Post by Stacey D. Wheeler
When my kids were young, ages six, four, and one, I met someone who spoke words of knowledge and life over me that changed me forever.
We were at a weekend conference in the Kansas City area, and I was standing in the middle of the main sanctuary when a nice-looking gentleman with such a gentle manner walked up to me after one of the services and asked if he could pray for me. He said, “My name is John Paul Jackson. Is it okay if I pray for you?” I had never met him before. I looked into his kind eyes.
He caught my attention, and I am always happy to receive prayer.
I said, “Yes.”
He prayed many things over me, but one part I’ve never forgotten is this one:
“You have a generational curse of condemnation on you. Put your hand on your belly button, and I’m going to pray for that curse to be broken.”
Well, I did what he asked and put my hand on my belly button. He prayed for me, but I didn’t feel any better or any worse. In actuality, I wasn’t really sure what he was talking about.
I didn’t know it then, but I was so deeply embedded with condemnation, shame, pride, and protecting my image that I was in nine kinds of pain and incredible spiritual denial. God sent John Paul Jackson to give me a name for my condition, and I will be eternally grateful that he did.
Unfortunately for many of us, we struggle with some kind of iniquity, a type of sin or stronghold in our family line that is stuck in our thought life, that we can’t overcome on our own. We need God’s help.
Later, as I became more in touch with my thoughts and feelings of condemnation and allowed God to soften my heart, I knew exactly what John Paul Jackson was talking about that day over twenty-six years ago when he took the time to speak words of life over me and pray for me.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Just as a reminder, this is a part of my story, but does not necessarily represent anyone else’s in my family, because most of my family DOES NOT struggle with shame. These spiritual matters and emotional matters are matters of the heart, and every person responds differently to life. I am saying that I struggled with shame, not pointing fingers at anyone else in my family.
I didn’t know it until years later, but John Paul Jackson was one of the premier prophets of the last 50 years. He is gone now, but, thankfully you can go online if you want to know who he is and still gain from his knowledge and wisdom through all of his videos and teachings. I’m fairly certain I will thank him myself when I get to heaven.
He might have saved my life that day, and I thank God for sending him to my side for those few minutes.
What John Paul Jackson gave me, through God’s grace, was a name for my problem: condemnation. It was knowledge that brought life-saving light and hope for me as a problem must be diagnosed before it can be healed.
Loosely defined, the word “condemnation” means “blame, disapproval, criticism, or to declare something is wrong.”
*For those of you who are unfamiliar with the gift of words of knowledge used by John Paul Jackson, please see the scripture at the end of this blog from I Corinthians 12:4-11.
Now I had understanding about why I was never at peace and rarely experienced true joy. I never felt good enough about anything I achieved. Any reward or victory was quickly overwhelmed again by a failure. Now I had a name for why I was constantly preoccupied in my mind with rehashing what I did wrong and what I had said or done the day before, while beating myself up for the small and big failures that would inevitably come up. Now I knew why I was always blaming myself for everything bad that happened and why I always thought others were blaming me, too. Now I knew that shame was trying to take over not just what I did but WHO I WAS. Now I understood better why I was always trying to protect how people viewed me and hoped they viewed me as perfect in order to stop this wedge of condemnation from ruining my reputation and my very life.
All of this condemnation naturally creates a distance from people as the greater the condemnation the greater the levels of protection: the walls must be higher and thicker and the distance greater and the image management more intense and well-managed.
God sent JPJ to me to help me diagnose my emotional enemy in preparation for the attack of the enemy on my life.
In my case, shame drove me straight into the arms of an eating disorder when I was in my teens, an addiction to food and purging that lasted for four years in the late 80s. God healed me, but that’s a story for another day.
When John Paul Jackson prayed for me, I had already overcome the symptoms of the eating disorder on the physical level, but I had not overcome all of the underlying reasons I had chosen one in the first place.
Shame has been my emotional pit, and, every once in a while in the past, depression tried to creep in to keep shame company, too, which is so common when you struggle for so long on such a deep level with one of these emotional pitfalls, like fear, anxiety, depression, anger, or shame.
I am thankful and grateful to say I have overcome condemnation and negativity in so many ways in my thought life and imagination. I do not live in shame like I used to. It does not dominate my life. I can declare I am free from the debilitation of shame. There is still residue, however, that will hit me at times.
