Today, I'd like to revisit the subject of strongholds that we discussed briefly in the introduction. If you haven't read the introduction yet, go back and read it, as it ties into today's lesson.

In the Old Testament a stronghold was a physical place that people went to for

protection, usually an actual fortress. Because the strongholds were built to withstand attack, they were difficult to tear down. They felt like safe places.

David also used the word stronghold in the spiritual sense to refer to God. In

Psalm 37:39 David said, "The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is

their stronghold in time of trouble."

God was David's stronghold, and He wants to be our stronghold. He wants us

to come to Him for refuge when life gets hard. But that's not always our first impulse, is it? Instead, we head for other refuges. These refuges feel safe. They offer comfort, pleasure, security, and a way to escape. They're easy to go to, but they soon become hard to leave. What starts as a refuge ends as a stronghold. And strongholds are hard to tear down.

• In what way has food been a refuge for you, either now or in the past? Has it

become a stronghold in your life?


Let's see what Paul has to say about strongholds in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

What are two characteristics of the weapons we're supposed to use against




List some divinely powerful weapons you could use in your battle against the stronghold of emotional eating.

List some weapons of the world you might use in your battle against the stronghold

of emotional eating.

• In your past efforts to lose weight, have you been using divinely powerful weapons

or weapons of the world? How have those weapons worked?


Do you see our problem?

We've been using the wrong weapons. If food is a

stronghold for us, then we need to use weapons with divine power to break

strongholds. Diet, exercise, and lifelong boundaries are all tools we can use, but they aren't powerful enough to tear down strongholds. The literal Greek translation of the phrase "divine power" is powerful in God. God releases His power to change our lives through these weapons. Note that He's

releasing the power to get rid of the stronghold, not to make us skinny. Emotional eating may be a stronghold, but wanting to look good in the eyes of the world may also be a stronghold. Complicated, isn't it? God's not going to release His power just so we can lose weight and look good. He wants us to see ourselves through His eyes and seek His approval. Does this mean that if your main purpose for this study is to lose weight, that

God isn't going to help? No, not at all. That's probably how most of us start out. In

fact, you could say we're lucky to have a stronghold that isn't approved of by society.

It motivates us to work on it.

Hopefully, though, you'll shift your focus at some point in the study. The act of

emotional eating is a much bigger problem than the extra pounds you carry. God

adores you. He loves you just the way you are, at the weight you are. But He wants to be first in your life. This study will help you become aware of the reasons you eat. As vou uncover the lies that make you want to overeat and replace those lies with the truth, the desire to eat will loose its grip on you. As food takes its rightful place as the answer to

hunger and not the answer to life's problems, you'll begin to lose weight. So it's all kind of exciting, isn't it? Growing in our relationship with God, getting rid of strongholds, and losing some weight on the side. Let's look at those divinely powerful weapons and get started!

Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 once more. What two things does Paul tell us to do in 2 corinthians 10:5?