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James’ advice to the Jews in his letter:  You want something but don’t get it.  You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.  You quarrel and fight.  You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.[1]

What makes a person want and ask in the first place?  Is it not their thoughts and imaginations that spring from their desires, hopes and dreams?  So whenever anyone asks for something, it is because he has thought to ask, and that asking is to satisfy a desire— desires, which are fuelled by the thoughts of the heart and mind and elaborated by imagination.  So then, in the application of imagination, you have to learn to control your imagination; a control, which in the context of God is not based on limiting the magnitude of your imagination, but rather the motive of your imagination and its purpose. 

To those who did not accept Jesus as the Christ, James wrote:  You ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures, as a way of admonishing them.  I say the letter of James is a letter to the Jews who have not accepted Jesus Christ’s testimony, because James wrote:  You adulterous people, don’t you know friendship with the world is hatred toward God?[2]  James was rebuking them for friendship with the world, whereas for anyone who has believed the testimony of Jesus Christ, we all know For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son… to save the world through Him.[3]  Can you see the confusion?  One moment Jesus said, “God so loved the world…” and then James wrote:  Friendship with the world (that God so loves) is hatred toward God.  Now, I can hear Greek and Hebrew experts quickly explaining that the “world” Jesus meant was the world God created, and the “world” James meant is the world system of man.  I am sure they are correct, and thankyou, after 2000 years they are around to explain this.  Pity the letter was written 1900 years ago before there were theologians and concordances to explain the two meanings of the word “world”.  And supposing you are just a person reading these two verses, would you not be confused?  Is God putting scriptures there to confuse us?  Or is it men who refuse to listen to Jesus, offering an opinion of their own again, adding fuel to the smoke screen of confusion?

If James was writing to Jews who believed in Jesus, then James 4:4 contradicts John 3:16, and at least confuses a non Greek-scholared reader.  The correct writing of James 4:4, if James was writing to Jewish disciples of Christ, would be:  Don’t you know that friendship with mammon is hatred towards God.  Now there is no confusion, for Jesus had said, “For God so loved the world…” and “You cannot serve both God and Money.  No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”[4]  No confusion, and even one who is ignorant of Greek scholarship would understand clearly.  Yet for all their scholarship, many still teach the letter of James as if James wrote it for the church.  Rather, he clearly addressed it:  To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.[5]  Compare this to Jesus when He wrote His letters:  “To the angel of the church…”[6] be it Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia or Laodicea. 

Having re-emphasised the point about James and his letter, we can learn from his advice to the non-believing Jews for ourselves when he wrote:  You ask with wrong motives.  Now, since you can only ask what you have thought about, or rather, you should only ask what you have given thought to, for indeed babblers ask and speak without thinking, but by now, you should be ones who know to be silent and listen with careful consideration, which is also thought to what you have heard, then the motive for asking is the motive behind the thought, and is the motive that gives rise to the imagination and the desire.  So, the right motive is not just at the asking stage, but the motive is the foundation of all your hopes, dreams and desires that fire your imaginations, which are translated into speech by your thoughts, and into actions by your flesh.

So then, we must learn to control the motive of our imaginations, which for those who know the scriptures and the power of God, have had the same imagination set free to a place where there is no limit.  There is no limit on the word of God except it is truth, and there is no limit on the power of God except it is real and not imagined.  Thus, the control of your imagination is not about tapering it to reasonable, achievable, rational, humanly possible levels, but rather, its control lies in the motivation behind your imagination.

Simply put, do you imagine great miracles, signs and wonders so that you may be famous and have a large ministry, or that you may look good in the eyes of the people, especially those who have hated you or mocked you?  Just like those unbelieving Jews, are you using your imagination for your pleasure and therefore asking for your pleasure and glory in His Name?  Are you preaching that you might be rewarded?  Are you praying that you might be answered?  Are you crying that you might be comforted?  Are you angry that you might be avenged?  And all that passes out of your mouth, even though it sounds right, holy and pious and it praises God, are you saying it, preaching it, praying it and declaring it for your own pleasures? 

