trying to get this stronghold out than it should have been. It’s going to take more time than it should have taken.

Strongholds have got to be pulled up at the root. You’ve got to get the general. If you get the general, then all the other soldiers are going to follow. But if you don’t get the general (that means the one that’s in command, the leader), you can be binding this, that and the other, and the general still sitting right there commanding the other ones. “You go do this. Do that.”

You’ve got to get the general. If you know what the general is, you know who he is, then stop playing with him and get him. Don’t play with him no more. Because one day you might try to play, and it might be the last day that you play.

If I keep putting fire to my chest I’m going to get burned. If I put a snake to my chest, he’s going to bite me.

Whatever the stronghold is, get rid of it. But in the midst of getting rid of that stronghold... I need to say this. There has to be a balance. I can’t try to get rid of a stronghold and go too far to the extreme.

Because when I go too far to the extreme, then that means after a while while I’m there I’m going to get tired of being at the extreme. And then instead of coming back to balance, it’s going to make me fall all the way back over again.

But if I find that balance, I find that place of balance in God, where I’m not just wild... I mean eccentric to the point where I’m so heavenly minded that I’m no earthly good. That’s what I’m talking... Oh, my God.

Then I can’t move in the Kingdom of God. But when I begin to find a place of balance, then God can really use me. He can use me when I have balance. He’s not requiring you to be the wild and eccentric person all the time. You got to know when.

There’s certain places where I go to the extreme. And then there’s certain places where I maintain.

Find balance. Get delivered, and find balance. I’m going to say that again. Get delivered, and find balance. And you and I will be able to live a happy and a healthy Christian life.

Come on, give God a handclap of praise.

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