Saturday, September 15, 2018

Vain Imaginations

...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 (10:4-6, context)
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Psalm 119:37
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21 (context, 1:20-22)
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 (also Genesis 8:21)
But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Jeremiah 7:24
The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Psalm 94:11
I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Psalm 119:113
Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:3 
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
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

When we give into "vain imaginations," when we neglect to "bring into captivity" our [natural] thoughts, we set ourselves up for trouble.

In our imaginations we often rewrite things our own way:

  • We rewrite who we were, who we are, who we are going to be.
  • We rewrite who God is and what he is like.
  • We rewrite what we need, what we expect, what we DESERVE.
  • We rewrite relationships: how we relate to each other and how we relate to God.
  • We rewrite priorities. We make big things little and little things big.
  • We rewrite definitions and truths.
  • We rewrite "good" and "evil." Isaiah 5:20 
  • We dismiss the realities we don't like and thrive upon fantasies.

We can even bring our imaginations and thoughts into our Bible reading, our prayer, our sermons, our music. That is where it becomes dangerous indeed. When we become so confused, so blinded, that we don't realize that we've substituted the ONE TRUE GOD, the God of the Bible with a "GOD" of our own making, our own vain imaginations. We've replaced his revealed knowledge--THE WORD OF GOD--with our own "knowledge." We've switched from worshipping God to worshipping ourselves in disguise.

This is why we need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily.

This is why we need to feed on the Word of God like it is our very life.

This is why we need to approach everything like the Bereans did. Testing everything--even our thoughts, especially our thoughts--against the Word of God. [Acts 17:11]

It would be foolish indeed to test everybody's thoughts but our own. Yes, it is good to test what we hear in sermons, what we read in books, what we hear in music against the Word of God. But it just as necessary to challenge our own thoughts, to test and see if the messages we're playing and replaying in our minds line up with Scripture. Have any lies crept in? What--or who--are shaping our thoughts, our thought patterns?

Are you being your own worst enemy? This isn't a silly lesson in self-esteem. It isn't. There are two extremes: to have such a high opinion of yourself that it does not match reality OR to have such a low opinion of yourself that it does not match reality. How does God see me? Who am I in God's eyes? Am I seeing myself as he sees me? Am I living life the way he wants me to live it? Am I living out the gospel? Do my daily thoughts line up with my doctrines and beliefs? Am I preaching the gospel to others one way and living it out another way? For example, am I preaching a life of grace, grace, all is grace but living out 'the gospel' as if it is LAW, LAW, LAW? Do I stress God's mercy and grace to others but live in fear of judgment?


Also: Deuteronomy 29:19, 31:21, 1 Chronicles 28:9, 18, Jeremiah 3:17, 4:14, 6:19,  9:14, 11:8, 13:10, 16:12, 18:12; Luke 1:51. Isaiah 65:2, Matthew 9:4, 15:19, 1 Corinthians 3:20, Hebrews 4:12,

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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