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October 17, 2017
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Are You Impacted by Spiritual Strongholds?

Chuck Thompson • Spiritual Warfare
In 1996 Crown Ministries featured Os Hillman's story about the impact of spiritual stronghold's in his life. This informative article will challenge you to consider the root causes of problems in relationships.

The death of a Mom or Dad can be a difficult adjustment,

even if this special person has enjoyed a long life and we

have families of our own to comfort us in our time of grief.

 

But when a parent dies while his or her children are still

young, those left behind may suffer financially as well as

emotionally. Such was the case of Os Hillman, whose Dad

was killed in a plane crash when he was only 14.

 

"Our family had to make an adjustment in our standard of

living," Os recalls. "When I heard my mother complain about

finances in the home, I subconsciously said I never wanted

to experience financial need again."

 

In 1984, Os began a full-service advertising agency in

Atlanta known as the Aslan Group, named for the lion in C.S.

Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. The agency became extremely

successful, and Os was determined to keep it that way.

 

Because he had such a strong motivation to succeed, Os felt

the need to control employees who had authority to make

decisions that might have a negative impact on his

finances. "If they failed to live up to my expectations, I

would put restrictions on them," he says. "I would instill

punitive actions that would make them pay for their

actions if they failed."

 

Looking back on the situation, Os realizes he wasn't

consciously trying to afflict his employees. Instead, his

actions were subconscious, natural responses to the events

taking place around him. And as he would later learn, there

was a spiritual dimension to those responses. Satan had

established a spiritual stronghold of fear and insecurity in

his life, and the formation of this stronghold dated back to

the lean times after his father's death. But it wasn't until

God allowed his world to be shattered that Os came to grips

with his problem.

 

In March of 1994, his wife of 15 years filed for divorce,

and during that same week, he lost a major client who

represented 80 percent of his business. In addition, Os

learned that the Securities and Exchange Commission had

seized the assets of an investment company in which the

Aslan Group had put $100,000.

 

To make matters even worse, his company lost another

major client due to what he calls "a comedy of errors by

our staff and vendors." This string of events would be

enough to test the mettle of even the strongest executives.

But Os' trial wasn't over.

 

The two clients he'd lost refused to pay their balances,

which together exceeded $160,000. He lost his relationship

with his only child for a period as a result of his

separation. And another investment company called to

report that some $200,000 of the Aslan Group's money and

Os' personal money was being frozen due to embezzling by

one of the investment company's partners.

 

Because the timing of these events was so unusual, Os

knew beyond a doubt that God was trying to get his

attention. Now, he was ready to listen. Through the

influence of a Christian couple, Mike and Sue Dowgiewicz

(pronounced Dog-i-witz), Os was able to see the source of

his problems.

 

The Dowgiewiczs had served as administrators of a church

retreat center in New England for 10 years. They'd taught

more than 5,000 people from a variety of denominations

and served as "pastors" to the pastors, who ministered to

their congregations but had no one to minister to them.

 

"Mike researched and wrote about the influence of spiritual

strongholds during this period," Os says.

 

"During those 10 years, he saw some interesting patterns.

 

"Without exception, when one individual discovered what

strongholds were influencing them, they discovered their

brothers, sisters, and parents had the same stronghold

influence.

 

"He found that some churches often attracted people with

the same stronghold. He also found that key employees in

businesses, such as mine, often had the same strongholds."

 

Some other important points on this subject, found in the

Dowgiewiczs' workbook Demolishing Strongholds, are as

follows.

 

* People are comprised of body, soul, and spirit. Although

the spirit world is hidden from our vision, it is very real,

and it is the place where strongholds exist.

 

* Strongholds consist of a demonic fortress of thoughts

housing evil spirits that:

 

(1) Control, dictate, and influence our attitudes and

behavior; (2) Oppress and discourage us; and (3) Affect how

we view or react to situations, circumstances, or people.

 

* We have seven basic needs, including security and

intimate love and companionship, which should be met

according to God's design. When we try to meet those needs

in other ways, we make it possible for strongholds to

develop in our spiritual lives. For example, strongholds are

formed when we "entertain thoughts and participate in

activities that are contrary to the will of God," the

Dowgiewiczs say. "When these thoughts and activities

become habitual, we allow a spiritual fortification to be

built around that spirit and its influence. We become so

accustomed to responding to the 'voice' of that spirit that

its abode in us is secure."

 

The couple identify 15 strongholds and their symptoms. For

example, the stronghold of fear and insecurity, which had

affected Os' behavior for so many years, is evidenced by

symptoms such as inferiority, lack of trust, perfectionism,

and dread of failure.

 

To conquer strongholds, Christians need spiritual weapons.