A hardwired emotional iniquity like shame does not just naturally and completely fall away. But, thank God, I do not live in the pit of condemnation anymore! I can see the sunlight and joy in life now! I am being renewed day by day, and God gives me mercy and grace to overcome and have thoughts and feelings that are full of joy.
I want to talk about the role that imagination plays in overcoming hard-seated emotions and hard-wired iniquities like fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and shame. I can discuss these debilitating emotions because I’ve lived through some of them.
Our imagination can also hold the key to HOW we will achieve our dreams and destinies in life. If we picture and imagine and hold on to the promises God has given to us, if we increase our faith through holding on to his word and filling our hearts with his love and hope, we can partner in faith with what God is doing in our lives.
IMAGINATION: How you view your FUTURE.
The Oxford dictionary partially defines the word “imagination” this way:
“The faculty or action of forming new ideas. The ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful. The part of the mind that imagines things.”
I define it this way: “picturing your future.”
For me, my imagination “sees” pictures. Does yours? These are the images I’m addressing. Your future and your ability to “see” and create tomorrow and plan your life is your future self, and your imagination usually pictures what that will look like before it happens.
Maybe tonight you will imagine going grocery shopping tomorrow and picture yourself looking at the apples because you want to make apple pie. This is the part of your imagination I’m addressing.
What if I told you that it was your imagination holding you back from becoming free from your emotional pitfall and from achieving your dreams and goals?
When you live in shame, fear, depression, or anxiety, your imagination is full of emotional baggage and “drowned” in muck. It’s hard to have the energy to even begin to find your imagination. In my case, my thoughts were stuck on the past. A wise person once told me a powerful statement that helps me shift the gears of my mind out of the past: “The Wheel of Time only moves forward.”
In other words, with shame, the enemy wants me to focus on my failures, constantly beating myself up emotionally. The hard fact is that, me and you, we can’t change anything that happened in the past as we do not have any control over time. Like gravity, some aspects of life are out of our control: love, death, life, time, etc. Whether something happened 20 years ago, 5 years ago, last month, or 20 minutes ago, you cannot change it. EVER. BUT, you can seek God. You can ask him to help you and forgive you, and he promises he will do it!
But it’s there! And if you start every day determined to overcome your emotional pitfall, you can find victory and use it to break free. Through Christ, we have all been given victory over death!
It is so hard to create new things and “form new ideas” when you’re just struggling to live and breathe.
I use a swimming analogy for these pitfalls. When you’re in a good place where you’re not being hit by fear or shame, whatever your iniquity is, you’re breathing well and on “top of the water” or “out of the water.”
When you’re in a dark place and losing the battle, you’re fighting for your life–fighting not to be pulled under the water. We all know you can’t stay under water very long before you die in real life.
There are varying degrees of drowning in fear, shame, anxiety, and depression, but you get the analogy.
The Mental Health Drowning Scale from 1-5.
- I’m on the beach, throwing a beach ball, sinking my toes in the sand, and enjoying my family and the sun. In real life I can laugh, smile, work hard, play hard, and take care of my responsibilities with joy.
- I’m standing at the edge of the ocean, feeling the waves lapping at my feet, looking at the depth of the water and beginning to feel discouraged, being drawn to give in to allowing my thoughts to be preoccupied with what happened yesterday and blaming myself for it (in the case of shame) or filled with worry about what might happen tomorrow (in the case of fear and anxiety) or with how I am feeling I can’t make my life work and am in despair over it (depression). I can still take some time to throw a ball to my kids on the beach or drink some water, but my focus is being pulled out into the waves. In real life, I’m beginning to isolate myself in order to “figure out” these emotions without others knowing what’s happening.
- I’m treading in the water. I can’t feel the sand now as I’m too far out into the depths and there’s nothing but cold water below me. The waves are crashing on top of me and my arms and legs are tired. My thoughts are almost 100% in the dark pit of my fear or shame, anxiety or depression. I’m not communicating well in real life as my feelings have overtaken reality. I’m withdrawn and moody in real life. Maybe I’m taking days off of work or in bed as this battle is taking all my energy. I’m not eating well or sleeping well as my mind is troubled.
- I need help from people on the beach. I need a lifeguard to see me and drag me to shore. I’m in trouble in real life as I don’t want to live, but I’m trapped because I can’t tell anyone or they will think I’m a kook and not see me the same way anymore.
- I’m almost too tired to tread water anymore. I am tired of fighting this. Nobody can help me. I’m suicidal in real life. I’m planning my escape. Nobody can help me. I’m being tormented by this and I can’t live this way anymore. I desperately need help.
