“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;” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
This verse has been running through my mind a lot over the past week, with reason. I have felt myself slipping a bit, into an old emotional habit and it is not good! I am, to put it frankly, in sin…and not because I am doing anything “wrong” rather the enemy is somehow aware of present struggles, and before I know it, I am failing to resist exactly what this verse states. I pray daily to the Lord for a Christening of every thought and emotion in me.
Rather than sit and stew in these emotions I am doing my best to abide in the Lord. Talking things through with the only One who can truly guide me on how to overcome or work through struggles, as He would like. Along the way he is showing me to whom He prefers I reach out to, in order to receive wise counsel and prayer. This has helped but it doesn’t mean I’m completely devoid of the stress and heartache some of this causes, I just choose to give it to God. He then brings it to light again when I need to do something more.
The problem I’m having is due to the type of spiritual attack I’m under. Old wounds which God healed have been resurrected due to the sudden reappearance of my earthly father after 25 years. He desires to be part of my life after abandoning me twice in this lifetime, once at age 9 and again at 18. I forgave him and found complete peace over the lack of relationship, a long time ago. The timing of, and the way all this came to be, initially made me wonder if it isn’t the enemy; but I am well aware that God allows his snares in order to grow or test us. I certainly pray I’m combating whatever plans the enemy could have had through this as I instantly gave it to God, recognizing I could not make a decision without Him about any relationship.
At first, I didn’t want to see my dad but it was not for reasons one may think. (I’m not sharing the entire situation because it’s between me and the Lord, and it would take to long to explain.) However, my Father owns cattle on a thousand hills (Isaiah 50:7,10) and kept reiterating this truth to me when all of this began. I was very prayerful over allowing this man back into my life, especially considering all the work the Lord has done in order to bring peace over the emotional and psychological issues the abandonment caused. Oh, not to mention the stress I was already under between work, being in the middle of a divorce, dealing with ongoing family issues, and caretaking of my ailing, senior pet!
Why would God want me to open up this bag of emotions? I do not need a relationship with my earthly father, and quite frankly, I am not comfortable with it. Regardless, I am a child of God and as a child of God I am instructed to love with His heart, when I cannot give my own. God knows something about this situation I do not and most certainly there is something within me that still needs healing…However, this is not about me, it’s about God’s glory. He had shown me a few times in recent years that my dad is in ill health or possibly deceased; his ill health, in fact, was confirmed immediately by the person who brought us back together (his present wife, whom God arranged for me to meet at a CPR class in early February). Perhaps God wants my dad to have some peace over our relationship and to work some things out, prior to his passing.
What I want to do is throw a tantrum at the feet of my Abba Father and tell him, no, I don’t want to continue to spend time with him. Yet, I am led to pull my big girl panties up, pray His armor of protection around my very tender heart (trust me, my discernment is on high alert), and walk through the valley of death. The fact of the matter is, my dad knows he is dying and now I know it for certain. I no longer have to wonder if I will ever see him again. The hardest part, right now, is not being able to receive what my dad seems to have for me: love and excitement. I simply cannot. It seems to be partially God’s protection and partially self-preservation blocking me from receiving.
My dad calls all the time and normally asks to see me; he calls out of concern for my wellbeing (once because we had some terrible weather near where I live and he knew I was driving to work during it, another time because I hadn’t called him back after two attempts to reach me [I’m a busy person, he simply beat me to it the third try]). This is so very foreign to me; so very difficult for me to receive. Where was this caring man for the past 43 years? Honestly, it boils down to trust – there is none! God isn’t pushing me to trust my dad, he is telling me to just show up when I can, but not to let him push me into more than I am able to give. He expects when I show up, to do so in His love, grace and mercy…because God loves this man despite who he has been. (This, He says, is a lesson in relationships with men in general that I have to learn.)
Walking in His Thoughts
At the start of this post I mentioned sin I find myself slipping into. I opened with a very important verse from 2 Corinthians, which I will break down and then explain what I am battling. As I sit writing, I’m having to push away so much pain in my heart, firstly over shame of falling into a place I haven’t been in for a while because I have drawn so close to Him. I know without a doubt I am loved and wanted by my heavenly Father. Second, shedding light on what is in the dark is never easy. Third, I don’t want to give attention to how I feel because our emotions are fleeting and our hearts deceptive. I don’t want to breathe life into something that can’t be trusted.
“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;” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Because as it states in verse 3, ‘we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.’