"Each believer has the power of the Holy Spirit to renounce

these strongholds with the authority of the name of Jesus

our Lord," the Dowgiewiczs say.

 

As 2 Corinthians 10:4 points out, "For the weapons of our

warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the

destruction of fortresses."

 

However, believers should remember that once a stronghold

is conquered, it can be formed again. That's by they need

accountability relationships with other believers who will

help them see the outward symptoms of old strongholds

that may be in the process of rebuilding. In addition, other

believers can help them avoid behavior that could start the

rebuilding process or lead to the formation of an entirely

different stronghold.

 

Meanwhile, believers need to keep a watch on themselves to

help ensure that their victories over strongholds are

maintained. After dealing with his stronghold, Os took the

Dowgiewiczs' material to his four sisters in South

Carolina. Remembering that Mike Dowgiewicz had recorded

the same strongholds in numerous families, he presented

the list of strongholds to his sisters and asked them to

choose any that might apply to them. All of them selected

fear and insecurity.

 

Learning about strongholds, as it did for Os, resulted in

dramatic changes in his oldest sister's life. She had a

history of severe clinical anxiety and depression and had

been on prescription drugs for many years. He spent a few

hours praying with his sister over each of the strongholds

that had affected her life. "Many were the exact strongholds

I had been influenced by," he says, noting that after their

prayer, he saw an immediate change in her countenance.

"About three weeks went by. She called me one night and I

asked her how things were going. 'Great!' she said. 'I am off

prescription drugs completely!'

 

For Os, conquering his stronghold has changed his

relationship with God, his business, and the people who are

close to him. He has a growing awareness of God's voice in

his life; an increased ability to walk free of fear, even in

the midst of financial difficulties; a greater level of peace

and assurance that God is in control; and a new ability to

relate to other people on a deeper, more caring, level.

 

But the Dowgiewiczs' teaching on strongholds isn't the only

thing that's affected Os' life and business. He's also

following the principles taught in another of the couple's

books: Reclaiming the Early Church.

 

"Throughout the world today, God is calling the Jewish

people to the land of Israel and restoring the Hebraic

principles of the early church, which made it a powerful

force during its time," Os says. Under Hebraic principles,

the church relied on God's power to accomplish things that

only God could do. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "And my

message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of

wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but

on the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

 

"This was a way of life for the early church," Os says. "But

Mike and Sue's research shows that by the 3rd century,

many anti-Semitic writings and practices had entered the

church through the teachings and philosophical influences

of converted Greek philosophers."

 

For example, consider some of the differences in the

Hebraic and Greek approaches to living out the Word of God.

 

   HEBRAIC

 

   * Active-appeals to the

   heart

   * Process Oriented

   * Emphasizes direct

   participation

   * Emphasizes age and

   wisdom

                                                               GREEK

 

                                                               * Cognitive-appeals to the

                                                               intellect

                                                               * Program Oriented

                                                               * Heavy program emphasis

                                                               * Emphasizes education

   Biblical Application

   * Doers of the Word

   * Bible-reality that must

   be confronted

                                                               Biblical Application

                                                               * Belief without cost to self

                                                               * Bible-data that must be

                                                               taught

   Ministry Activity

   * Small intimate groups

   * Leader as facilitator

                                                               Ministry Activity

                                                               * Large impersonal groups

                                                               * Leader-directed and

                                                               controlled

   Fruit

   * Love, acceptance,

   forgiveness

   * Transparency encouraged

                                                               Fruit

                                                               * Mutual toleration

                                                               * Transparency discouraged

 

 

 

"I realized I was a product of the Greek influenced church,"

Os says. "I had gained a great deal of head knowledge but

was bearing little fruit from that knowledge."

 

Os notes that today's churches are full of devoted

Christians who serve God but do not see Him at work in and

around them. In the eyes of unbelievers, these Christians

are living in their own strength. There is nothing about

their lives that can only be explained in terms of the

activity of God.

 

These Christians aren't undertaking anything that requires

supernatural power. In contrast, the Apostles, though very

small in number, set out to take the gospel to the ends of

the earth. And through their success, as well as the

miraculous events that accompanied their work, God's

supernatural power was evident in their lives. Furthermore,

Os notes that caring also was a vital element of the early

church. And, he adds, "Someone once said that 'nobody cares

what you know until they know that you care'."

 

Os has shared his testimony with other businessmen, and

the result has been changed lives. "I've never been around

anything that bore more positive fruit in helping

relationships be rebuilt," he says. "God so very much wants

us to have a love relationship with Him. He wants to be

first in our lives. If we will do that, He promises to give us

a life that is full and rich in His blessings."


An excellent resource we recommend to identify and remove spiritual strongholds from your life is Demolishing Strongholds workbook.  

 

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