This is the third in the trilogy of posts on “blind things.”
What an Imagination!
I love the Anne of Green Gables books. Anne (with an e) Shirley was constantly inspired to discover things that provided ‘scope for the imagination.’ And what an imagination she had! Sometimes her imagination comforted her, sometimes it motivated her, but sometimes it got her into big trouble.
The problem with having a good imagination is that you can let your thoughts blindly run away in a direction that does not please God. Blind thought are not biblically sound and can get us in trouble just as they did our famous fictional heroine.
Our children used to demonstrate wild imaginations when they were young and we were training them to work hard and obey us. We’d tell the five of them to spend the afternoon raking up the back yard. Their father would emphasize that the job had to be done before they could eat supper. Bottom line: they had to work together and finish the job in the time allotted. As they grabbed the rakes and leaf bags the questions would begin. “What if a tornado comes and blows us all away and we can’t finish?” (No excuses. You have to finish no matter what.) What if it gets dark before we’re done? (Work faster.) What if a pack of wild dogs runs into the yard and messes up all our piles of leaves so we can’t get done on time? (Don’t let wild dogs into the yard.) “What if I get so many blisters that my hands swell up and fall off…twice?” (Wear gloves.)
My Thoughts or God’s Thoughts?
I have to confess that at times my thoughts have also mounted the horse of ‘what ifs’ and galloped off into wild possibilities without first stopping to ask God to direct me or give me wisdom. Instead of praying we panic; instead of asking questions we assume the worst.
Don’t we do this sometimes when we have an illness? We convince ourselves that we have a serious illness when we haven’t even been to the doctor yet to have things checked out. Our thoughts run away with us and a common cold becomes a fatal illness in our minds.
When we are separated from loved ones, either by distance or by death, we can fixate on what we have lost and ignore our daily duties. We can long for things to be different, for our loved ones to be near us, so that we do not focus on reality. We need to remind ourselves that we can grieve, but not as those who have no hope.
After our circumstances are altered – job change, move to a new town, a friend who turns her back on us, a long term illness – we can be tempted to relive the past , looking longingly back like Lot’s wife, so that we miss today’s blessings. By God’s grace we need to focus on all that we do have, not on the things which have been removed.
Take Every Thought Captive
2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us we are to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” We also train our minds to meditate on proper and godly thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9 ) “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
A good imagination under God’s control is a good thing, but blind thoughts can take us to a place where we do not honor the Lord. With God’s help we can set aside blind thoughts and allow the Holy Spirit to shape our thinking so that it glorifies God.