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Dear Partner,

2 Cor 10:4-5  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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. [Emphasis mine]

If we are going to experience permanent change that releases us from old bondages in our lives, we are going to have to learn how to CAST DOWN IMAGINATIONS, as described in the verse shown above. What are these imaginations? From Strong's Concordance we find that the Greek word translated "imaginations" in the King James bible is:

3053. logismos, log-is-mos'; from G3049; computation, i.e. (fig.) reasoning (conscience, conceit):--imagination, thought.

Imaginations are computations (or conclusions) based upon reasonings of the mind which have been empowered by emotions. One of the best descriptions of this process is observed in how elephants are trained to perform in a three-ring circus. Full grown elephants are massive in size and have tremendous strength. In order to get them to perform at the will of their puny human trainers, that training must begin when the elephants are very young and small in size.

The trainers pound a massive iron stake into the ground and attach a strong chain from the iron stake to a collar on the neck of the young elephant that is to be trained. Because the elephant is very young it does not yet have the strength to break the chain that binds it to the iron stake. The trainers begin marching the young elephant around the stake. No matter how badly the elephant wants to break free of its circuitous route around and around the iron stake, it eventually "concludes" based on its continual "experience" that it is "not possible" to walk further away from the center of the circle than the length of the chain that binds it to the iron stake.

This training may go on for years until finally the elephant "concludes" that there is simply no point in even trying to strain against the chain that binds it in order to break free. Now comes the amazing part. When the elephant becomes full grown, the chain is removed and the elephant is marched into one of the performing circles of the three-ring circus. Because of a lifetime of mental conditioning, the elephant continues to march around in the familiar circular pattern EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO LONGER A PHYSICAL CHAIN holding it there. In truth, the elephant is free from the old patterns that previously had it enslaved. There is no "physical" chain controlling the elephant, but there is an "imaginary" chain in the elephant's mind that is just as effective in controlling its actions.

This perfectly describes many of us when we are struggling against life-long patterns of destruction, even though in truth the new birth has made us free. Jesus said it like this:

John 8:34-36  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Man is born into this world with a nature to sin. Like the young elephant chained to the iron stake, our first experiences in this world tell us that we also have a chain that tethers us to sin even when it is not our desire to do so. The apostle Paul said it like this:

Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

All of human experience from the time of birth tells every person that there is something in them that draws them to sin, much like the young elephant was chained to the post and could not break free no matter how hard he tried. But the gospel is very clear. Once a person is born again, just like Jesus said, the new nature makes them free from sin. The chain is broken and man is no longer a slave to sin, but is free to serve God in righteousness and holiness. The apostle Paul said it this way:

Rom 6:15-18  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. BEING THEN MADE FREE FROM SIN, ye became the servants of righteousness. [Emphasis Mine]

In truth, the mature elephant no longer has a chain binding it to its old circular lifestyle. But if that chain still exists in the elephant's imagination, then its life-long patterns will not change. It is much the same with born again Christians. In truth, the new nature has set us free from sin and the life-long destructive patterns of the past. But if we still "see" ourselves as "bound" to those old destructive patterns of the past, we will not change. We have to CAST DOWN IMAGINATIONS, conclusions based on reasonings and experience and renew our minds with the truth of God's Word. No matter what it looks like, the truth is, the new birth has made us free. Let us all dare to strain against the "imaginary" chains that have kept us from breaking free.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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