Posted by: S. L. Doss | October 25, 2013

Principles to Live By #3

CAST DOWN IMAGINATIONS

It’s been a few weeks since I heard the message which began this journey, and I’m finding these principles are harder to apply than I thought. Especially this one.

Why is this one so hard? Well, probably because I have such a vivid imagination. I “see” in my mind — when I read a book, I see the action, live the plot, become the characters. It’s hard for me to tell you whether I read the book or watched the movie, because in my mind, they’re one and the same.

Now, most of the time this is not an issue, but there are times when my imagination has run away from me and I’ve scared myself silly or lost touch with reality for a moment. So I’ve learned I have to reign in my overactive imagination.

♥ Guard what comes into your heart.

Where it really becomes a problem, though, is when wrong thoughts pop into my mind which I entertain for too long. These are thoughts which are against my nature, so unlike what I normally would do, that they are obviously not from within myself. However, if I do entertain them, they could end up becoming a part of me, hurting me and others. One such thought is about divorce.

I have been married for 11 years, and we have been fairly happy most of that time. Even so, there are times when I get frustrated with my husband, mostly over silly things. I will let an irritation fester, until we are in an argument, where I explode. In the midst of the argument, the thought that maybe we should just get divorced flits through. Now, I made a commitment before God and man that I would stay married and faithful to my husband until death parts us. I believe in the sanctity of marriage, and had determined long before I even met my husband that if God should ever bless me with a spouse, I would enter the marriage covenant fully intending to never break it.

Not every thought is ours.

So, when the word “divorce” enters my mind, I know it is not from within myself. Our problems are not serious enough to even consider such an action. However, when I allow irritations to build, and arguments to erupt which could almost justify my feelings and perceptions in my own mind (because who is rational in the midst of a fight?), I entertain the thought. I mull it over. I weigh the options. I think about the “What if’s?”

So where did this thought come from?

Wrong thoughts and uncharacteristic imaginings can sprout from conversations with others. A friend could be ranting about her husband, and since some of their problems were similar to mine, I would begin to sympathize and rant with her.

Satan also could put the thought in my mind, because he’d like nothing better than to destroy my marriage. Why? Because then I’d be wounded and separated from God. My husband’s ministry would suffer. Our son would lose faith in God.

So, what could be even worse than considering divorce? Using it as a weapon in a fight. A few times over the years, I allowed myself to threaten my husband, screaming at him to get out of the house. Why? Because I was overwhelmed with the emotions of the moment and the perceived wrongs he’d done. Oh, this is not an excuse. There is no excuse for slashing anyone with an emotional knife. But in the heat of the moment, I became a raving madwoman. I lost all thought of right and wrong, and just reacted. And it has affected our marriage.

Bring every thought into subjection.

It took a very necessary, long talk with my husband to realize how much I’d let that simple, uncharacteristic thought change me from the supportive, loving wife I’d intended to be. I became aware of the fact that I imagined wrongs against me, overreacted to stupid things that shouldn’t even matter, and allowed external thoughts to shape me into a world-class witch. I needed to bring my thoughts into subjection.

To prevent external thoughts from affecting my life, I must be aware that not only are these thoughts not mine, but that I can’t entertain them for a minute. I must be aware of every thought, measure it against the Bible, and either accept or discard as needed.

It’s impossible to do this all the time, though. Sometimes I’m overtired and not aware. Sometimes the thought is almost justified or acceptable. How in the world can we do this, especially with an overactive mind?

Prayer. We must pray and seek God’s face. Only He is strong enough and knowledgeable enough to help us. We must seek His help and sincerely try to listen and obey.

Read the Word. The more good things we put in our minds, the less room for evil. The Word is strength and truth. The more we’ve read and memorized, the better equipped we are to judge those thoughts and resist the wrong ones.

I must take charge of my imagination, allowing it to play when it’s safe, and shutting the door when it’s not. I must also cast down, or discard, those imaginations that are not holy, true, right, loving, and pure. If I do, I will have peace no matter what comes my way.

So, even though I’m still challenged in this area, and still need to learn to weigh my thoughts against God’s Word every time and all the time, I believe I’m making progress. The arguments my husband and I have aren’t near as heated. We both seem to be able to talk more reasonably and rationally. Oh, we still get defensive, especially me. We still misunderstand the words the other has said, and get upset. But we are more able to work through them. We are both committed to having a loving, peaceful, happy marriage and home, and with God’s help, and applying these Principles to Live By, we will.

“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;” — II Corinthians 10:5

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