Remember Jesus said, “These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.”[7]  And Jesus also said, “For from within, out of men’s hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”[8]  Alright, you love the Lord and you have a new heart, but remember, your heart has thoughts, not just your mind, and it can backslide so that all its inclinations are evil all the time.[9]

You see, what came out of Peter’s mouth when he said, “Never Lord!  This shall never happen to You!”[10] flowed out of a heart that loved his Teacher, and he cried out against what Jesus was saying as many of us would and can.  But the inclination of the thoughts of his heart was not that which God had in mind, but that of a man, even a man who loved Jesus.  So, you can love Jesus and that is to your credit, but that does not mean that your imaginations will not give rise to words expressing your thoughts that will make you just like Peter, a stumbling block to Jesus, because you have in your mind the things of men and not of God.

Many well-meaning lovers of Christ have applied some of the teachings of Jesus through the millenniums because they love and they want to obey.  However, because they have not been taught to listen and to consider carefully what they have heard from Jesus, but have been taught by men from James and Nicholas a mishmash of Old and New Covenant teachings that seem good, very few have ever been able to apply their imaginations, and therefore their subsequent thoughts, speech and actions with the correct motivation and purpose.

As an example, we all know the command to preach the Gospel, and multitudes have preached it.  Have you ever wondered what the motive of preaching the Gospel is?  What are the common reasons you are familiar with?  To win souls, to build the church and to bring sinners to repentance are some common ones.

However, why did Jesus command the disciples to preach the Gospel to all mankind, creatures and all creation?  You see, creatures have no soul; Creation as such did not sin although it is sin contaminated, and it cannot repent.  Yet Jesus didn’t just command the preaching of the Gospel to all sinners, but to all creation.[11]

Yes, the preaching of the Gospel saves souls, and enlarges the church, and brings sinners to repentance, but what was the reason Jesus had for us to preach the Gospel to all creation?  For the preaching of the Gospel does not only save souls, it also condemns those who have heard it and do not believe, for Jesus said, “but whoever does not believe stands condemned already.”[12]  Just as there are many who believe without repenting, so there are those who repent without believing.  It is not one or the other will do—it is both “Repent and believe the Good News!”[13]  So then, the belief comes after the repentance and salvation is conditional to repentance and faith. 

As such, as much of what we assume to be the motive for the preaching of the Gospel is not understood and correct, then all that flows from the imaginations, thoughts and words, even actions, are not correct and can be subject to rejection but for the grace of God.  For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword…[14] many would love to say, but see what it does:  it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, so that the preaching of the Gospel, the word of the Lord (that is, His bond), has little to do with saving souls as much as it is a weapon that can divide a man in half, exposing even his innermost part to judgement.  If that is the case, is not the purpose of the preaching of the Gospel for judgement, rather than just salvation?  For yes, those who believe will be saved, but those who do not believe are already condemned.

So then, what is the motive of the Lord in commanding the preaching of the Gospel to all creation, including all creatures and mankind?  It is certainly not so that religious men may build the church with its many ornate cathedrals to subjugate the population in a religion as mean as any pagan religion and just as bloody if not bloodier.  Read Matthew 24:14 and you will see the motive:  “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”[15]

The motive is so that the End will come, the end of this age, this age of religiosities, of nations rising against nations, wars, famines and pestilences, this age of men making up fanciful stories and theories about God and who and what He is—the end of the Age of Faith and the beginning of the Age of Knowledge when Christ Jesus will reign as Son of Man, and all men, all nations, will know that He is the Lord God Almighty Himself.  They will not have to believe, they will know.

The Gospel is preached so that all men who live in this Age of Faith, from Noah to now, may have the opportunity to exercise their God-given gift and choose to believe or not to believe that they may be of the generation that so believed, that they were more blessed than those who have seen and know.  A generation that would have a quality that Satan would never have—faithfulness.  For Satan was perfect in beauty, knowledge and wisdom.  A person whose knowledge is perfect has no faith, and since salvation is through faith by grace, there is no salvation for him, for you are not counted to have faith when you have seen.  As the book of Hebrews has it:  Now faith is being certain of what we do not see… and it is also sure of what we hope for.[16]

Hope can be a companion of imagination, even though some imagination has no hope.  Any imagination that is acceptable and pleasing to God must have hope because faith is being certain (sure) of what we hope for.  And since God is good, the hope that is acceptable must be towards good and not evil.

