A biblical definition of footholds and strongholds

Strongholds are an issue of influence, not power

Footholds and strongholds are not about power. According to scripture, they are all about who influences the heart. That is why truth, not spiritual authority, sets you free.

Paul uses the Greek word “topos” to describe a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). Topos means “a place of influence.” When anyone has enough influence in your life, they wield power over you according to the amount of influence they have gained. Satan’s influence always comes in the form of a lie. That is one reason Jesus said truth, not spiritual authority, sets us free (John 8:32). This is why Jesus never said your path to freedom has to go through Satan. Jesus said to come directly to him (who is Truth) for rest and peace from burdensome lies (Matthew 11:28). 

The heart is the primary issue

Strongholds set up primarily in the heart. Satan’s weapon is projection. Projection focuses primarily on the emotions. It makes things feel true to the heart that aren’t.

The ultimate root of any stronghold is damage to our identity. (See our video on emotional wounds.) This is the root of both emotional pain and strongholds. This is why Satan targeted Eve’s identity when he seduced her into sin in Genesis 3 and did the same thing when he tempted Jesus. Once identity damage is in place, he can suggest all kinds of “solutions” for our pain from unhealthy forms of self-medication to placation with things like anger or revenge. The ultimate solution for any stronghold is to heal the identity damage at the root of our wounds. This removes the base through which Satan is able to influence in the heart with his lies.