When we’re in a hard place mentally and emotionally and sinking, it’s really hard to imagine good things or pray or seek God or create new ideas about our future. This is why it’s so important to understand the role of our imaginations. As we have more knowledge about how our minds work alongside our spirits, we can begin to gain control of our minds and thus control our imagination.
Where does “imagination” happen? In our minds? In our hearts? In our souls? In our spirits? Maybe a little in each place?
The enemy of our souls knows that if he can fill our imaginations, meaning “thoughts about our future” with fear and doubt and shame, we will be much less likely to step into the unknown with courage and faith and confidence.
What are you thinking about, imagining will happen tomorrow? Is it a good thing? Do you see a beautiful day in your future, with a beautiful life surrounding you? Can you, so to speak, smell the roses of life around you and picture good things?
Romans 8:28 declares God is always working for our good if we’re his children: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
If your imagination is filled with concern, worry, shame, or fear, you have the power to refocus your active thoughts, meaning the present thoughts you have control over, and place new ones full of hope and encouragement into that “thought slot” instead.
Psalm 51:7 “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
I know you’re thinking, “It’s not that easy.” I know it’s not easy. Listen, I KNOW it’s not easy. But it’s right and righteous to have a thought life full of belief and trust in God and his will for your life. It’s right and righteous to know the nine fruits of the Spirit in your life! God will help you to take control and make the change.
Let’s take fear as an example: pretend you’ve been hit financially by COVID-19 and have a legitimate reason to be concerned about your bills.
Your thoughts might tend to be fearful and run down the emotional pitfalls of fear and shame and look something like this:
“We haven’t paid our mortgage this month yet because we don’t have enough money. How will we catch up? We won’t be able to pay it next month either. We’re going to lose our house. People will know we’re unstable financially. What will people think? They’ll think we’re the biggest fools on the planet. We’re going to lose everything.”
When you catch yourself with negative, panicky, fear-filled thoughts like this one, it is time for your spirit to take over your flesh. Notice when you’re worried about what OTHER PEOPLE will think, you’re probably in shame. When you’re afraid for yourself, you’re probably in FEAR. It is time for your heart to check your mind and say a big “STOP IT”!
Take EVERY THOUGHT captive and make it line up with what scripture says, as the living WORD of God is our manual for our thought life here on earth. I am not talking about a religious exercise. I am not being judgmental. I’m wanting you to find the level of freedom I’ve found! I’m just a beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. You can do this! One thought at time.
If making this change in your thought life doesn’t come naturally for you, the upfront work of rewiring your thought life and rededicating your mind to Christ’s thoughts might be an all-out battle in the beginning. It’ also very possible you inherited your emotional pitfall from one of your parents or grandparents. It’s the enemy’s favorite thing to hold a family back through generational iniquities. But remember what the Bible says? Jesus was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities.
Isaiah 53:5 is either true or it’s not:
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.”
When this verse declares “he was bruised for our iniquities,” it’s meaning Jesus was wounded and literally bruised to cover these sins and patterns in our thought life we can’t break that are usually generational: alcoholism, anger, fear, sexual sins, deceit (like Jacob got from Rebekah and Laban’s family line), shame, divorce, mental illness, depression, anxiety, and other disorders and problems.
A bruise is INTERNAL, meaning it’s on the inside of our lives, in our family line, our family tree. We are naturally bent, like a branch on a tree that gets bent when it’s young and then gets set that way, we can get set going in a wrong direction within our family tree.
Psalm 51:7 “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
When the flaming arrows of the enemy are aimed at your heart, use the shield of faith to declare the TRUTH. I am talking about SPIRITUAL WEAPONS now, weapons of warfare, the battle in your mind.
These drowning thoughts are a type of sin because Jesus already paid the price for our fears, shame, depression, anger, deceit, anxiety, overeating, sex addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, and other iniquities.
How will we fulfill the Great Commission to go into the world and preach the gospel if we haven’t found freedom and healing for ourselves?
I’m not judging. Not even close. If you desire like I do, to be totally free to walk out of the ashes of our lives and into the beauty, these are the questions we must ask.
Isn’t this a battle that’s worth fighting?
Looking at the example above: When you’re afraid you don’t have enough money to pay your bills and you’re going to lose your home, and you stay in that place of fear, you know what? You’re doing the work for the enemy. You’re actually using your imagination to “picture” your own downfall. As long as you keep accepting his prompts–the flaming arrows of the evil one–, he’ll keep feeding them to you!
