HOW YOU THINK AFFECTS YOUR LIFE
BY APOSTLE JONAS CLARK
An evil imagination is a death wound formed in the soul that has its roots in the fallen corrupted nature of man.
God created your mind for thinking. Your mind is like a critically thinking super computer designed to draw on information for the purpose of coming to a rightful determination. It will continually search out bits of data from life experience, prior knowledge, even assumptions to extrapolate a conclusion. To extrapolate means to use information as the starting point to gain knowledge, draw inferences and make decisions about something unknown. There are thoughts that suppose something and are nothing more than random bits of information without merit, proof, witness, or substance. Thoughts like that have no real value and are unsystematic. The most dangerous thoughts, however, are those that lead to a particular belief.
The source of thoughts, your thoughts, needs to be discerned. Are they real or imagined? Good or bad, right or wrong? Was Hamlet on to something when he echoed Montaigne who said, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so?” Can your thoughts make things so? Do they deserve your attention? Should they be reflected on and acted out?
Only the mature understand the wisdom of parsed judgment until they can assemble all the necessary facts and come to a rightful conclusion. These champions of the kingdom know how to think. Like precision time pieces that carry the unfaltering sounds of tick-tock they examine each systematic movement of the big hand until finally clarity forms within their minds. Then and only then do they move the small hand forward and enter the next hour.
How you think affects your life. The Apostle Paul taught his students not to think like flawed gentiles. The gentiles were outside the covenant blessings of God until salvation. Paul used them as an example. He said that Christ’ disciples should not walk like they do in the “vanity of their minds,” in different words, banned imaginations. “How does one walk in the vanity of their minds,” you ask? By trying to live out vain imaginations.
Paul said, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind; Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18). Remember the meeting between the fallacious serpent in the Garden of Eden and Eve? As already said, she looked, she took, she ate, and she gave to her husband and he also partook. This scri pture teaches the power of toying with deceptive words and imaginations. Fallen mankind, walking out the vanity within their minds, searches for ways to fulfill sensual, fleshly, lustful passions, and when they find them those passions pull on their carnal nature.
WHAT’S IN YOU?
Satan’s activities are still the same today, thousands of years later. He looks through ancient eyes for something in you to work with. Something small, perhaps a seed, something hidden from the sunlight, or something buried deep within. It could be pride, rejection or lust. It could be bitterness, unforgiveness, even the love of money. Again, he has nothing to web except what’s already in you. Jesus said, “For the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). What about you? When that old dragon draws near can he find anything in you to anvil? To win the war against your mind you must, “Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Carnal thoughts and pondered vain imaginations give the enemy opportunity to attack you.
Peter also wrote about the dangers of vain words, thoughts and imaginations. “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome of the same is he brought into bondage” (2 Peter 2:18-19). Did you get that? Carnal passion, stirred by the lusts of the flesh and vanity within the mind is designed to overtake you and bring you to the timbered stocks. That’s why Paul said to avoid the vanity within the mind. Vain thoughts are enticements toward further carnality and conceiving sin. Like walking in cold sunlight they pull on the old man, that carnal nature that needs daily crucifixion. Is he dead in your life?
An evil imagination is a death wound formed in the soul that has its roots in the fallen corrupted nature of man. It is a different way of walking, outside your design. Like an addiction, vain imaginations can grab you and pull at your soul beckoning the reapers to come. Spoken greed, for example, draws on the blackened sinful nature of man. So, too, lust that pants for the forbidden. Lust is fabricated first within the imagination then onto the flesh looking for its harvest. When pondered it’s like a narcotic to the most addicted of junkies.
What did Peter mean “they are servants of corruption?” Bondage! That’s right, slavery trenched deep within their souls. Those taken captive through cultivated sinful imaginations become slaves fettered to their own carnality. Paul’s warning “don’t think like that” is significant. “How can one be overcome by an imagination,” you query? As mentioned before, by brooding evil thoughts within the mind, imaging them and acting them out. That’s what happened to Eve. She considered what the serpent said, she pondered the outcome, and she partook of the forbidden thereby giving birth to sin.
Futile imaginations obscure vision and corrupt judgment. scri pture says, “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18). Your understanding can only be darkened when you are carried away by carnal thoughts and hollow imaginations. You must avoid them at all cost because they separate you from the good life of Christ and blind spiritual understanding.
All of us must avoid carnal thoughts and vain imaginations and cast them down as they occur, even those that come from others. As you become skillful at “casting down every imagination and high thing that exalts itself against the Word of God” you will experience more peace and a greater focus toward purpose within your life.
It seems we have come full circle once again in our pursuit of winning the battles against the mind. The bottom line is the mind must be renewed. Some try to get the Holy Spirit to grapple with their minds. The problem with that is you must be involved in the process by making every effort to renew your mind yourself. Give the Holy Spirit something to work with. Make the effort by studying to “show yourself approved.” Epictetus said, “No great thing is created suddenly.” So meditate on the Word daily. It will impart life, truth and grace for living into your soul.
MEDITATION AND REFLECTION
To extrapolate means to use information as the starting point to draw inferences or conclusions about something unknown.
There are thoughts that suppose something and are nothing more than random bits of information without merit, proof, witness, or substance.
Satan’s activities are still the same today. He looks for something in you to work with. It could be pride, rebellion or lust. It’s significant to remember that he has nothing to work with except what’s already in you.
This short essay is out of my book “Imaginations: Dare to win the battle against your mind.” In the book we discuss:
Why God gave you a prophetic imagination.
How to defeat the fearful whispers in your mind.
How to unravel Satan’s best spiritual warfare strategies.
How to stop invisible opponents.
How to see all things as possible.
How to win imaginary conversations.
How to walk where dreams live.