When a person gets saved, or born again, or reborn, all of that persons sins are forgiven because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ the sinless Son of God, Romans 10:13, I John 1:9. God now has your heart as His dwelling place-hence the songs about Jesus in my heart. Satan, or the devil, no longer has free reign in your heart (spirit, soul, the place that is you), and he does not like that at all. We sin still, because we are not perfect and have an old sin nature that hangs on us like a rotting corpse. We sometimes ( or all the time) feel that this sin nature is still alive, but it is dead. It died when we became saved, Romans 6:9-11. So why do we sin when we don't have too? I'm not sure, but that is where strongholds come into the picture. A stronghold (this was the description I was told, and it best describes a stronghold) is like an old fashioned fort from the old west times. It is a fortified place. A stronghold can be any sin ( or can start from someone's sin that has a direct effect on our life), something that has been allowed to stay in our lives ...anything that is not of God. Imagine the fort and see spy's going out in all directions to blend into the area outside of the fort. These are demons disguised as our fear, our lust, our pride, our whatever. We don't stop them because they are "ours"... follow? So the stronghold is there in our hearts in the middle of Gods territory, and it's fortified and sending spy's out into the rest of our heart to take more territory, and before we know it we are overcome with debilitating sin. Our heart is still saved, but we are oppressed by sin and we don't even know that is what it is. Now God forgives our sins when we pray for Him too, but this is a deep rooted sin. Have you ever wondered why you just can't seem to stop doing...gossip?, overeating?, anger at someone?, a sin you return to time and again, or maybe something you think is just part of your personality. That is a fortified sin ( a stronghold), and yes God can remove it, but we have to have God do it for us. I was told by Pastor White that we as Christians are NEVER EVER to directly engage the "enemy" (Satan) in spiritual warfare. Ever! That is God's job. God is the only one who can do this and He wants to set us free from the sin that so easily entangles us. It is in fact a little like an exorcism, but as Christians we can't become possessed, but we can become oppressed. Spiritual warfare is real, sorry, but it is, Ephesians 6:12.
I was asked to repeat a prayer (out loud) after Pastor White,
Dear God, Please show me, by your Truth and Light (Jesus is the Truth and the Light of the Word) the areas in my heart that don't belong to You. Please show me what they are so I can ask You to help me and forgive me, I pray in Jesus name amen.
That might not be the exact words, but it is important to pray in Jesus' name and call on God's Truth and Light ( His power), you can also ask God to show you what to do or help you understand.
Next I was to sit with my eyes closed and listen for God to speak. Remember Jer. 33:3?
I know it sounds hookie, but I heard Him. Not a voice, but kinda a sight/word/voice thing all at once. I heard Him. He spoke to me and told me things I needed to hear. fear, love, anger,pride, and other things that were in my life that needed removed or as in the case of love-lacking. Pastor White says everyone has a moment of breakdown during this process ( yes, you do it until God says your done), a moment when you touch the heart of the whole matter. Mine was that God loved ME. Unconditional, perfect, holy, because He is God even though I am nothing, He loves me because He can...love. Jeremiah 31:3-4 I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.
That was the verse he told me (White). How do you keep strongholds from coming back? You tell God (and do it) that you will build a "Monument of Praise" to Him to put in the place of the stronghold. You have to put something there so it can't come back to its place. Fill it with memorized Bible verses. Satan will not go without a fight, he will attack you and try to get back in, that is when you quote those (relevant) verses...say them out loud and than pray and say something like, God, Satan is tempting me to be fearful, please rebuke him in Jesus name. (notice I don't rebuke Satan, I ask God to do it). I know this is long and that you might (or might not) want some more info. so if you do you can e-mail me, or leave a comment. I will do the best I can to find the answer. You wonder why I am sharing all of this? God told me too. In my counseling, God told me to "share". This is not for my glory so please don't praise me in any way, it needs to bring praise to God alone. Thank you.