The image in your mind spells doom for you if you allow those negative thoughts to stay.
The THOUGHTS we THINK lead to the FEELINGS we FEEL! Use your imagination to picture a great future filled with what God has personally promised YOU!
Once you’re aware of the power of your imagination, which is another word for faith in God when you are using it correctly as a Believer in Christ, you will be stunned how often you’re living in fear and anxiety.
Flip the narrative around in your mind!
I’m God’s daughter or God’s son. I’m an heir of Christ. I’m a daughter or son of the King, the very One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. God favors me and loves me. He can do more than I could EVER ASK or IMAGINE. He wants me to have all the good things (Romans 8:28). He wants to give me the desire of my heart (Psalm 20:4 and Psalm 37:4).
It’s the enemy who wants me to live in FEAR and DOUBT, but I REFUSE to allow him to capture my imagination and chain my faith in that pit in my mind.
When I’m aware I’m letting my imagination go down into that emotional pit of fear, depression, anxiety, shame, anger, whatever the emotion might be, I have a choice. I can say STOP IT, both to my own self and to the enemy and begin to learn a new thought habit, a new pattern.
I can actively put thoughts into my imagination, positive thoughts that come from the Bible, that I know God will back up for me. Instead of imagining myself losing my home, I might imagine something like the following:
I can see and imagine my bank account with $3,000 in it. How will the money come in? I don’t know, but God knows, and I will put my trust in him. I know God hears my prayers, and I don’t have to beg or continually repeat myself with God, because he heard me the first time. He will bring me the work I need to earn the money I need. I have faith in God alone. I put my trust in the one who opens doors and gates for me. He will provide my daily bread. I am picturing my mortgage paid, paying it online or writing the check. I am picturing the people who will come over to my home and eat at my table in the future, people I will have the opportunity to love and encourage. I’m picturing myself doing the business I’ve always wanted to do or the ministry I’ve always wanted to have. I am picturing myself with my family in my home as we live a blessed life full of favor. I’m staying in an attitude of gratitude. Thank you, thank you, God, that you take care of me. Thank you that you love me and provide for all of my needs before I ask. You gave manna to the Israelites for 40 years! Surely you will provide for my needs, too. I am your child, too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you have a stronghold in this area, meaning the enemy has either generationally caused you to think in these perverted (broken) ways because one of your parents might have modeled this way of thinking for you, or you have allowed your thoughts and imagination to dwell on the negative, you might need to recognize the chains on a deeper level in order to actively break them.
Memorize the scriptures that pertain to your brokenness in your imagination and thought life.
Place scripture, the TRUTH, around your home and life to keep your thoughts dwelling there.
Listen to worship music, sing, pray, and build an atmosphere of hope and joy in your home.
TAKE AUTHORITY OVER YOUR THOUGHT LIFE! Your thoughts lead to your emotions and will dictate your life, eventually.
Spend more time in worship, scripture reading, prayer, and community with others. Take communion to remember what Christ did for you on the cross when his body and blood were broken and poured out for you.
This is usually the pattern for my thought life in battling shame that I’ve had to break over and over until it doesn’t dictate my life anymore:
- I fail at something big or small.
- The enemy brings this failure to my mind or I just remember it for some reason.
- If I don’t stop these negative thoughts they begin to unravel and become harder to stop.
- I now almost instantly recognize the trap being set for me, and I don’t fall for it.
- I picture my white screen and say out loud, “Stop it! I’m not going there.”
- I think the opposite of whatever thought or feeling was planted in my mind and heart.
- I read scripture every morning and set my mind on Christ and what he did for me on the cross.
- I worship and pray and seek God and look for ways to serve my family and others.
- I watch for the flaming arrows I know the enemy likes to send my way, arrows full of shame.
- When I see them, I seek God and turn to God for help.
- I remind myself that the wheel of time only moves forward. What happened yesterday, a year ago, or one minute ago can never be changed, but I can instantly turn to God and hide in the rock and refuge he provides. He loves me always and forgives me every time.
- He has promised me a way out when I’m tempted to sin, and believing I’m a nothing or worthless or a failure is the biggest lie for me to believe from the enemy. At this point in my life, it is a sin for me to buy into those thoughts.
- I look for the way out and take it. God always provides for me. He will provide a way out for you, too.
CHECK YOUR THOUGHTS AT THE DOOR!
