Part 1 of 10
Casting Down Imaginations
Have you as a Christian recognized the battle in your mind?
Every person has a “thought life” that has a bearing on their well being and way of living. I sometimes find myself thinking thoughts I know I ought not to be thinking. I know this because my heart is sometimes convicted.
I’ve also learned over the years that if I persist in those thoughts, I will bear the weight of my wrong thinking in my soul. If I persist in toying with these thoughts it means I’ve chosen to turn away from the Lord within me. I then become weighed down and somewhat in darkness. The light and buoyancy of the Lord in my life is then diminished or lost for a time, even though Christ will never leave me and He is still living within my spirit. Thankfully, the Lord even then will never fail us or leave us helpless. He is present to support us as we turn our heart to Him again.
Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified Bible) Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for HE [GOD] HIMSELF HAS SAID, I WILL NOT IN ANY WAY FAIL YOU NOR GIVE YOU UP NOR LEAVE YOU WITHOUT SUPPORT. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I WILL] NOT IN ANY DEGREE LEAVE YOU HELPLESS NOR FORSAKE NOR LET [YOU] DOWN (RELAX MY HOLD ON YOU)! [ASSUREDLY NOT!]
The fact is that we have an enemy whose immediate purpose is to destroy our union with the Lord that yields rest and peace to our souls. The Devil’s devices are used to place a wedge between us and the Lord. That wedge is the self-condemnation that could come when he causes unknowing believers to fail. This battle or war is not of our initiating. The enemy of our soul is the very same “spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:1). That evil Sin-spirit tempts us by shooting his “fiery darts” of temptation into our minds in the form of Sinful thoughts. He may also by now have established a seeming a “stronghold” in our mind. We’ll discuss this further as we go on in this series.
Though the Sin-nature is seated as “Sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3b), Paul here below describes the nature of our “warfare” or battle as not being a matter of “the flesh” alone.
“for though we walk in the flesh (body), we do NOT WAR after (in the manner of) the flesh: 4(for the weapons of our WARFARE are NOT carnal (fleshly), 4but (our weapons are) mighty through God (who is “Spirit”) to the PULLING DOWN (Gk., kathairesis, destruction) of STRONG HOLDS; 5CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the KNOWLEDGE of God, and BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT to the obedience of (attentively harkening to) Christ.”” (2Corinthians 10:3-5).
The words “imaginations…thought” and “knowledge” in verse 5 (above) tell us the battleground of our “war” is located within our minds where we think and imagine. Every sinful tempting thought is an attack upon what we as knowledgeable believers ought to know of the Lord and our relationship with Him.
There are times when we Christians still find ourselves occupied by wrong thinking, about things that are unseemly and we know these thoughts are contrary to our desire for living a righteous life. It is not just the thoughts of the obviously gross acts of sin such as murder and adultery that are sins. Some thoughts are sinful for us even though they may seem innocuous or harmless, such as dwelling on the unpleasant happenings of our past life events. These thoughts are sinful because they draw us away from the truth of the NOW in which we live, our present solid position in the Lord, This can become destructive to our peace and rest in the Lord.
We need to note that Paul defines “sin” as “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14:23b). Any manifestation of a lack of faith and trust in the Lord as our all is called an act of “sin.” This then includes such thoughts as dwelling in fearfulness, anxiousness, or any self-seeking thoughts. Why are these considered sins? It’s because these thoughts are evidence of us not really trusting the Lord as our life, our all, and our satisfaction. Then of course there are the hateful, covetous, unforgiving, resentful, retaliatory, selfish, self-seeking, or jealous thoughts toward other people.
Being one who is prone to anxiety, I know that anxious thoughts are temptations in the “imagination” that can become what I call “awfulizing.” We can conjuring up and think about what might go wrong or happen, or might be out of our control and so we become anxious. In running my business I did this often and it led to a stress induced heart attack. Such thoughts can become what Paul calls a “stronghold” that must be recognized and “pulled down.” I’ve learned that our foolish thoughts of “control” are really only an illusion of control that we’ve never really had, but that’s another subject. Matthew 6:27 (AMP) And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?
We all are prone to be tempted with thoughts, whether of anxiety or disgusting sinful thoughts. In this life we will be plagued in these or similar ways until we do as Paul commends us to do. Concerning our vain “imaginations,” Paul says we need to “cast down imaginations” and take every thought “captive” to set it aside.
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 (attentively harkening to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Then of course there are thoughts of our sexual imaginations that sometimes just seem to appear in our mind, without any seeming provocation. Haven’t you had the experience of simply been going about your daily business, perhaps at the super market or the office and all of a sudden a most foul unprovoked thought may come into your mind? Yes, we were created as sexual beings for procreation. Thus, it’s easy for the Devil to tempt us. He makes us think, “It’s just me” or “There’s something wrong with me as a failing Christian.” But, as we will see in the next installment, this is not true.