Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Casting down IMAGINATIONS

I would like to continue where we left off on our blog from yesterday. We looked at a question that Jesus asked his disciples. "Why don't you have faith?" Jesus had just calmed the sea in response to their question, "Don't you care?" I believe the answer to the question of, "Why don't you have faith?" is "we believe the lie instead of the truth." Today I want us to look a little deeper into this subject.

What are these lies and where do they come from? They are thoughts contrary to the truth.
About this concept Paul writes "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 KJV). This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Let's notice a couple of things about it.


  • First, what is an imagination? An imagination is something that seems to be real but has no substance to it. Imaginations are in our mind and they are incorrect reasoning's or thoughts. They are against the knowledge of God. Not the knowledge about God but the knowledge that comes from God. Imaginations are the opposite of truth.
  • This passage goes on to say that these imaginations "exalt itself against the knowledge of God." They pretend to be bigger or more powerful than our God. They are lies that are more real to us than the truth.

Lets take a moment and examine what that look like? Remember when Satan came to tempt Eve. "And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4-5 NAS). The lie became more real to Eve than the truth and so she sinned. The same can be true for you and me. Where are we believing a lie that is directly contrary to God' truth? "Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you" (I Peter 5:7 NAS). The truth is that God cares for us. The result of believing the truth is we are not anxious.

A companion verse is found in Philippians.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6 NAS). The truth is that we can go to God about all our concerns. The result of believing this truth is that we are not anxious. What is anxiety? It is the result of not believing the truth. It is what believing the lie looks like. It is the evidence of the lie being bigger or more powerful than God.

Where do these lies come from? "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV). These lies are called "strongholds" They are strongholds in our mind, lies that are more real than the truth. The terminology here is that of spiritual warfare. We are fighting and there are weapons involved.

Concerning this battle Paul wrote, "Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Ephesians 6:10-11 NAS). We are fighting the schemes of the devil. To do this we must remember that Satan is a liar. He lied to himself, convincing himself that he was bigger and greater than God. He lied to Adam and Eve, that they could be gods. And he lies to you and me. Satan doesn't tempt us to commit sins. He tempts us to not believe God, and then the sins automatically follow.

When God says we can trust Him, Satan will tell us we can't.

When God tells us to humble ourselves and He will exalt us in due time, Satan says no he won't, we have to promote ourselves now. When God says to forgive, Satan says no, he or she doesn't deserve it.

Where is the battle? The primary battlefield is the mind. "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 KJV). Look at the words "imaginations, knowledge, and thoughts."
These all speak of our mind. Our mind is a battlefield. The challenge for believers is to take back our thought life and take it captive to Christ instead. The way to influence behavior is to influence thinking. Who or what controls your mind controls your life.

Satan is so effective in his lies that after a while he has built in us "strongholds" or fortresses of lies that we believe strongly. Think of it as a wall around a city. The wall is built one brick at a time until the wall is thick and high. These are lies that have been reinforced time and time again. The goal of spiritual warfare is to tear down these walls, fortresses of lies.

What are our weapons? "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NAS). They are not the weapons of the world. They are weapons that have divine power. Remember the purpose is to take back our thought life and make it captive to Christ, to real truth, instead of the lies we have believed.

To do that we have the whole armor of God. "Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:13-17 NAS).

There is only one weapon listed in this passage. It is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." How do we fight against a lie? By believing the truth of God's Word. There is nothing bigger or more powerful than the Word of God.

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12 NKJ). It is powerful because it is living. Some translations have the word "active" for powerful. The Word of God is powerful because it is active. It does something.

Be careful. It does not say that just knowing the word of God is powerful. Warning us to not be like the Israelites were, the writer of Hebrews wrote, "For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith" (Hebrews 4:2 NIV). Hearing the Word of God alone, doesn't make this weapon as powerful as it can be. It is believing the Word of God that is powerful. Faith is the catalyst that unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit. Believing the truth (the Word of God) is the power of God over Satan's lies.

But wait, we have a second weapon. "For the weapons (plural) of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" (2 Corinthians 10:4 NAS).

What other weapon do we have? There are several, but the other one I would like for us to look at today is in the very next verse in Ephesians 6 after a list of the armor we read, "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18 NAS).

  • Our second weapon is praying at all times with all prayer. Most Christians have heard of the expression, "Prayer Warriors." These are people who do spiritual warfare in prayer. Obviously prayer is a weapon against Satan.

It also says to pray "in the Spirit." Praying in the spirit is to pray under control of the Holy Spirit. Spirit led, Spirit controlled prayer is "Spiritual Warfare." There is one man in the New Testament who is known for his prayer life. "Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God" (Colossians 4:12 NAS). The word "laboring" means wrestling. It is the same as in Eph. 6 "We wrestle not against flesh and blood." We wrestle the enemy when we pray.

But not all prayers are effective.
"You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3 NKJ). God will not give us what we pray for when our motives are wrong.

Now, when we put both of these weapons together we have overcoming power.

There is nothing more formidable than a stronghold. Strongholds can't be swept away with a spiritual broom. We can't fuss at them and make the run away. We can't ignore them until the disappear. Stronghold are broken one way only. They have to be demolished. I have found that there is nothing more powerful in my life than praying the Word of God. When Satan comes with his lies, to pray the truth that contradicts the lie and affirm to God, in prayer, the truths that will defeat the lie.

What does that look like? Let's say I am worrying about something. What is the lie? It could be "God doesn't care about me." Or it could be that I think I am supposed to be in control. Also it could be that I have believed the lie that nothing bad should happen to me. There are many lies of Satan that lead to us worrying.

Once I have identified the lie, now I need the truth and the truth is in God's Word. Now I pray the truth with faith back to God. "God, I believe you care for me because your Word says so." Lord, I believe that since you are for me that no one can be against me and therefore I don't need to be in control." The Word of God, expressed in prayer by faith utilizes all of the elements of Spiritual warfare. The Holy Spirit is free to do His work within us. This is what demolishes strongholds of Satan in our minds.

Jesus asked his disciples why they had no faith. The answer is they believed the lie instead of the truth. We need to believe the truth. We need to pray the truth. We need to use both of our offensive weapons against Satan. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR" Bible reading: (Tuesday) May 6, 2008: Psalm 37:1 – Psalm 41:13

1 comments:

The CONTINENT said...

Thank you for making us understand what 2 cor 10:5 is all about. I often read it and now it holds a different meaning..

Thank you Pastor
Abigail