The Bare Soul - October 7, 2012
Arresting Developments

II Corinthians 10:5 - 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. (KJV)

While going through emails, my four year-old grandson burst into my office and told me I was under arrest. Earlier this same morning he was commandeering a pirate ship that had just set sail. However, now he had moved to the other end of the law by telling me his name was now "officer." Imaginations of children are so endearing. They show us how they make sense out of their world by exploring how they fit in, putting on different roles much like we would change a shirt. While this type of behavior in an adolescent is sweet and tugs at our heart strings, how would we react to such behavior in a 34 year old? Where it is cute in a child, this would be embarrassing to behold in an adult if they truly believed their flights to fantasy like a child. If we use this analogy regarding our lead verse, it is quite easy to understand how the Lord wants us to mature to a point where we understand the mechanics of righteous imaginations.

Paul, in the context of chapter 10 of his second letter to the Corinthians was speaking to an immature church body. This young Gentile church had dealt with the problem of immorality in his first letter due much to Paul's rebuke and continued follow-up. However, there were some who still questioned his authority as an apostle. In chapter 10 through 12, he goes to great length to describe himself and his credentials and why he should be regarded as their spiritual father. In II Corinthians 10:5, he is describing the understanding of a mature saint of God and their ability to choose right from wrong and to war in the spirit accordingly. In a very real sense, Paul had become a spiritual enforcer for the kingdom of God upon this earth. The King James Version uses the word "imaginations" in this verse rather than the New American Standard's use of the word "speculations." Both words are appropriate. However, imaginations gives us a more vivid explanation of Paul's point of reference. Speaking to spiritually immature Christians, he was stating they should not be naive regarding the warfare that should be their spiritual heritage. Rather, that vain imaginations and speculations about what they believe is right and holy should be cast aside. Instead, they should grow up in Christ and allow His wisdom to lead and guide them, taking captive anything that would prevent them from being totally sold out to God.

Today, we are in great need of spiritual enforcers like Paul who would see the great need to war in the Spirit according to the wisdom of God. However, here is the main reason why this is not possible in so many church bodies in our contemporary western societies. We, like the Corinthians, have refused to reject our immorality, our passivity, and our subjectivity to sin. We have instead attempted to marry ourselves to both the world and to Christ. Paul tells us earlier in this second letter that light and darkness cannot mix---that they are incompatible (II Corinthians 6:14-18). Jesus Christ will not align Himself in our hearts and lives with the idols we have set up. Therefore, many of us do not know how to cast down our vain imaginations because we have instead embraced them. As James tells us this is an impossible arrangement that will only result in our growing enmity with God (James 4:4). Beloved, there is a place for godly vision which is diametric to worldly imagination. In order to obtain the former, we must let go of the latter.

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he wrote some sobering words regarding the vanity of childish imaginations and the necessity of godly vision. In I Corinthians 13:11 he states: "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things." In order to become spiritual enforcers for ourselves, our families, and our churches we must grow up and away from our compromise with this world. We must not fellowship with darkness but come into the light of Christ's wisdom. There is no other way to make hell tremble and heaven rejoice regarding the spiritual warfare which is the heritage of every child of God. Our gaze must be so transfixed on Christ as we take on His mind, taking every thought captive for the furthering of His kingdom. Our legacy is to enforce God's law and bring all offenses before the judge and let Him deal with them according to His will. However, to get to this place of maturity will take us choosing the light over the dark. We must forsake the compromised position, embracing the implacable stance of a stalwart soldier of the Lord. This is the great story that Christ desires to write in our lives, beloved. One not of worldly imagination but of godly wisdom born in the heart of the Almighty.

Heavenly Father, may we destroy vain imaginations by growing up in Your Son. May we acquire His wisdom as we forsake the things of this world and embrace His maturity in the beauty of His holiness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

 

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