If you’re a Believer in Christ, you KNOW what? Three days after Christ died on the cross, the holy, life-changing, anointed, supernatural power of God and Christ and the Holy Spirit RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD! Dwell on that for a while if you’re in the midst of the battle.
Picture, imagine, Christ being crucified, the earth going dark, Jesus being dead and buried for three days. . . . AND THEN!
He ROSE UP, TOOK OFF THOSE DIRTY, SMELLY BURIAL CLOTHS, and WALKED OUT OF THAT GRAVE!
Death has no sting for us as believers, and neither does shame, fear, doubt, fear, worry, anger, depression, or anxiety!
You might say a miracle happened the day Jesus walked out of that tomb, wouldn’t you? If you believe that a miracle happened, believe it can happen for you here on earth, too. We already know that these chains will be broken off of us when we go to heaven. Hallellujah! That fact alone is more than enough to bring great rejoicing and shouting, but can we also build our faith to believe God wants us to be free here on earth as well?
I’m not saying it’s easy, in fact, I’m saying you’re entering into WWIII if you’re just beginning this fight for your thought life and imagination. It won’t happen overnight. Don’t give up. Stay in the battle and start to fight for your joy. It’s a battle that’s really already been won!
I’m also saying YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You have the Holy Spirit interceding for you. You have Jesus himself interceding for you, you have the Creator, God, watching over you, you have angels who will attend to you and help you if you ask. You have the WINNERS on your side, and you can take off those smelly, dirty, gross, negative grave clothes of fear and shame and anxiety and depression and ARISE into a new life, a new day.
Because what you imagine, you are most likely going to have in your life, if you stay there long enough. And if you allow negative thoughts in your mind they will lead to negative emotions that correlate with your thoughts, and then it becomes harder and harder to imagine any kind of beautiful life. Again, I have more compassion and, even, empathy for you than anyone!
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He’s not playing around. If you allow him to set up shop in your mind, he will. Tell him a firm no and change your thoughts! Change your habits to bring the presence of God into your life! Imagine the favor of God resting on you. Whatever works for you, but do something!
Get control of your thought life, your imagination, and you will watch your entire life change.
Replace the doubts with pictures of you thriving.
Replace the images of you failing with your eventual success.
Replace the condemnation, the feeling you will never be good enough, with a picture of God’s mercy and grace and forgiveness—and SUCCESS.
GET OUT YOUR STOP SIGN AND START USING IT.
No, thank you, Devil. I’m not going to beat myself up for two hours today because I forgot to take the coffee pot to my small group last night. You know what? I’m human. I’m not perfect, and I made a mistake. GET LOST, SATAN! I’m taking authority over you and over my thought life. You can pack up all your bags and all your little helpers of shame because you’re NOT WELCOME in my mind anymore. I will never be perfect, and I will make mistakes, but I have a God who tells me I can come into his presence anytime, into his throne of grace room anytime, and you will put a robe of righteousness and grace over my shoulders, and you know what, I’m your daughter. I can enter the throne room of my heavenly Father and worship and enjoy being in the presence of God. I’m going to picture EXACTLY THAT in my imagination today. I’m going before the Father’s throne, in his sanctuary, and asking him to cover my mind with his love and blood and help.
The prodigal son stood there while his father put a robe on him and a ring on his finger, not because he’d done ONE THING to deserve it, but because he was his son. This boy had NOTHING. Not one cent. He had done EVERYTHING WRONG. He spent all of his father’s money in pure foolishness and folly. He caroused and spent it all until he had nothing in front of him but the pods the pigs eat. He was LOW. Yet, his father wanted him. His father loved him. His father’s heart leaped for joy when he saw his SON walking down the road. He was probably crying tears of joy, rejoicing his son had returned home.
I’m a son or daughter of a King, too. He forgives me and loves me, too.
So, you’re not welcome in my imagination anymore, Satan! GET LOST. I’m inviting one person into my imagination and mind today, and that’s Jesus. He paid ALL THE COSTS for my sins and my mistakes, for yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s! IT’S ALL BEEN TAKEN CARE OF. IT’S ALL BEEN COVERED! So today I’m going to celebrate and praise God. I’m going to enter his courts with praise and shout to the Lord that I’m thankful! I’m forgiven! That’s the whole reason Jesus took the lashes and the sword in his side and had his hands and feet nailed to the cross. That’s the REASON HE DIED.
