“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJV
The most critical battles we face on this earth are spiritual ones. Our battle is spiritual and our weapons to fight the battle are spiritual. The strongholds that keep people in bondage are not up somewhere in the heavens, but right down here in their heads! People are held captive by their thoughts, fears, beliefs and imaginations. Your mind is either yielded to the Spirit of God or it is yielded to the devil. If you follow after the lust and desires of your flesh—your carnal nature—you are submitting your mind and thoughts to the devil. Only the preaching of the Gospel and the anointing of the Holy Spirit can break through and destroy these strongholds.
Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man thinks in his heart—so is he.
Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. 7 [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot. Romans 8:6-7 AMP
Your victory, or defeat, starts and ends in your mind. A mind submitted to the flesh is hostile to God—it cannot and will not submit to God or His laws. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil; to destroy yokes of bondage and carnal strongholds. In order to live free in your mind and destroy the strongholds, one must be submitted to Jesus and His word.
And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins. 2 In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. 3 Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3 AMP
When you follow the dictates of your flesh, because of the strongholds in your mind; when you follow the course and fashion of the current generation; you may think that you are making your own choices, but in reality, you are under the influence of demonic spirits and obedient to their whims. If you ever want to be free, you must begin to take hold of your thought life, your imagination and your feelings and submit them to God.
So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds. 18 Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature]. 19 In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves [a prey] to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand]. 20 But you did not so learn Christ! 21 Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him], 22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; 23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], 24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:17-24 AMP
If you want to truly walk in freedom, you have to make a concerted effort to renew your mind with the Word of God. You cannot do it by yourself or by your own willpower. You need to fill yourself up with the Word of God. The Word of God will transform your mind and heart, tear down the strongholds the enemy built in your mind, and protect your mind and heart from the onslaught of the enemy for the rest of your life, as long as you continue to abide in God’s word.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 KJV
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
Romans 12:2 AMP