This list is NOT exhaustive, so you may encounter a stronghold or symptoms that aren’t listed.
You can recognize that a stronghold exists when any of the symptoms produced by that spirit are HABITUALLY PRESENT.
indignation – dudgeon – anger – umbrage – pique
Acts 8:14Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. 24Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Simon was a man who once practiced magic, but who never seemed to fully give it up. He was thus plagues with a “magic mindset” which can be seen in what he says and does, as recorded by Luke.
In Acts, When the gospel of Christ was preached, everybody in the city, including Simon, believed and were baptized. Simon was a proud and powerful man and he found himself resentful and greedy of the power these apostles had through the Holy Spirit.
When he saw it being given through the laying on of hands, he offered money for it to be given to him also, so he could give it to others as he wished. Simon was a new believer, so there was much he didn’t understand yet, but we have here an example of how a stronghold can already be in place when we become a believer and how it can be discerned through our attitudes and behaviors.
Even if this stronghold doesn’t already exist when we become saved, it is one of the areas that can create major problems for many Christians. Satan has a huge quiver full of fiery arrows made of anger, unforgiveness, bitterness and associated sins, that he will very accurately aim deep into our hearts.
Anger and unforgiveness left unchecked, or ignored or denied, will grow into bitterness, and can become rage. These will be expressed in our attitudes and behaviors. We need to always be on guard for those.
Hebrews 12:15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Paul feared that the practices of the wicked city of Corinth had invaded the congregation, and he wrote sternly in the hope they would straighten out before he arrived.
Ephesians 4:31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Why is the stronghold of bitterness so common, especially among professing
Christians? The stronghold of DECEIT cooperates with the spirit of bitterness to
convince many Christians that they can remain bitter and still be okay with God.
Not so! When you’re bitter, you’re REFUSING TO FORGIVE someone who’s
You’re holding onto a perceived right to NOT forgive. Yet you’re expecting that
our Father HAS to forgive YOU, no matter what your offense. That deception is
spiritual quicksand. Jesus Christ warns us that our Father in heaven will NOT forgive anyone who refuses to forgive.
Satan doesn’t care how much religion you practice or against WHOM you’re
bitter. As long as our Father doesn’t forgive YOU in your bitterness, the enemy
has accomplished his goal.
It’s serious enough that bitter, unforgiving Christians are not forgiven by the
Father. But that bitterness also contaminates their relationships with the people
who are close to them. That’s why we’re warned,
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” (Hebrews
The DEFILEMENT that’s caused by bitter people is that they entice OTHERS to
take up an offense against someone who’s never hurt them personally.
In other words, a bitter person lures OTHERS to be bitter with them.
Let’s say a friend comes to you with slander against her husband or boss or father.
She shares the grisly details with you. You find yourself thinking how horrible
that other person is, even though he or she has never done anything to YOU.
Chances are, if you met that supposed evil scoundrel, you’d have some pretty
negative thoughts inside. And, you’d be hindered from relating to that person
the way God would have you, because now you’re captured by bitterness.
Scrutinize each symptom of this stronghold carefully. Satan uses the spirit
of bitterness to not only keep you from full relationship with our Father, but also
to defile others around you.
Upcoming: Stronghold Part 4 – Stronghold of heaviness