Realize – Don’t Imagine
In a previous blog I wrote about our need to deal with and remove idols from our lives. I noted that idols were based on lies, that the results that are promised by idols cannot be delivered. They are lies and deception. I also mentioned that the Lord had revealed 4 types of idolatry to Ezekiel that the Israelites were involved in as recorded in the 8th chapter of the book of Ezekiel in the Bible. I looked at the first type, the image of jealousy. I want to now discuss the second form of idolatry from Ezekiel 8:
“So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall. Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, dig into the wall’; and when I dug into the wall, there was a door. And He said to me, ‘Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.’ So I went in and saw, and there – every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls. And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, “the Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.”’” Ezekiel 8: 7-12
I believe that the temple spoken of here in Ezekiel symbolically refers to our inner mind and hearts since we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. The physical images that were drawn on the walls of the room are also symbolic. I believe that the Lord has a warning and guidance for us today from this revelation to Ezekiel.
It is important to notice that the activities of these elders were done secretly, in this inner room, and in the dark. So too our inner thoughts and feelings are not visible to the rest of the world. We think that no one knows our secret thoughts, and sometimes we don’t even admit them to ourselves. It is important that we are honest with ourselves and recognize our true desires and inner thought habits. We also, like these elders in Ezekiel, can think that the Lord doesn’t know or has abandoned us, but this isn’t the case, just like it wasn’t the case for the elders. The Lord knows our inner secrets and in time they become apparent to others also. The Holy Spirit works to bring our secret issues to light so that we can deal with them. My experience is that He will first try to deal with them one on one, trying to convince us to act on them. Then He will expose them to one other person who attempts to deal with us under the direction of the Spirit. If this fails, He will expose us to many people and we are faced with the shame of this exposure, as well as a much harder situation to deal with.
Ultimately, we should realize that every secret thought or word spoken in secret will be exposed to all. Jesus said this:
“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Luke 12:1-3
In the King James Version, verse 12 says it like this:
“Then said he unto me, ‘Son of Man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery?’”
One of the definitions of the word “imagery” in the Webster’s dictionary is “mental images, especially the products of imagination”. I feel strongly that there is a warning here that we need to guard against allowing our imaginations to create a false reality that then becomes the focus of our attention and desires. Our minds are very good at creating false scenarios of what we think the future will be like. Sometimes these imaginations cause anxiety and fretting resulting in stress and mental depression. Our imaginations can also be fed by envy, jealousy and covetousness, which are the root of the manifestation of sins such as adultery, stealing, lying, cheating, or even murder.
“Put to death what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.” James 1:14-15
We must recognize that our strong desires for things in this world become idols to us, much like the images in the inner room for the elders in the house of Israel, and these desires are fed by our imagination. In contrast, faith directs us to make the truths that have been revealed in the Bible a reality in our hearts and minds. We are accustomed to creating mental images of things we want and then focusing our desires on these things – this is the way of the world. The way of faith requires that we pull down or remove all of these mental images, that we pull down our idols and replace them with the truths of the Scriptures. Our future strong desires should be directed towards heaven and the hope that we have in Christ Jesus.
“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Romans 12:2
We must change the way that we think. We must change the mental habits that we have practiced throughout our entire lives. Rather than building up our imaginations, we should instead convince ourselves of the reality of the truths from God’s word. Wash yourself in the Word. Immerse your mind in the truths of God’s present involvement in our lives, such as His protection and guidance, as well as the future hopes that He has promised to us through Jesus.
I recently saw a documentary about a magician who spent much of his later life exposing fakes and charlatans who were deceiving the public, like false psychics and false healers. Some of these psychics were even endorsed by scientific studies conducted at renowned universities such as Stanford U., but he exposed them as false regardless. I found it interesting that he admitted that since he was a magician, he was also a liar and deceiver, but he felt that it was okay because he openly admitted his lies and only used them for entertainment. He also said that it took a good liar to expose these public liars, and that no matter how smart or knowledgeable you think you are, you can and will be easily deceived.
My point is that there are many liars in the public who twist the truth and deceive people purposely for their gain. For some reason, just like the crowd watching the magician, the public wants to believe the lies, and the liars know how to take advantage of telling the people what they want to hear and can easily manipulate and deceive.
We must realize that Satan is the best liar and deceiver and that most of what we see in the world is a lie. Satan wants to feed our imaginations with false hopes and lies about the future. These are all distractions from the truth. Also, if we set our hearts and attention upon them, they are an abomination to the Lord.
The world promotes the use of our imagination through positive thinking or visualization. The claim is that if we believe it, then it will happen, or if we envision it, then it will come about just as we envisioned, or if we confess it with our mouths, then there is some power that will make it come about. The new agers say there are some vibrations that come from this positive energy that causes positive to attract positive. This is all lies and a trap to ensnare us and keep our attention away from the truth.
“Keep your heart (or guard your mind) with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” Proverbs 4:23
Our life is directly related to the way that we think. Faith is a way of thinking. It is different than the way that the world thinks. The world’s way of “believing” is not faith, but rather promotes idolatry. Purge out the evil imaginations that have made their way into the inner chamber of your mind. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you. The result will be freedom and victory. It will be a beautiful thing.
“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?’ For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11: 33-36