What exactly is a stronghold?
A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that has molded itself into our way of thinking. These strongholds have the capability to affect our feelings, how we respond to various situations in life, and they play a large role in our spiritual freedom.
Where do strongholds come from?
Strongholds are built upon deception and error. These errors and deceptions which form strongholds can come from a wide variety of sources, including our environment, those around us, our parents or even demon spirits. I have seen where people have picked up a demon, then the demon quickly builds one or more strongholds in their mind that must be later torn down.
Demonic bondage and strongholds
A person who has a demon behind their stronghold(s) may find it nearly impossible to tear them down and keep down. This is because the demon will be working hard at rebuilding and holding those strongholds in place. They will be countering that person's efforts to tear them down. It will seem as if they are hitting a brick wall, and even if they seem to make progress, it seems like their efforts are in vain because it keeps coming back. If this is the case, then the person likely has a demon which is inside them rebuilding and trying to hold that stronghold in place. The demons should be driven out in Jesus' name, then the stronghold will come down much easier and not be so quick to return.
How do you tear down strongholds?
Since strongholds are built upon error and falsehood, it is through the truth that you tear down such faulty thinking patterns. Strongholds are built when we accept and receive error and begin to meditate on them. It forms in our minds what is known as an imagination, that is, a false concept that we believe to be true, but in reality is not. The Bible speaks about these imaginations clearly, and shows us how they can be torn down:
2 Corinthians 10:4, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) 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."
The renewing of our minds and strongholds
We know that strongholds and imaginations must be cast down, but how? By being transformed through the renewing of our minds:
Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
As our minds are renewed, we may prove (discern) what is good, acceptable and perfect, and the will of God. These things are some of the very things that strongholds rise themselves against! Many people who are caught up in shame based thinking do not realize that it's God's will and it is good for them to disassociate themselves from their past. Their minds need to be renewed, and as those strongholds come down they will be able to see God's will and respond.
How are our minds renewed and cleansed? Through the washing of the Word our minds are transformed and strongholds are torn down. Spending time and meditating on the Word of God washes our minds and corrects our false thinking patters (strongholds).
Ephesians 5:26-27, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
As we meditate and wash our minds with God's Word, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and we will come to know the will of God, and discern what is right, perfect and good. Our strongholds, which are based upon error and deception will not stand a chance as the light of God's Word (truth) is shed upon those areas of our minds.
Spiritual warfare and strongholds
I think too many people make strongholds out to be a complex subject. Strongholds are merely incorrect thinking patterns. They are patterns in our minds that are programmed to think contrary to the truth.
For example, a common scenario is where a person feels dirty, guilty and is shameful of their past. They are so used to thinking about their past, that it's driven the person to think and feel like a failure! They feel unworthy to have a close intimate relationship with God, which greatly affects their spiritual strength, faith, and relationship with Him. No wonder Satan tries to build such strongholds in our minds!
So how does Satan build these strongholds?
He starts by reminding us of our past failures and sins. He brings up things that we ought not to be dwelling upon, and tries to make us agree with him on how badly we failed. We then have the choice to listen and agree with him, or listen to God's Word (which is telling us that those sins have been washed away). If we take the devil's bait and begin to mediate on our failures, it will begin to pull us down spiritually and strongholds will develop. We will begin to see ourselves as failures because we've taken the bait and chose to meditate on a lie that the devil has fed us!
It is also not uncommon to find a person who picks up a demonic spirit through sin (such as fornication), and that demon uses it's newly gained rights (or ability) in the person's mind to quickly build strongholds. Since the demon is able to influence the person from the inside now, it can get the job done much quicker. This is not an uncommon scenario! Not only does the demonic spirit(s) need to be driven out, but the stronghold also needs to be torn down before the person will experience a complete breakthrough.
Strongholds can and do play a big part of how we feel
If we think we are a failure, we will feel like failures. If you think you're hopeless, you will feel hopeless. If you know you are forgiven, you'll feel clean inside. If you constantly think of your past failures, you will see yourself as associated with them. If you constantly think of how you have been separated from your past when the Blood of Jesus has washed it away, you will feel bright and clean inside. Changing the way you think can make a big difference in the way you feel!
How do we tear down strongholds?
Strongholds are build upon deception and lies that we've accepted into our minds. So how do you counter a lie? How do you counter deception? With the truth. Where do we find the truth? In the Word of God. As we can see in Ephesians, this weapon is known as the sword of the Spirit:
Ephesians 6:17, "...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
