"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Corinthians 10:4-6)

The Greek word for stronghold is okuroma. It can also be translated "fortress." The idea is a structure that has been built to protect something, to keep something captive, or to prevent someone from entering and taking something away. Spiritually speaking, a stronghold is an area in my life where I am being "held captive." I am prevented from experiencing freedom in expressing the life of Christ in me, and God's grace and abundance are prevented from affecting that area of my life. A "stronghold" is an area of my life where I consistently have problems and cannot live in victory. I can tell one is established if a habitual pattern of failure of fruitlessness exists.

Once a stronghold is established, I provide a "foothold" for the devil (Eph. 4:27), a basis of operation for the "strongman" (Matt. 12:29). I then become vulnerable to demonic oppression (mild or heavy) through that area of my life. Not dealing with this stronghold can lead to the building of other strongholds and to demonic oppression in other areas in my life.

The primary source of strongholds is the world and the first stronghold we need to tear down is pride. We nned to start with humility, acknowledging the problem and recognizing the need for deliverance. Until one is willing to admit that they need deliverance, they will never be free from strongholds. We all have strongholds such as unbelief, cold love, fear, pride, unforgiveness, lust, greed...

The pulling down of strongholds begins with repentance. Repentance precedes deliverance, and deliverance will naturally lead to healing.

There is a relationship between the mind and the heart. In Luke 2:25-35 there is the story of Simeon who is described as "righteous" and "the Holy Spirit was upon him." "Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts" and saw the baby Jesus, as was promised to him by the Holy Spirit. Simeon took the baby Jesus into his arms, praises God, blesses Mary and Joseph, and then says something very interesting... He prophecies and one of the prophecies are that through Jesus, "the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed." In Revelation God says "...I am he who searches hearts and minds..." (Rev. 2:23). God is concerned with both and acknowledges there is a correlation between our heart and mind. Often what we allow into our minds gets into our hearts. and this can be either good or bad. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7)."For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him..." (2 Chr. 16:9).

Romans 8:5-8 -  "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. (Pretty clear, right?) The subject of strongholds is considered somewhat controversial because the Bible doesn't use this phrase a lot to describe them. However, as we have just seen, the Bible does say enough in my opinion and those of us who do Biblical counseling see them in the minds of those we counsel, and even ourselves.

These are some examples of strongholds (on the top) and the related thoughts and feelings that are often produced by demonic oppression to sustain them. This is only a partial list. This list can be used in deliverance and sometimes the stronghold is the name of the controlling demon with the related thoughts and feelings as supporting demons. The related areas may be similar for certain strongholds, so careful and sensitive discernment is needed to know what the stronghold is.

To download this table as a Word document (.doc), click here.


  • Lying
  • Fantasies
  • Delusions
  • Rationalization
  • Wrong Doctrine/ Misuse of Scripture
  • Flattery
  • Syncretistic


  • Resentment
  • Racism
  • Unforgiveness
  • Anger/Hatred
  • Begrudging
  • Violent
  • Chronic Grumbling
  • Presumption


  • Depression
  • Despair
  • Self-Pity
  • Loneliness
  • Unconfessed Sin
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Cutting
  • Addictions


  • Spitefulness
  • Gossip/Slander
  • Betrayal
  • Critical Nature
  • Judgmental
  • Suspicious
  • Un-Christ-like Competition
  • Cruelty


  • Suspicious
  • Apprehensive
  • Indecisive/ Double-Minded
  • Skeptical
  • Unsettled
  • Easily Distracted
  • Lack of Commitment
  • No Love of Truth
  • Distorted Judgment


  • Addictive Behavior
  • Compulsive
  • Seeks Acceptance Unworthiness
  • Withdrawn
  • Shallow Relationships
  • Lonely


  • Ungrateful
  • Self-Righteous
  • Self-Centered
  • Insensitive
  • Materialistic
  • Seeks Positions
  • Stubborn
  • Mocking
  • Vain
  • Spiritual Adultery
  • Impatient


  • Religious Busyness
  • Knowledge Without Love
  • No Spiritual Power
  • Spiritual Blindness
  • Hypocritical
  • Legalistic Perversion
  • Presumes on Grace


  • Insensitive
  • Aloof
  • Selfish Ambition
  • Devil’s Advocate
  • Withdrawn
  • Makes Excuses
  • Lack of Trust
  • Willful


  • Distanced From God
  • “Cold” Love
  • Hardened Heart
  • Distracted
  • Spiritual Blindness
  • Laziness
  • Deceived Self-Appraisal
  • Unresponsive


  • Self-Will
  • Stubborn/Insolent
  • Pouting
  • Strife
  • Factions
  • Divisive
  • Angry/Argumentative
  • Independent
  • Unteachable
  • Ungodly Influence
  • Lawless


  • Inferiority
  • Inadequacy
  • Timid
  • Shy/Withdrawn
  • Pleasing People, Not God
  • Lack of Trust/Worry
  • Phobias
  • Anxiety Over Injury, Death
  • Perfectionism
  • Dread of Failure
  • Inability to Set Goals
  • “Motor-Mouth”
  • Wrong Relationships


  • Manipulative
  • Striving
  • Lack of Trust
  • Devil’s Advocate
  • Insensitive
  • Desiring Recognition
  • Seductive Empowerment
  • Cursing
  • Emotional Outbursts
  • Schemes, Intrigues


  • Lust
  • Sensual Enticement
  • Seductiveness
  • Denial/Rationalization
  • Masturbation
  • Fornication
  • Adultery
  • Frigidity
  • Homosexuality
  • Pornography/
  • Fantasy


  • Worldly Values
  • Frustrated
  • Hopeless
  • Greedy/Selfish
  • Financial Problems
  • Wrong Goals/Decisions
  • Living a Lie
  • Apathetic
  • Pleasure In Wickedness
  • Syncretistic
  • Spiritual Blindness
  • Distractions
  • Pursuing Dead Ends


  • Denies Jesus as God and Man
  • Bondage to Man-made Teaching
  • Manipulation
  • Prophecy for Pay
  • Prey to Cults, Heresies
  • Encourages Lawlessness
  • Counterfeit Miracles
  • Contrives
  • Dreams/Visions


  • Blasphemy
  • Preoccupied with Evil
  • Psychic Experiences
  • Rebellious
  • Devalues Life
  • Identifies with Sinful Nature
  • Fixated on Future


  • Physical Manifestations
  • Unconfessed Sin
  • Abuses to Body
  • Cutting
  • Devalues Life
  • Chronic Grumbling
  • Thoughts of Suicide
  • Drawn to Danger



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