Vainglorious Imaginations

There are, perhaps, few things more precious than meeting someone who does not take the ‘seat of honor’, who does not clap for him/herself, who even, at times, shrouds his left hand from his right.

Have you known such a person? Aren’t they the loveliest? I’ve known a few and know a few now. What a gift!

Everyone leaks. Everyone’s heart drips out here and there, down their sleeves… Sometimes the pretty things fall out; sometimes, it’s the uglier things we try to keep hidden. But the Bible rightly tells us that all of these things — bad or good fruit, a gift of spirit or a lurking offense or a billowing worry — first slip into our minds and through our hearts.

Jesus likened the thoughts of our hearts to action (Matthew 5:28), and the apostle Paul tells us that “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Or how about this one:

Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.

Proverbs 16:3

And

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45

Well, as the Bible discloses, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed — even if it is hidden for a time.

Beginning Imaginations

The LORD saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually.

Genesis 6:5 [AMP]

What a verse! If you don’t have an Amplified Bible, I highly recommend that version. It can really detail a passage and make the leather shine.

This verse comes before the worldwide flood. The Lord, we are told, literally regrets that He has made humankind (and, as wickedness streaks through the world, I don’t blame Him). Can you even imagine? — It says that He saw that EVERY imagination was evil.

Truth be told, I wonder how near we are to a repeat of that day, as the world around us falls into further moral and spiritual decay…

But let’s ground this back to the individual level — what you and I can control.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…

2 Corinthians 10:5

Taking every thought captive has been a phrase oft on repeat for me:

Fear of tomorrow? Not when surrendered to Christ.

Bombastic thoughts of self? Not when in remembrance of Christ.

Doubt and unbelief? Not when wearing Christ’s righteousness.

This is every thought in submission.

But it was the specific word ‘imagination‘ that sparked my notice this time…

If you don’t know, I am a VERY imaginative girl, and that’s always been true as far back as I can remember.

As a girl, I used to stand in a clearing behind our mobile home, look up into the June-blue sky, and imagine Jacob’s ladder there — angels ascending and descending. I imagined how wonderful that would be to see…

As an adolescent, I used to imagine how I might die a martyr for someone else. Grisly, I know, but it seemed a worthwhile imagination…

As an adult, I write fiction. This gives my imagination far more credibility than it deserves, as I laugh and delight in my own hypothetical and speculative worlds…

But as a Christian, this imagination can get me in serious trouble! I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself mid-vainglory in some hypothetical and imaginative drama THAT HASN’T HAPPENED and WILL PROBABLY NEVER HAPPEN, congratulating myself on my own humility… or wisdom… or character. Even worse, the fact that it wasn’t until this year that I fully realized what was happening in those moments and that these thoughts — these silly imaginations of pseudo life-happenings — needed also to be taken captive, thrown down, and thrown out with the other rubbish of life.

For the imaginative sort, I have to admit that this isn’t the easiest task… but I have already found it well worth the doing. Daydreams are fun. They are. But they also tend to be vainglorious…

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

Proverbs 4:23

Dictionary Time

VAINGLORY: inordinate pride in oneself or one’s achievements; excessive vanity: his vainglory put the Republic at risk.

Beloved, blessed is the man who meditates day and night on God’s law, in Christ’s refuge, and in the Spirit’s comfort (Psalm 1)! Linger there and cast the other thoughts down with me…

Because the days are dark. You will need the good health of your spiritual heart and mind.

Peace in Christ,

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