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Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that we are to lay aside every sin and weight that will beset us in this race that we are to run patiently. When we think about sin, many of us go to the “big” ones, aka lying, stealing, getting drunk–and the like. Have we stopped to consider the sin of our thoughts–our imaginations? Let’s take a pop quiz.
Scenario: You expect to connect with a loved one or good friend. You reach out to the person and several hours goes by and they do not respond. Do you:
a. Give them the benefit of the doubt, considering they may not have had a moment to reach back. Or perhaps they may not have gotten your message.
b. Pray for their safety and for whatever may be happening that is delaying the callback.
c. Start to get worried, anxious, or enraged.
The worry is that something did happen and the person is someplace stranded or hurt–unable to get to the phone. Your mind starts to go into all kinds of places where the person could be–retracing possible steps, places visited, you start calling/texting over and over in an attempt to get the person to respond. Turns out the person’s phone suddenly and unexpectedly broke. They had several things to do at work and such before they could look into getting it replaced.
The anxiety (close to worry) is more around what the person may be doing. You are thinking, they may not be hurt, just not considerate enough to return your call. So what’s so important that so and so cannot text back? What kind of friend does that? Is he/she with another person? I noticed that they looked at each other last week when they were introduced. I THOUGHT I noticed a spark. Mom was right! (hysterical sobs). What will I do? How will we divide everything? What about the Dittmeyer’s party? What will they think? Oh—we have to tell the kids. We should wait until after the holidays…
The rage can come in after dwelling on the anxiety. In thinking about the person, you mentally plan how you will assault them in a verbal manner once you see them.
The nerve of them NOT calling you back. Are they upset about something? No…they just must be in of their moods–some nerve! There was a time I wasn’t feeling well and I STILL made sure I responded! Maybe we just are not the friends I thought we were. People change up very much. Just like that time with ________________. I did not do ANYTHING to them and all of the sudden we are arch enemies. Well, I do not need to put of with any of this.
When and IF they DO decide to get back to me, I plan to tell them EXACTLY how I feel. And when they say this, I will counter back with the five times they hurt my feelings. No…no..I will talk about the time I sacrificed everything to help them. And once I do, there will be apologies from them, but I will hold off accepting it for 2 days–that will teach them! And then they will BEG for my forgiveness again and I will forgive them..just deal with them out of a long-handled spoon. Or maybe silence is better. Icy silence…and when they ask me what’s wrong at the party, I’ll…
The real story? While walking back to their desk, Friend was called into an impromptu meeting by a manager about a client situation that needed immediate and complete attention that took a few hours to resolve.
Listen, our vain (worthless, idle; empty) imagination can take up places! Strong’s concordance defines the word “imagination” (logismós) as “bottom-line” reasoning that reflects someone’s values, i.e. how they personally assign weight in determining what they find reasonable; calculated arguments or thoughts; reaching a personal opinion, i.e. what comes out of a personal reckoning.
Notice the terms—what we find reasonable, personal opinions, personal reckoning—that translates into leaning to our own understanding which is limited, short sighted, finite and does not line up with the Word of God at all. We spend so much time in our heads debating a person or situation over and over until we are mentally, spiritually, emotionally and sometimes physically drained. In fact, I am convinced that some afflictions in our bodies come from the constant deliberations that are in our minds. God knew that the adversary comes to steal, kill and destroy–and our thoughts are not off-limits. Rather than allow the entertain thoughts that come from the adversary, God has given us His word to help us.
- 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 Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5).
So if the thought does not line up with the knowledge of God (His Word) we need to “get our minds right” by countering them with the Word of God. Psalm 1 reminds us of what happens when we meditate on what God says.
- Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
- But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
- And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (Psalm 1:1-3).
If we are worried or anxious, then we go to God in prayer, fervently asking for what we need and thanking Him for it.
- “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
Then when our minds start to wander, we change our thought patterns.
- Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).
The Word of God reminds is that not only should our words be acceptable to God–our thoughts should be, too.
- Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
BCU Fam, at some time, most of us will experience fear, worry, anxiety, stressful confrontations and what-if’s–that is perfectly normal. What God wants us to do after those thoughts and emotions come is stay focused on Him and His Word to lead, guide, protect and perfect us. Our thoughts eventually come out in our speech and actions, so if we are full of Jesus, our thoughts, speech and actions will reflect Him. Amen? Amen!
So what are your thoughts on vain imaginations, self-arguments and entertaining the worse case scenarios over and over in your mind? Is the struggle real? I know with the help of the Lord I have to be REALLY intentional about my thoughts or they can overtake my spirit in a negative way. What are your go-to Scriptures? How do you handle things? Head on over to the comments section and let’s continue the conversation!
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Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!