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faith

How to gain ground over your imagination

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)

untitled (28)Where are your thoughts taking you lately? 

Do you find yourself traveling down roads of your imagination, making up scenarios, creeping on down that path of unlit darkness, and the next thing you know – you’re in an agitated state of near hysteria?  

Me too. 

     We’re worrying about stuff that hasn’t even happened yet, and quite possibly never will!

What about doubt, resentment, pride, selfishness, or lust?  Do you find yourself making up an imaginary world that could never possibly come true, yet you give in to your imagination, due to loss of will to cope with current circumstances?

Another word used for “imaginations” is “arguments”.  These arguments can run the gamut of attacking our faith in the Bible as God’s Word, to justifying wrong thoughts such as jealousy, greed, or contempt. 

 

     Our thoughts can take us down a long, steep road – and like a train car gathering speed, if we keep feeding that fuel of wrong thoughts, we will eventually crash and burn. 

 

The Bible says out of the heart come the issues of life. 

In other words – what we think about, we bring about.   

We cannot hide those imaginations forever.  For from our imaginations come formulated thoughts, and formulated thoughts result in actions of which we never thought we would be truly capable. 

You don’t have to look very far to realize this is true – crime is on the upswing, and often people closest to the culprit claim, “He (or she) was such a loving father/good son/caring brother, I never would have thought he was possible of such a terrible act.” 

True, not always are we talking about heinous crimes as a result of our thoughts. 

     But we are talking about spiritual bondage to those thoughts.

You’ve heard the old story about the rooms of a heart. 

Jesus came to knock on the door, and the owner of the heart let Him in.

  He wanted to see the entire heart, but there were a few rooms the owner was not willing to reveal to Christ. 

This is because there were drawings, carvings, and useless junk that the owner saved behind those doors. 

Doors to places he would not dare let His Savior enter, for fear of shame and regret. 

Have you ever watched shows on TV about people who hoard whole houses full of junk?  There is hardly a path to get through the house.  Room upon room piled high with what we can plainly see is useless stuff that needs to go in the trash, but to these folk, is somehow precious. 

I know this scene personally. 

I had a close relative pass away that lived like that, and I got to be the proud owner of a houseful of an absolute trash heap. 

I was overwhelmed, to say the least.  I did not know where to begin to even make a dent, nor how in the world I would accomplish this task. 

 

Sadly, sometimes we have rooms in our hearts that look like this, and we have no idea how they got so beyond our control – it seems hopeless to even think that we could gain control over them, let alone clear them out. 

     And we can’t.

     But God can.

     By our faith.

The Greek definition of faith is:  persuasion; conviction of the truthfulness of God; assurance; belief.

An active faith is a powerful faith.  Listen to this definition of faith from the Dictionary of Bible Themes:  “Confidence in the ability and willingness of God to act in supernatural power to advance His kingdom, and a commitment, expressed in prayer and action, to being the means by which He does so.”

Do you know who had this kind of faith?  A woman in Mark chapter 5.  This lady had a female problem that she struggled with for years and years (she couldn’t stop bleeding).  She’d been to all the doctors around, and Scripture implies that they kept taking her money and giving her empty promises.  This lady used up all her money with hopes that these physicians would heal her. 

I don’t blame her, I’ve had female problems – I would have done the same thing.  Trust me – THAT kind of problem can put you over the edge, mentally and physically.  You suffer, your family suffers, life is miserable and everyone just wants to run away from you, including yourself.

     “It is usual with people not to apply themselves to Christ, till they have tried in vain all other helpers, and find them, as certainly they will, physicians of no value.  And He will be found a sure refuge, even to those who make Him their last refuge…those whom Christ heals of the disease of sin, that bloody issue, cannot but experience in themselves a universal change for the better.”  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)  Think about this for a minute.  How many ways have you tried to deal with your closed door items without fully and finally giving them over to Jesus Christ?

You know the story.  She saw Jesus was in town and thought to herself,

“If I could just touch even the hem of his garment, I’ll be healed!”

Now being a female, I can totally understand where she’s coming from on this.  It’s an embarrassing ailment, she doesn’t want everybody knowing her business, so she just comes up behind him, touches him, and “immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease”. 

She probably thought, “Awesome!  Now I’ll just split this popsicle stand and be on my way!” 

     Not so fast. 

Jesus knew that she had touched him and that she was healed.  He knew that “power had gone out from him”.  Not that He was weaker – for He still possessed all power.  (By the way, isn’t it great to know that no matter how much of God’s power we or others access, there’s always an unlimited supply of MORE?)  But, Christ wanted to personalize this experience. 

He was not willing for this lady to just skirt the crowd and skedaddle out of His life. 

     He wanted a word with her. 

And so, He asked, “Who touched my garments” And the disciples thought He was daft and replied, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?'”

The woman came, trembling, knelt before him, and told him the truth. 

untitled (69)

 

 

 

“See what an encouraging word He gave her, ‘Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole’…Christ puts honor upon faith, because faith gives honor to Christ.  But see how what is done by faith on earth is ratified in heaven; Christ saith, ‘Be whole of thy disease’.  …If our faith sets the seal of its amen to the power and promise of God, saying, ‘So it is, and so let it be to me;’ God’s grace will set the seal of its amen to the prayers and hopes of faith…” (Matthew Henry)

 

Did you get all that? 

