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Tearing down strongholds and casting down imaginations is something the Bible is very clear about. But this can turn into an all day activity for people with anxiety, like me.
Those of us with anxiety have a brain that is like an author of fiction. It wakes up in the morning and writes its own novel with situations and scenarios, plots and plot twists for the reader (us) to become engrossed in.
It imagines things that have no basis in reality. I know this because this has been part of my life for some time. How can we approach 2020, a new year and a new decade, and turn our attention toward God and His Word instead of the lies our own mind tells us, especially in times like we are experiencing now? Read on!
People with anxiety have a brain that is like a fiction writer. It wakes up in the morning and writes its own novel; situations and scenarios for the reader (us) to become engrossed in.
What Does Casting Down Imaginations Mean?
So let me answer the obvious first question, “What does casting down imaginations mean?”
I was not always a victim of anxiety, that I recognized at least. It began or emerged later in my life. It worsened over time due to what I believe to be PTSD.
My brain is oh so creative in its imaginings and I had virtually no knowledge of, or experience with, tearing down strongholds or casting down imaginations. When this all began I was a new believer. That was a foreign concept to me!
So my brain went unchecked for a long time; entering a state of panic in an instant by hearing a noise that it instantly convinces me is something dreadful.
If a car I didn’t recognize pulled into my driveway, it must be something devious or I must be in trouble (even though I have never had so much as a parking ticket in my life).
This kind of worry (imaginations) is a tool of the devil , a stronghold, that he binds us in and uses to get us to step away from faith and trust, into a spiral of fear and worry with no basis in reality as we feed the scenario by getting into agreement with it, always allowing it to take root.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says:
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” NASB
According to Strong’s Concordance, “speculations” here means “a reckoning, a reasoning: such as is hostile to the Christian faith“
The definition of “reckoning” is “the action or process of calculating or estimating something.”
So in a nutshell, it is basically what we would expect imaginations to be, but here it’s with regard for our faith since it makes reference to those that set themselves up against God and are hostile to the faith .
But why? What difference does it make if I am worrying about something that is not faith related? How is that against God?
Because worry is actually faith in the wrong thing!
Casting Down Imaginations- Your Faith in God
We have faith in God!
When we put our faith and our trust in God we know that He is at work in our lives and we trust Him and His will above all else.
He has a plan and purpose for my life and I can trust Him to bring that to pass when I get in line with His will and I allow Him to lead me.
Worry is the opposite of that!
Worry is when I have my own plan and my own desired outcome in a situation and so I experience that worry because I fear God won’t align with MY will!
It is failing to submit my thoughts to Him and rather allow them to run amock.
It is faith in reverse.
Those little “imaginings” that creep in? Those are the enemy working in us to tell us that God can’t possibly have it under control or worse, that He is setting us up for a huge fall. He is busy writing that work of fiction for our minds to read.
Tearing down strongholds and casting down imaginations and taking every thought captive takes that novel off the best sellers list and into the trash heap where it belongs!
Casting Down Imaginations & Tearing Down Strongholds
So we have mentioned tearing down strongholds but what is a stronghold?
Lexico.com defines a stronghold as “place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.” “a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld”.
I feel like these two definitions combined make up a fairly reasonable definition of stronghold as we are using it with regards to faith.
A spiritual stronghold is a habitual process built into your thought life. It is believing and repeating the same old tapes people have played to you that you now embrace as your own.
Now these processes can be for good, such as when we memorize scripture and develop godly habits!
Or it can be the opposite and allow ourselves to absorb the words or thoughts the enemy keeps repeating to us.
It is when the enemy can make you take a thought, a lie, and make you digest it and absorb it so much that it becomes who you see yourself as.
Strongholds are tougher to tear down than imaginations are to stop because strongholds are the result of imaginations, and they can build up and strengthen over time.
Prayer and studying the Word, having God’s Word seep into every fiber of your being and redefine for you who you are, is the best way to tear down strongholds!
When the enemy comes at you and tries to plant those lies in you that grow into strongholds, shake it off!
He wants to ruin your day! Shake it off! He is trying to make you say oh…2019 was SO bad for me. Shake it off!! He tries to make you think 2020 is an absolute disaster? Shake it off!
Think about what great things happened in 2019 and the things that happened for the good in 2020 (I know its been a tough year but I can think of some great blessings in the midst of all the chaos) and think on those things!!
Shake off the tendency to believe what he tells you about you!! Be like Paul and shake it off!!
I know it sounds flippant as though you can just rid yourself of it like snapping your fingers, but read more about how Paul did this below! You will learn what ‘shake it off’ truly means.
It begins with the true realization that it is not our battle to fight. When we say “It’s just not that simple” it is usually because we are trying to fight the battle ourselves.
Let’s look at what the Word says about tearing down strongholds!
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (ESV)
2 Corinthians 10:4
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (ESV)
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (NIV)
He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low; he will bring them down to the ground, to the very dust. (NIV)
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.He cares for those who trust in him (NIV)
Casting Down Imaginations Knowing He is a Liar
The enemy likes to make me feel I have to take action on my own to fix this situation that hasn’t even happened! He is a liar and the father of lies.
“You belong to your father, Satan, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. From the start he was a murderer, and he has never stood by the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is speaking in character; because he is a liar — indeed, the inventor of the lie!” CJB
So then, as a result, we don’t turn a situation over to God as we should and so we feel we have to control it ourselves.
When something happens that takes that control away from us (another person or situation is a trigger for something to happen) we start to formulate scenarios in our mind.
Proverbs 28:26 says:
“He who trusts in himself is a fool,
but he who lives by wisdom will escape.” CJB
Worrying about something that is of our own imagining is trusting in your own mind and what it concocts, rather than having the wisdom of trusting in God.
Casting down imaginations and, thereby taking every thought captive, involves getting in line with what God and His Word says about us or our situation versus believing the lies the enemy wants you to believe.
Seeking God in Prayer
It involves seeking God in prayer! You do not have to struggle through these false worries alone. God is there to take your cares from you and give you peace!
1 Peter 5:6-7:
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may lift you up at the appropriate time. Cast all your worries on Him, for He cares for you.” TLV
If we just glance away from that “novel” long enough to look at God’s book, taking captive every thought that has no place in our lives, we could escape the trappings of our mind and the enemy who seeks to control it.
Let God be the author of your story, tearing down strongholds and destroying imaginations and filling you with a faith that allows you to rest in the knowledge that no matter what happens, God has you!
If you would like to learn more about how you can start tearing down strongholds and take every thought captive, I recommend this amazing course by my friend Sunshyne Gray, a Licensed Christian Therapist and Certified Biblical Counselor!
CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
NASB – “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation“
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.
ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
NIV – Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™