I believe that God wants to build victory right on top of your greatest defeat. He wants to take the material used to build a stronghold in your soul and burn it as the sacrifice that brings forgiveness and healing and strength in Him.
We find an example of this in the story of Gideon. There was a visible stronghold in Israel of an altar to Baal surrounded by Asherah poles. There was also an invisible stronghold of fear in the soul of Gideon. God destroys both through Gideon’s willingness to face them in obedience of accepting God’s call on His life.
Judges 6: 25 Now on the same night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.
In this passage, Gideon was told by God to take two bulls with him to the site of the stronghold and pull down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it. He was then to make a sacrifice to God on top of the stronghold and use the wood from the idols to burn the offering. (Asherah was a female god worshiped in conjunction with Baal and was represented as carved, wooden poles.)
I notice several amazing things about this story that relate to us. The first is that the bull used to pull down the altar belongs to the father. I see Jesus as the bull that belongs to the father that pulls down the strongholds in our souls. I also see Jesus in the second bull that was also from the father and was seven years old. Seven is always the number of perfection in the Bible. And this was the bull that was sacrificed on the very site of the stronghold. Jesus was perfect and was sacrificed for us and He will grant us the forgiveness, truth and power for the destruction of strongholds in our souls.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
I also see that God told Gideon to use the same wood that was used to build the idols to burn the bull sacrifice. In other words God’s fire of judgment on Jesus will burn up the sin of our stronghold and at the same time Jesus will pull down any stronghold that we surrender to Him.
I believe this is how God creates a victory in our lives on top of the very ground where a stronghold previously stood. We just saw how God did this to the visible stronghold in the story of Gideon that we read about in Judges 6. But God also did it to the invisible stronghold of fear in Gideon, revealed in a few verses up from the ones we just read.
Gideon was hiding from the Midianites when the Lord called him a valiant warrior (God sees who he has called us to be not how we are currently acting). Gideon then started telling God how weak he was.
Judges 6:15 He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”
Gideon believed a lie about who he really was and it built a stronghold of fear in his soul. The first thing God did to start destroying the stronghold of fear was to orient Gideon to who he really was in God’s eyes. He was a valiant warrior. As soon as Gideon started to believe in his true identity he started to act different.
God ended up using Gideon and 300 men to defeat the Midianites and the Amalekites that were too numerous to count.
In other words, God built courage right on top of where the stronghold of fear previously stood in Gideon’s soul. Gideon defeated the very enemy that he was hiding from in fear.
God will do the same for us today but He will not do it without our willing participation.
2 Corinthians 10:4 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,
Strongholds are the result of believing a lie from the demonic realm. They are typically the result of believing lies about ourselves instead of latching on to the truth of who we really are in Jesus. The solution to pulling down strongholds is to start to see the truth of God’s perspective about the stronghold. As we bring all our thoughts captive to God’s truth in obedience to who Jesus is and who He says we are in Him, the stronghold will loose it’s oppressive grip on our souls.
But like Gideon, we can’t pull down the stronghold in our own strength, and Jesus won’t pull down our strongholds without our willing participation in its destruction.