If then the motive of the preaching of the Gospel is so that it can be done to all nations so that the end can come, then we have missed the mark by tarrying in one nation only so that generations upon generations of that nation have received the Gospel and we have a so-called ‘Christian nation’.  The fact that many nations have laid claim to that term is proof that we never understood the real reason and motive for the preaching of the Gospel.  If you thought it was to save souls, build the church and bring sinners to repentance, then it is understandable why the current works of the church have plans to repeat what they are doing so that generations from now, they are still preaching the Gospel in the same nation to its children’s children.

When that is what you think the motive and reason for the preaching of the Gospel is, then your imagination will bring forth thoughts of denominational structures, with doctrinal statements governed by suitably pious men whose purpose in life is to perpetuate the work of their denomination, until it is the largest, most popular and most powerful in the city, country and world, and after that maybe we will think about the return of Christ, which really is an inconvenience that can tear asunder our plans for the next ten to twenty generations of our Christian nations!

Perhaps now you see the problem.  If we could not even fathom the motive behind the preaching of the Gospel to all creation until all nations have heard it so that the END CAN COME—no wonder we have prolonged this age of faith and ALL the brutalities and blasphemies that the faith of men can conjure up.

Now, having realised the motive for the preaching of the Gospel, so that not only will all individuals who hear it be judged, but all nations can be judged, some as sheep and others as goats.  For as surely as there is a judgement for individuals, so there is a judgement for all nations who exist in the time of the age of the preaching, that is, from the day Christ first preached, “Repent…” to the day He says, “Come up here,” to His witnesses.

It is clearly written:  “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in Heavenly glory,” that the nations of the last 2000 years will be judged.[17]  How many preachers teach that Matthew 25:31-32 is the Great White Throne Judgement of the last day,[18] is a sample of the error that exists because of the ignorance of the word of God and the power of God.  It is time you realise, if you do not yet realise, that it is the knowledge of the word of God that releases the power, and it is the knowledge of the power that reveals the word.  Jesus said, “You are in error because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God.”[19]  Ignorance of either leaves room for error.  It is when you have acquired expertise in both that error is eliminated, and where error does not exist, flawlessness, blamelessness and even perfection exist.  We train you in the word first and give you a sample of the power because the word is safer to handle than the power, just as a car manual is safer in the hands of a learner than a real car.  Is it any wonder you must practise His word first before the power is given to you to be His witness?  And while you are practising the word, the Holy Spirit will do the testifying by power, but once your practice of the word is complete, then the testifying by power will be also in your hands.

So then, the control of our imaginations, the limitation of our imagination, has nothing to do with scale, but rather, to do with motives.  Listen to David’s advice to Solomon:  “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.”[20]  The motive of all our thoughts, whether of the heart or the mind, you may say is to love God, correct, but of no practical use.  It is one thing to say that you love God, it is another to show your love by your actions, as the Lord said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”[21]

There must be an action to affirm that love, and action calls for thought, and thought calls for imagination.  Love can generate desires, but imagination gives substance to that desire in the form of thought that leads to a plan of action, which when fulfilled makes perfect the love.  God’s love was not just a thought, word or desire, but rather it also included the actual crucifixion of His Son.

So get away from the rhetoric that so many are addicted to, and go out into the fields and get your hands dirty, your sweat running and your heart racing.  Let us put our imagination to practical use as a perfecting of the love we profess, and having understood the motive for preaching the Gospel, let us imagine ways by which that glorious Gospel can be completed in all its preaching so that the END Himself can come, for He has declared, “I am the Beginning and the END.”[22]

Imagine the ways by which we can effect the preaching of this Gospel of the kingdom to all nations, so that the END will come to reign on Earth a thousand years.  When your imagination is properly harnessed and controlled by your motives, then you are ready to be shown the power of God that is released by imagination!


[1] James 4:2-3

[2] James 4:4

[3] John 3:16,17

[4] Matthew 6:24

[5] James 1:1

[6] Revelation 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14

[7] Matthew 15:8

[8] Mark 7:21-22

[9] Genesis 6:6

[10] Matthew 16:22

[11] Mark 16:15 [NIV/NASB/ESV – Creation; KJV/NKJV – creature; NLT – everyone]

[12] John 3:18

[13] Mark 1:15

[14] Hebrews 4:12

[15] Matthew 24:14

[16] Hebrews 11:1

[17] Matthew 25:31-32

[18] Revelation 20:11-13

[19] Matthew 22:29

[20] 1 Chronicles 28:9

[21] John 15:13

[22] Revelation 22:13

 

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