Casting down imaginations – Fantasizing or projecting. This could be about the outcome of a situation or a person. Creating a false scenario or relationship, within which a person feels safe because they are controlling the environment. They are able to control how they feel and keep away things or people so they aren’t hurt or controlled by them. This could include relational, sexual or even professional/success related fantasizing.
This is often done in self-preservation and something I had perfected before recommitting my life to Christ. I began having this issue in childhood. The more stressful life around me was, the more I lived in an alternate place in my mind because I couldn’t or didn’t understand how to deal with what was coming against me. The enemy, unfortunately, got ahold of my mind pretty early in life and this issue continued into adulthood.
My confession is, at present, I find myself slipping into this place where I create scenarios that do not exist. In which, I place myself into a position of control. I break my own heart as this happens so I can only imagine what God is feeling, but I do know His grace and mercy cover me as long as I am repentant, which I am. I grovel at his feet asking him to please help me combat this; I hate it with my whole being! (I could really use prayer for God to completely cover my mind with the blood of the Lamb as I resist this. I’m falling to temptation and it’s scary!)
…every high thing that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God – thoughts which enter a person’s mind that go against the word of God such as harming oneself or another, thoughts that one is not worthy of love and acceptance, etc. Fowl thoughts against others or oneself, against Jesus or God. Such thoughts are not of the Lord, they are attacks of the enemy!
For weeks and weeks, I have been tormented (on and off) by thoughts that I am not worthy of love, that I am not lovable and that I am destined to be alone for the remainder of my life. The latter, I don’t care about – it doesn’t bother me much…i’d accepted that possibility long ago, before I ever got married. However, the former, are thoughts I combated in the past, before recommitting my life to Christ. This often triggers imaginations. Ironically – God has a ministry partner of mine on duty. He is feeding her messages for me. He keeps putting me on her heart with messages such as “You are loved with an everlasting love, Daughter of the King.”
…bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ; – (this is often made simpler and stated as ‘taking every thought captive’.) Our thought life is to be in alignment with the mind of Christ, projecting: love, peace, grace, mercy, patience and sanity. Merciful thoughts toward others and oneself. Thoughts that align with the Word of God, not the world at large.
Pastor Jill Anastasi Sparrow who co-pastors Integrity Church in Naples Florida with her husband Rob, put it this way, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3) The enemy’s tactic is to assault our mind with bad thoughts, because he loves to torment us & steal our peace. Keeping our mind fixed on God is the solution. The battle for our mind can be intense at times, but don’t give up. As we resist the devil he will flee. The Truth of God’s Word is greater than any lie and God’s Truth will flood us with unshakable peace.” (James 4:7, 2 Cor. 10:3-5)
Again, my struggle has been in keeping thoughts (temptations) at bay when they arise, taking my comfort in Christ and not the imaginations of my mind, out of fear. In other words: Not taking every thought captive and giving it to the Lord to defeat! There has also been a struggle with emotional/stress eating for about a month that I finally have victory over through the indwelling of Christ, and by fasting, prayer and rest.
My fervent prayer is that God will show me what I need to do in order to regain unity – mind, body and spirit. I don’t truly have it. I am walking in what I believe to be obedience to God and it’s just not comfortable, and that is okay! Jesus didn’t withhold the truth of our discomfort in this life with him, now did he? Perhaps, I might be able to let go of my heart enough to receive what he is offering. Or, maybe, just maybe, I am not supposed to allow this relationship to rekindle. What I do know is I can only handle this in small portions.
My dad’s latest call was about celebrating my upcoming birthday (the day after) by making me dinner and having a cake. He did not ask, he assumed this would be acceptable. I have yet to call him back in response. A brother in Christ to whom I felt led to seek wisdom on this topic and how I was receiving it, advised that I be honest about my feelings. My first instinct is not to hurt people’s feelings. But who might I actually be hurting? (Me. Both of us.) In the meantime, while waiting on God to provide complete clarity, I continue to pray in, through and over this situation, while walking in faith believing that God has things under control.
Thank you Abba for this. Thank you for your great love for me, for your constant protection but also your toughness with me. I am so grateful you have shown me what a true Father looks like and how one loves. I receive YOU fully into my very being, every hour of every day! Thank you for helping me to take this sin out of the dark and uncover it…yet, covering it with Your light so it can burn out and fade away once and for all. Forgive me Father, from the deepest place in my heart and mind for my transgression. I desperately need you Jesus…as I have prayed continually over the past couple of weeks – fill me up Lord, fill me up! I only need to be filled with you, your love, your abundant life. I need Your living waters to satisfy my desires and quench my fears. Pour into me, so I may pour into others! Thank you for the work you have already and continue to do in my heart and soul. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!