Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spiritual Strongholds

An important reason for Christians to live together is to create a spiritual stronghold where the Holy Spirit is able to move freely. Territory and geography are really important for spiritual warfare (Dan 10:20; Eph 1:21; 6:12). To defeat the strongholds of evil, we need to establish our own spiritual strongholds.

Engaging in effective spiritual warfare is very difficult, if we only meet intermittently. Christians living in isolation from other Christians can be outvoted in spiritual warfare for their locality. Soldiers can only defend each other, if they are in constant contact.

Getting spiritual victory over an entire city is hard, as all city authorities will have to be brought in unity. In contrast, two or three Christians moving into the same neighbourhood will be able to unite in prayer drive out the enemy.

When a locality becomes a spiritual stronghold for the Lord, the intensity of the Holy Spirit’s presence will increase. People with evil in their hearts may start feeling uncomfortable and move out of the area. Healings should become more frequent and winning people for the Lord should become easier. As the number of Christians living in the area increases the spiritual stronghold will expand.

When Jesus was speaking about spiritual warfare, he promised,

Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them (Matt 18:21).
We assume that Jesus was talking about a prayer meeting, but spiritual warfare was a lifestyle for him, so he was probably talking about a shared lifestyle.

Establishing a beachhead in a strategic locality and then expanding outward is a very effective way to take a city. An army takes a city street by street and neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

Finding the right place to start will be important. The spiritual pressure in a city is not evenly distributed, so the battle will be tougher closer to the spiritual stronghold that dominates it. The best place to start will be where the spiritual opposition is weak, such as the edge of a suburb or the spiritual boundary between two evil principalities. Christians are often heroic and rush to the toughest part of the city, whereas a wise general attacks where the enemy is vulnerable.

Jesus did not start in the key cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, or Tiberias where Herod lived. He built a stronghold in the fishing town of Capernaum in Galilee, where the spiritual pressure was not as intense, before pushing out to other towns (Matt 9:1). He only went to Jerusalem at the end of his ministry, when he had strong support.

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