We’re in a battle and we have to cast down imaginations and whatever is not according to the word of God.
II Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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;
We have a choice about what we do with our thoughts and imaginations. Imaginations are thoughts that may or may not be true, speculations, ideas, feelings, opinions. The scripture doesn’t say to meditate on all our thoughts, but to cast down whatever is against God. To keep our soul, we must love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). Worry and fear are from the devil, but we have perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3) by casting down our thoughts of fear.
Eve’s first problem was having a conversation with the devil. She started reasoning in her mind about what he said. The devil got her to have a wrong desire by making sin look attractive. The more you think about what the devil brings to mind, the more the desire gets in your heart. We need to cast down thoughts we see are from the devil and replace them with a song, scripture, or something else. Eve’s thoughts showed what she wanted to do. When a lustful (strong desire to have something) thought comes and you cast it down, it comes again and you cast it down, but it comes again so you think about it a while, the next time you think about it longer and you’ll end up doing it. God is concerned about what we think about. The devil overcomes us in our mind before we backslide. It‘s important to be saved and sanctified so we can cast down evil thoughts.
Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent…said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said…We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said…Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know…the day ye eat…your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Joseph was a prosperous slave because God was with him. You can endure anything when the Lord is with you. Potiphar saw the Lord was with Joseph because of what he said and how he acted. He saw Joseph’s good attitude. Joseph didn’t have the old or New Testament but knew adultery was a sin against God. When thoughts come to our mind and we realize they’re against God and wicked, we need to cast them down. Joseph went to prison because he refused to sin against God.
Genesis 39:1-9 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar…And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man…And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand…and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and…the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake…And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand…And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. And…his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph…said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master…hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
The first thing that happened to those Paul wrote to was they weren’t thankful. We’ll be ground for the enemy to take over if we get unthankful and feel sorry for ourselves, then the world will look better to us than God’s way. We have to guard our thoughts. Is our heart thankful whatever our circumstances are? We’ll become vain or foolish if we aren’t thankful.
Romans 1:21-22 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
God “led” the people in the wilderness 40 years to humble them, to prove them, to know what was in their heart, and to see if they would serve God. God promised he wouldn’t forsake them if they obeyed him (Deuteronomy 4:29-31). God said to remember how God led them out of Egypt into the wilderness and provided for them. Do you remember how God has helped you? God wants us to know we don’t live by the things of the world but by the word of God.
Deuteronomy 8:2-4 And thou shalt remember all the way…God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
God led the Israelites into Canaan where they lacked nothing. When we’re sanctified (spiritual land of promise), God gives everything we need to stay saved. We need to be careful to not forget God and become unthankful when we’re full and prospering. We can’t depend on our circumstances, our strength, or anything else – only on God.
Deuteronomy 8:5-14 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so…God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water…A land of wheat, and barley, and vine…and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing…When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord…in not keeping his commandments…Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses…and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out…of bondage;
We go through tests and trials. If we get lifted up, thinking we did everything to bring our prosperity, we’ll serve other gods.
Deuteronomy 8:16-20 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord…is he that giveth thee power to get wealth…And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them…ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth…so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.
Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and took children to Babylon to educate them. Daniel and 3 friends determined they wouldn’t be defiled by eating the king’s meat that came from idol worship. They were 15-16 years old, their parents weren’t there but they determined to not be defiled. The eunuch said other Israelite children would look better who ate the king’s meat. God blessed Daniel and his 3 friends who looked better than the others and had 10 times more understanding than Egyptian wise men. We have to determine that we’re not going to be defiled by thoughts the enemy brings to us.
Daniel 1:8-20 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine…he requested…that he might not defile himself…prince of the eunuchs said…I fear my lord the king…for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head…Then said Daniel…Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. …he consented…at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat…these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom…king communed with them…found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah…found them ten times better than all…
The devil never tells the truth. Don’t believe whatever you think, but look at it by God’s word. We have to guard our mind. Like a computer, if we let garbage in, we’ll have garbage out. If you think it long enough, it’ll be in your heart and actions.
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil…He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Daniel prayed 3 times a day. The king decreed to not ask anyone beside the king for anything or they’d go to the lions’ den. Daniel went home and prayed. He went to the lions’ den willingly. When he came out, the king decreed that men should fear Daniel’s God, the living God. What you meditate grows a desire in your heart. Being unthankful will cause bad things to grow. Our mind needs renewed daily, meditating on God and on his way.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)