In 2 Corinthians, we are told that our spiritual weaponry is designed to tear down strongholds:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) 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."
This is a great verse that gives us a good idea of how we are to go about tearing down strongholds in our minds. First, since the sword of the Spirit is the offensive piece of our weaponry, it is a great tool for tearing down strongholds. You need to go on the offensive to tear down a stronghold, and the Word of God is the weapon you cannot afford not to use.
So when the devil tries to tell us, "You really messed up, haven't you?"
You need to counter it with, "1 John 3:5 tells me that the reason Jesus went to the cross was to take away that sin! Hebrews 8:12 tells me that even God has chosen to forget my sin!"
Boy does Satan hate that! It reminds him of the days when he tried tempting Jesus:
Satan said to Jesus, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." (Matthew 4:3)
But Jesus replied with, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
What did Satan do? After Jesus did that a few times, he had no choice but to hit the road... his efforts were useless against Jesus! Jesus knew the relevant scriptures to quote, and took away Satan's ability to influence Him!
Let's go back to 2 Corinthians again and see what else it has to say:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) 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."
As we can see, we are told to cast down imaginations. What are imaginations? They are things that we imagine... the devil usually plants them in our minds when he asks us a question that starts out with "What if..." Don't waste your time trying to reason things with the devil. Just throw it out and leave him hanging! Get your mind on God's Word and off of what the devil is trying to tell you.
What else are we told in this verse? We are to cast down every thought that comes into our minds that opposes the knowledge of God. What is the knowledge of God? Since God associates Himself with His Word (John 1:1), if anything comes into our minds that is contrary to God's Word, throw it out! Do not waste your time thinking about it or trying to reason with it. If Satan is trying to tell you that God is not wanting to forgive you, then don't listen to it. Why? Because His Word says otherwise:
Isaiah 30:18, "Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you." (NASB)
Not only does He want to forgive your sins, so that your relationship with Him can be restored, He longs (which means He deeply desires) to do so! One of the last things Satan wants us to know is God's forgiving and loving nature towards us even after we have messed up!
As you can see, strongholds are built on lies and deception. How do you counter such things? With truth! Where do you find truth? In the Word of God! Stop thinking about what Satan has been feeding you, and begin to meditate on God's Word. Take verses in the Bible that run contrary to what the devil's been feeding you, and repeat them to yourself over and over out loud. Think about them often, and meditate on them. The devil got his stronghold built by causing you to meditate on his lies and deception, so if you want to tear down that stronghold, you need to begin meditating on the exact opposite, which is God's Word.
Listening to and reasoning with the things the devil puts in your mind is exactly what he wants you to do. It feed his strongholds when you allow your mind to meditate on Satan's word (opposite of God's Word). Cut him off at the source and say NO to the garbage he's been feeding you, and at the same time turn to God's Word. Begin to feed, meditate upon, think about often and dwell upon on the truth. It will stop Satan dead in his tracks!
It is also possible to have strongholds in place because demonic spirits have attached themselves to you at some point or another, and need to be driven out. If you work hard at tearing down strongholds by applying the truths in God's Word and this teaching, and yet you seem to hit a wall, it may be because a demonic spirit needs to be driven out. It is very possible (and not uncommon) to experience quite a bit of freedom through applying the principals in this teaching even if there is a demonic spirit present, but you will only go so far and feel like you're hitting a wall. That is a sign of a demon at work that needs to be driven out. It can be awfully hard to battle when they are working on you from the inside out. Resisting them from the outside is easy, but resisting them when they are on the inside can be extremely hard. If you seem to have reached an immovable mountain, you might want to consider the possibility of needing to have an unclean spirit driven out.
Many Christians today believe that they cannot have demons... nothing could be further from the truth! When you're in the ministry of deliverance, you see very sincere believers manifest demons quite often. I was one myself... a very sincere believer who dearly loved the Lord... and yet I faced awful demonic bondages and have been through deliverance! .


What does it mean for something to be bound in heaven? I

f you look up the word 'heaven' in the Greek, you'll find another word called 'air', which is where the spirits dwell.
The Bible also says that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. This isn't referring to heaven as in the place we go after we die, but rather a realm.

The Bible tells us that we are seated in the heavenly realm with Christ (Ephesians 2:6). We, as humans, were below the angels and demons, but as believers, we are now seated above the angelic realm and seated with Christ!
So the word 'heaven' here is referring to the spiritual realm, the air, where the spirits dwell and operate. In Ephesians 2:2, Satan is known as the 'prince of the power of the air'.

Therefore, when you bind something here on earth, it will be bound in the spiritual realm as well. This gives us the ability to bind demons, because they dwell within the spiritual realm.