There are at least three main areas of weakness in each of us. In Num 15:39, we see two of these areas, our eyes, and our heart. In Ps 7:9 we see the other one, our reins. Our perception is the potential weakness with our eyes. Our imagination is the potential weakness with our hearts. And our emotion is the potential weakness with our reins.
I’m going to discuss our perceptions, our imaginations, and our emotions in this message so that we have a better understanding of their weaknesses. And then discuss three safeguards against these weaknesses. The three areas of weakness are:
Your Perception – The principal source of your perception is your eye. You’ve heard people say “That’s how I see it.” Or they’ll say, “That’s how you see it, but I don’t see it that way.” When people say, about your understanding of doctrine, “That’s just your interpretation,” they mean, that’s your perception. “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,” 2 Pet 1:20.
Sometimes, you’ll get something wrong and then you’ll say, “Well, that’s the way it looked to me.” Eve saw the tree that it was good. It wasn’t. The Pharisees saw Jesus and they saw a devil. He wasn’t. The ten spies who were afraid to enter Canaan said that there were giants in there “and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,” Num 13:33. They weren’t.
Perceptions are also formed by what you hear. When your ear is affected you might say, “It sounded to me like he was mad.” In Col 2:4, men can beguile you with enticing words. They deceive with good words and fair speeches. Scammers do that with calls to your phone. The Bible mentions. The “way that seemed right.” It’s not; the end thereof is death. When Solomon said, “Let not your heart envy sinners… for surely there is an end,” Prov 23:17-18, he was telling us that what looks or sounds good now is not going to turn out good in the end.
Your Imagination – The principle area of your imagination is your heart, Gen 6:5; 8:21. Their imagination was only evil from their youth. Your heart is where you imagine something. Imagination is often even fantasy. The way you imagine a thing may not be how it really is. Naaman said, “Behold, I thought.” He had it all wrong. Paul wrote about the strongholds of our imagination. The disciples awoke the Lord saying, “Lord, save us: we perish,” Matt 8:25. That wasn’t true, but that’s the way they imagined it. Hitler imagined that the Third Reich would last 1,000 years; it lasted a little over 12.
Your Emotion – The principle area of your emotions is your reins. The reins are different than the heart. Ps 7:9 says, “the righteous God tries the hearts and reins.” Ps 26:2 says, “try my reins and my heart.” By definition, your reins are your kidneys. Do you know what glands lie atop your kidneys? Your adrenal glands. Grief and depression affect your organs like your heart and lungs. Ps 73:21 says, “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.” Fear affects your kidneys; adrenaline gets flowing and your bladder is affected.
People have said things like, “That scared the pee willy out of me.” Worry, anxiety, and nervousness can affect your stomach. Some have butterflies in their stomach. Some have a nervous stomach. Some have ulcers. People say, “My gut instinct… my gut tells me.” You feel it. When adrenaline kicks in at night when you’re trying to sleep, you’re usually stressed and worried. Anger gets the adrenaline flowing. Happiness and joy reside in the reins. Prov 23:16 says, “my reins shall rejoice when thy lips speak right things.”
We say, “That’s how you feel about it.” “How could something that feels so right be so wrong.” The feeling of infatuation is not love. That “love” is blind. Men have said, “I feel like she is the one.” You’ve heard people say, “I don’t have a good feeling about this.” Women have told their friends who fell like they’re in love, “Just follow your heart.” Don’t. Your heart is deceitful above all things.
Here are three safeguards:
God’s words – When your perception, imagination, and emotions are affected, get in the words of God. That way, no matter how you feel about it, what you think about it, or how it looks to you, God will let you know how it really is. God’s words are true, plain, and right, Prov 8:7-9. You must believe Him. He said of the spies, “how long will it before they believe Me,” Num 14:11. He told the disciples, “O you of little faith,” Matt 8:26. In other words, if you had believed Me you wouldn’t have panicked. It’s not enough to read the Bible; you must believe what God said.
Godly counsel – Go to someone godly who is not emotionally involved but who knows and who cares. They can show you that “this is not what you think it is, at all.” They have an objective, rational view. Solomon said, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways,” Prov 23:26. Paul said that we cast down imaginations with the weapons of warfare, 2 Cor 10:5. One of those weapons is godly counsel.
Good prayer – Sort it out with God. Paul sorted things out with God on the ship and the Lord spoke to him, “Fear not Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given you all them that sail with you,” Acts 27:24. And then look at what Paul said. “I believe God,” Acts 27:25. It may take you several days to work something out in prayer. God probably wants you to do business with Him in another area of your life. Stay with it. God said “My thoughts, not your thoughts,” Is 55:8. You need His thoughts on the matter, not yours.
Conclusion: Remember that when you’re dealing with something that affects your perception, your imagination, your emotion, you are very open to a potential weakness. Seek God’s words, godly counsel, and good prayer.