by John David Hicks
I want to share with you a simple technique the Lord has used to break down strongholds in the lives of people I have ministered to. Ed Silvoso said, “A stronghold is a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something he knows is contrary to the Word of God.” This bondage and oppression hinders the believer from experiencing the victorious life (John 10:10).
There are two approaches to deliverance: the truth encounter and the power encounter. Neil Anderson represents the truth encounter and traditional deliverance. You cannot cast out sin and you cannot repent of a demon.
The “truth sets you free” from spiritual conflicts and bondage not caused by demon spirits. Satan’s first and foremost strategy is deception. Satan’s power is in the lie, and when his lie is exposed by the truth, his plans are foiled. When you renounce strongholds of sin and bondage and take them to Jesus, Satan’s influence is canceled. But he tries to remain undetected and deceive you into believing a lie so he can control your life.
The second approach, the power encounter, casts out demons.
Both encounters, truth and power, are needed. The truth encounter invites the Holy Spirit to unearth and expose the lies you believe that keep you in bondage. When you renounce the lies, forgive, and apply the truth of God’s Word, you receive freedom and power (John 1:12; Rom. 1:16).
The power encounter, the more direct approach, requires discernment to identify afflicting spiritual forces and influences, and then remove any legal rights of the demons to be present. The believer can then be set free by exercising our authority over demon spirits, casting them out and binding their influence by the blood and cross of Jesus. When the 70 disciples returned to Jesus, they stated, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17). Paul proclaimed, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4 nkjv).
There is a battle in your mind. Your thoughts dictate your actions. The Bible effects transformation in those who read it. Jesus said in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” God wants you to align your thought life with the truth in His Word. He made you so that your mind can be renewed. In your mind, higher levels of thought change lower levels of thought. The higher truth will replace the lesser truth. God wants you to apply the higher thought (feeling or state) to the lower level of thought, so that the second thought will be changed by the more powerful first thought. “Overcome evil with good” (Rom.12:21). Then the truth sets you free.
“Watch over your heart [innermost thoughts, pictures, and words] with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23 nasb). Your thought patterns must be changed. You negate Satan’s lies by affirming God’s truth. The heart of sin is rejection of Jesus (John 3:18). Jesus is the only way of deliverance (Acts 4:12). Salvation is not based on your performance but on the shed blood of Jesus, walking in the light of repentance and letting the blood cleanse you from all sin (1 John 1:7, 9). The grounds of condemnation is that Christ the “light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
How can you get set free? You take it to Jesus! “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
In your mind, picture Jesus as your Savior. “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin” (Rom. 4:7-8 nlt). Yes, you are loved, accepted, and forgiven; you are God’s beloved child. Picture that in your mind.
Now go to a lower thought and picture it in your mind. Think of rejection, fear, bitterness, shame, anger, pride, greed, bitterness, jealousy, lust, resentment, spite, condemnation, guilt, confusion, deceitfulness, or revenge. All these evil thoughts are coming from a stronghold of the enemy in your mind.
Satan wants you to focus on your sin, your hurts, or your problems, which he uses to discourage, defeat, or condemn. The thoughts you accept will build up or destroy your hopes and dreams; they will bless you or curse you.
First you take a negative, unpleasant memory, difficulty, or embarrassment, one that has the power to make you feel bad. Now run that movie in your head with sights and sounds. Notice how it feels. As you watch that unpleasant memory on the screen of your mind, your brain will keep updating what you have learned with new information. That’s how we learn and change. You can take control of what you do inside your head and that can take you in a new direction.
The key is to “capture” those thoughts and reject them. Listen to God’s plan: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom. 12:2 nlt).
Again, you change your thinking by taking the higher truth of “Christ in you,” and taking the lesser truth to Jesus and letting Him replace it. “Repent [change your mind], then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
Gather your sin, shame, or wound in your arms and give it to Jesus. Now imagine yourself stepping into the River of Life – God’s River of Love, Healing, and Forgiveness that flows from the throne of God. Let it wash away everything that is old, dead, and sinful. Let the Lord’s life flow into your hands and body.
Some people do it by picturing taking the lower level thought or feeling to God. Many lift their hands to the Lord. When you know that Jesus has taken it, that you have submitted it to God’s love and authority, you will then recognize a new freedom from oppression and ignorance (James 4:7). You’ll know a peace and joy that all is well in your soul. The higher life has overcome the lower life and there is freedom and victory. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57 amp).
God wants you to change your behavior through your mind. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Your mind is being renewed in the Spirit to make you consistent with your new identity as a child of God. Notice how this makes you feel, how it draws you and pulls you in a new direction.
Even after you have given a sin or hurt to the Father, Satan will try to re-open the wound or bring back shame. But when he brings those thoughts to your mind, hit them with your Return to Sender stamp. Don’t open them up and dwell on them. Simply say, in the name of Jesus, I will not receive this. Remember that Jesus is Lord of your life. As you do this, you will abide in the vine and the life of the vine will flow through you and you will grow strong and bear fruit (John 15:5).
The Bible gives us a picture of how to activate the power of God to change our lives. “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this’” (Rev. 4:1). Jesus had already revealed Himself to John: “I am the Alpha and the Omega…who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).
John said earlier that he “was in the Spirit.” Now notice the Lord’s invitation: “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Jesus is telling John to simply disconnect where he was and go up and be with the Lord. When you “activate” the thought-feelings of your higher level beliefs and values in His presence, you give the Holy Spirit permission to work in your life to dissociate your lower level of thought and feelings. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” When you “go up to the higher level” and join the Lord, you can mentally bring the lower level into His presence and replace the thoughts and feelings of the lower level as the higher truth overcomes it.
From that position with the Lord, you can “let go” of your negative emotions, and change the meanings and perceptions of your mind to reflect your true spiritual values and beliefs in the Lord. By “dissociating” the negative and “associating” with the Lord on His throne, the Lord’s love and power will heal your hurts, fears, and sins.
Try it. Imagine yourself in the presence of the Lord. Now give Him your anger, bitterness, depression, or hurt. Watch Him “evaporate” your negative thinking.
See yourself as being “in Christ,” whose “divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Colossians 2:10 reads, “And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power” (nkjv). When you are in Christ, you lack nothing.
To be “in Christ” sums up what it means to be redeemed.
Your faith is in Christ (Gal. 3:26).
You have eternal life in Christ (Rom. 6:23).
There is no condemnation in Christ (Rom. 8:1).
You cannot be separated from God’s love in Christ (Rom. 8:39).
You are approved by God in Christ (Rom. 16:10).
You experience God’s grace in Christ (1 Cor. 1:4).
You are triumphant in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14).
You are reconciled to God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:19).
You have liberty in Christ (Gal. 2:4).
You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
You are a partaker of God’s promises in Christ (Eph. 3:6).
Your righteousness comes through faith in Christ (Phil. 3:9).
Your heart and mind is guarded by God’s peace in Christ (Phil. 4:7).
Your needs will be supplied according to God’s riches in Christ (Phil. 4:19).
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).