I used to think that strongholds were certain behaviors that I just could not overcome. But now that I'm a little older, I think it goes way deeper than that. Sure the behaviors are destructive, and not at all what God wants for me, but the real problem lies underneath. For underneath every behavior is a goal, and under every goal is a belief. And every belief is fueled by a narrative. If we are willing to dig down far enough, we will eventually uncover the reason for the behavior, and the narrative that fuels it. If we truly desire to change; if we truly desire to eliminate the dysfunctional behavior, we cannot merely cut it off at the surface (for it will eventually grow back), we must uproot it completely. We must uncover the narrative that lies underneath. That is the stronghold.
In order to destroy the strongholds in my life, I cannot just decide to behave differently. I don't know about you, but I've tried that over and over and over again. It just doesn't work--at least not for long. Real change comes when I begin to change the way I think. I must uncover the narratives that drive me to certain behaviors, and then I must make space and time for the Spirit of God to reveal the truth, which sets me free. I must change my narratives in order to change (long term) my behavior.
That's where the taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ comes in. I must dig down to what I really believe, to the narrative that I am allowing to guide my thinking, and hold it up to the light, to the truth of Christ--the narratives of Jesus. For only then will I be able to know what the truth really is. And only then will that truth be able to set me free.