We don’t sacrifice lambs and pigeons and bulls anymore because JESUS is ENOUGH! HE ALONE COVERS MY SIN and FEAR and SHAME! HE ALONE COVERS ME! And I’ve invited him to come and heal me and cover me right now from these thoughts of fear, suicide, shame, doubt, depression, or anxiety, whatever you’re struggling to overcome.
When his blood ran on the ground that day, it covered me. When God looks at me, he sees his son Jesus.
So, you see, Satan, I’m sweeping this mind clean in his blood, the righteous blood of the only one who can do this job. The Holy Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and takes away my sins and my emotional bent to be depressed or fearful or in shame or anxiety, because he’s got this one.
If this way of doing battle is new to you, you might have to start by being victorious for 10 minutes. Set a clock and declare, until this alarm goes off, I’m focusing my imagination on Jesus. I’m going to picture the prodigal son coming home to his father. I’m picturing snow that covers the ground in beauty. I’m reading scripture and for these 10 minutes, I’m going to be intentionally thankful. Keep doing this every day, slowly expanding the amount of time until it becomes a habit!
Only the Lamb was able to open that scroll in Revelations, because he alone died for me. He forgives me and gives me grace, and today, I’m taking the grace! I’m taking the mercy! I’m admitting it and humbling myself and declaring that I need Jesus! I’m CHOOSING to fill my imagination with grace and with hope. I’m receiving God’s favor today. I’m the daughter of the King: because of Jesus.
If you know you’re in the fox hole and in the middle of this war and you want to accelerate your healing, set a meeting with someone to talk to them about it and ask them to pray for you. If we confess our sins to one another, God is faithful to forgive us and to set us free from all unrighteousness. Anyone who’s ever really struggled with these emotional pitfalls knows that the pit is unrighteous and ugly, it’s dark and rank. It will take you down if you dwell in it, but thank God we don’t have to stay there! Fill your imagination with light and hope and the picture of a good future.
Anyone struggling with the battle for your imagination and thought life, consider putting these into practice:
- Read scripture as early as possible in your day. I usually read at least a whole chapter of the Bible, usually more in the morning. I’ve meditated on a Bible chapter every day since 2003. It is my shield around my mind. I’m to the point where I can feel it protecting me. Don’t read it just to learn knowledge, read it to connect with Christ and ask him to put a hedge of protection over your thought life and imagination. Ask him to shield your heart and mind from the enemy. Build up your faith life. Ephesians 6:10-18 makes it clear we’re in a spiritual battle for our souls and for the lives of the unsaved as well. It also makes it clear we will have days where we are under attack! If we already know our propensity for iniquity or our emotional pitfall, we can just expect there will be days when the enemy shoots his fiery arrows at us, hitting us with all he’s got. We need the full armor of God to be in place in order to extinguish the arrows. We need the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD OF GOD. We must be in the word in order to have our truth and sword ready.
“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
- Ask a friend to pray for you. Confide in them and confess to them that you are struggling in this area. Scripture makes it clear we are to be in relationships with other Believers and be “one anothering”—parakaleo, living life together and exhorting and encouraging one another to seek God.
- Attend a church and be in community with other Believers, reading scripture together, worshiping together, and eating together.
- Humble yourself and ask God for help. Resist pride, which will keep you trapped in your emotional pit or iniquity.
- Begin using your imagination for what it was intended for, to picture a special future for your life and help build your faith for God’s good intentions and plans for you: Jeremiah 29:11.
- Read the story in Genesis of Jacob who spent 20 years overcoming his iniquity and propensity to deceive. (Remember both Rebekah, his mother, and Laban, his uncle, were deceivers, too.) He finally wrestled with the angel before being set free to cross over into the promises God had waiting for him as the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. His name was changed to Israel. God has a new name for you, too!
Blessings on your battle. Stay in the fight! Don’t let the enemy win! God is hearing your prayers!
Message me if you need someone in the pit with you. I’ll cover you in prayer and ask God to help you like he’s helped me.
I know I’ve made this all sound so easy to take control of your thought life and take back your imagination. I know it’s not easy. It’s a daily battle. I want to encourage you, though, that IT IS POSSIBLE!
*Among other gifts, God gave John Paul Jackson the gift of knowledge from I Corinthians 12:4-11, meaning he just “knows” certain facts about people that God shows him for the purpose of helping people overcome, like he did for me that day (he told me other things, too) and to be prepared for the good future God has for them.
I Corinthians 12:4-11
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
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