     God honors our prayers, when prayed according to His will, and He delights to honor them! 

Sister, if you ask for more faith, and you are earnest in your prayers, He is GOING TO GIVE YOU more faith. 

If you ask for peace, joy, self control, etc., you are going to have that as well. 

But we must be earnest in our prayers, not praying in passing, lightly, or flippantly.  We must really dig down deep and earnestly, zealously petition to our God. 

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark 11:24. 

 

Listen to E.M. Bounds’ take on this verse, I promise you it’s worth the read!

“God’s promises are dependent on our prayers.  The promises are planted in us, appropriated by us, and held in the arms of faith by prayer.  Promises, like the rain, are general.  Prayer embodies, precipitates, and locates them for personal use.  The promises, like electricity, may sparkle and dazzle and yet remain useless for good until these dynamic, life-giving currents are chained by prayer and become mighty forces that move and bless.” 

 

     MIGHTY FORCES that move and bless.   “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (or human), but MIGHTY”.

You know what this looks like to me?  It looks like if I have something in my life that I’m struggling with, that is my fault.  My fault for first of all not turning it over to the Lord.  Am I really happy holding on to that fear and guilt?  Nope.  I need to let Christ in that room and let Him clear it out.

But secondly, let’s say I have given it over to the Lord, and yet I still struggle with it? 

Ya’ll, it sounds like this is my fault too. 

It’s a faith issue.  Because if God’s weapons are mighty, then they’re more than strong enough to overcome my problem. 

The fault still lies with me.

And so I have to look at what I’ve been doing.  Have I really spent time down on my knees, crying out to God for victory in this area?  Have I honestly, earnestly made time to commit my ways to Him? 

 

 

Oh girl, I hear you if you are that mama that can’t get a moment’s peace, even behind the bathroom door.  You are doing good just to get a semi-shower during the day. 

But take advantage of that little window of opportunity and pray that earnest prayer.  Who says you can’t pray standing up?  Who says you can’t pray an earnest prayer while you cook dinner? 

Listen, if Susanna Wesley (mother of 19 children) could find time to pray by sitting in her kitchen with her apron tossed up over her head, you can get creative too! 

The point is, no matter where you are, or what stage of life you are in – you can pray. 

But be earnest about it.  Dig deep into your soul and cry out to the Lord. 

God has shown me in these areas of struggle that if I spend time with Him, He does the equipping.  Most likely, the problem has to be brought before the Lord several times a day. 

It’s not a one time deal, pray that prayer and BAM – you’re done with that problem. 

That would be nice, but God seeks to bring us to new growth through our struggles.  He has different methods to approaching our faults in order to lead us to victory. 

Usually, it’s small victories along the way.  He is seeking to perfect us for His use, and He intends to use us for His glory and in the lives of others to help them along too. 

 

     If you can have victory over that room in your heart, at some point down the road, chances are God is going to use you to help someone else with that same problem. 

 

Strongholds are things that have a strong hold on us.  We’re talking about casting them! 

Think about that for a second.  Is it hard or easy to throw something heavy? 

Say one of those giant tires the Crossfit people are always flipping across the gym floor.  I’ve always managed to be absent from Crossfit class on that day, but I can say it’s hard to lift a loaded barbell overhead.  Or toss a 25 pound medicine ball. 

I may be speaking a foreign language to you right now so just think of trying to pick up and toss something really heavy – maybe your 16 year old son who won’t take out the trash.

 This strength – this might – it’s not our own. 

     It’s God’s might. 

And that stronghold is heavier than any human weight that you can measure, because it’s in the mind.  Mind weights are Satan’s specialty.  If he can get to your mind, he will mess with you all day long, and he will keep you entrapped. 

     But God is greater. 

He’s in the miracle business.  And He wants to help you cast down that stronghold and GET THAT VICTORY!

“Bringing EVERY thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 

Now we have a lot of thoughts throughout the span of a day.  But if we’re centered on Christ – if we’re praying as we drive, walk, scrub the floors, whatever – and if we’re memorizing and mulling over Scripture (which by the way is inspired by God), we are using our stronghold weapons. 

     Don’t underestimate the small steps. 

Every choice you make for Christ is a victory over that stronghold.  And those small victories add up over time! 

If you start right now, today, implementing your stronghold tools over that area – that junk room in your heart, the one you don’t want to let go of but yet you oh, so desperately do because you know you’ll be so much better off – friend, by this time next year you will be able to look back and see how far you’ve come on your journey. 

I encourage you to write it down.  Whatever your stronghold is, record it in a journal, a piece of paper in your Bible, maybe even your nightstand.  Claim this verse and write it down underneath your stronghold.  Put it where you can see it every day (you may need to write it again, on a notecard), commit it to memory, and let God work His might.   

You’re probably wondering what I did about my relative’s house full of junk.  God had an answer for that too. 

He provided me with a very level-headed husband who found a family that wanted that house.  They had never owned a home before, didn’t have much money, but were willing to clear out the junk in exchange for a rent-to-own scenario. 

What I deemed as a giant, hopeless weight on my shoulders, God turned into a story of hope. 

DON’T LOSE FAITH, girlfriend.  God is able. He is Mighty.  He has a plan.  Now give up that junk, and watch Him work!

     “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:4-5

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© Ruthie Gray and Rear.Release.Regroup, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ruthie Gray and Rear.Release.Regroup. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.