Cogitation By Philip North

This word is, for sure and definite, not one that the vast majority of humankind uses in the everyday vocabulary. Let us note Webster’s definitions of the various forms of the word: Cogitable means, “thinkable.” Cogitate means, “to think seriously; ponder; meditate; to think about; consider.” Cogitative means, “capable of thinking; tending to cogitate; thoughtful; meditative.” Finally, Cogitation means, “thought; meditation.” Then there is the past tense known as cogitated, and present action tense known as cogitating. Strong’s Analytical Concordance simply defines cogitation as that of “a mental perception.”

Cogitation is found only once in the KJV of God’s Word, and then, in the plural. Interesting here that the English translators would use this word only once. No other form of the word is found. In Daniel 7, this righteous prophet of God had a dream about four beasts. In verse 16, he begins to learn the interpretation of the dream, with each beast representing a particular king (verse 17). When this interpretation was completed, we find Daniel saying in verse 28, the last verse of the chapter, “Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenacne changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.” The words “Hitherto is the end” mean that Daniel has completed his relating of the story of his dream. The prophet then repeats what he said in verse 15, saying that what he saw in this dream (vision) “much troubled him. Still, he says that he was able to keep the matter in his heart.

There is not a single individual on earth, who, even after living a very short time, does not cogitate. The depths of this cogitation will differ according to the amount of knowledge, wisdom, and maturity by each individual. Cogitation, hence, is experienced by young children, as well as adults. Even those persons who are mentally challenged are able to cogitate up to a certain point. So, cogitating can be shallow, deep, or even reach down to one’s very soul and spirit! According to Webster, cogitation is a synonym to meditation, so this is should simplify what we are discussing here.

Since we all cogitate many times in our lives, the important question comes up: Upon what do we cogitate? We cannot help but cogitate on sad things from time to time, due to crime, death, and all forms of evil existing in this world troubling mankind. Certainly, 9-1-1 in 2001 brought about extremely sad cogitations for many people, as did the Oklahoma bombing in 1995, along with innumerable other things that have occurred in this world since sin came into the picture. Such will cause one to become sadden, thus, producing a long face.

After all, is not the Bible full of bad happenings? Indeed! They are recorded to make us think; stop in our tracks; jog our minds; yes, to get us to cogitate about how we should live our lives. Romans 15:4 says, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” This verse tells us that one form of cogitation would be to “reflect.” We sometime use the word “retrospect,” which constitutes thinking about something that has already taken place. Another way to phrase retrospect is “mentally looking back.”

While God would have us cogitate on learning lessons from those in the Bible who sinned against Him and suffered the consequences in doing so, He would also have us look at those righteous people cited in His Word, hence, pattern our minds and lives after them. Numerous time we are taught to “be not,” then it says to “but be.” While there are a lot of “thou shalt nots,” there are a lot of “thou shalts,” as well. What is more, others of the do’s and dont’s in God’s Holy Book teach us what to do and not do without using the “thou shalts” and the “thou shalt nots,” along with also not calling them by the “be nots” but “be’s.”

Psalm 1:1-3 is one of many places that teach us to practice the proper cogitations: “Blessed is the man what walketh not in the counsel of the ungldly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” You are what you think, because you do what you thind, as a general rule. Therefore, cogitating on God’s Word as much as possible will keep one’s mind from being x-rated, along with exercising the proper treatment of one’s fellowman, for that mind will be trained to desire the will of the Lord, not Satan. The first part of Proverbs 23; 7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Chapter 4:23 tells us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” What is thought in the mind is often manifested in the body, along with being spoken from the tongue. Jesus said virtually the same thing when he told his apostles in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” These things should not permit our minds to drift into this realm.

Concerning more of the wrong things on which to cogitate, Galatians 5:19-21 says, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrate, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul absolutely “spells it out” here concerning what results when one constantly cogitates on sinful things, for if anything sinful remains in one’s mind long enough, it will become a part of that individual’s life, or at the very least, will be committed one or more times. However, this is only one side of the coin.

One the coin’s other side, what will be the products of cogitating on the right things, which will often manifest in practicing them as well? In verses 22-23, we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” What we really cogitate on the most will greatly determine our eternal destiny, no doubt! Therefore, to a certain degree, we can control our cogitations. God would have us do so. We must seek His help in accomplishing this.

The jails, prisons, and courtrooms are filled with those who decided to cogitate on wrongdoing. That is why their freedoms, whether temporarily or for life, are forfeited. (Such a breed as this furnish the newscasters and news writers with lots of material for their broadcasts and page!) They did not wish to listen to reason, logic, and good sense. Like Ananias and Sapphira, they allowed Satan to fill their hearts (Acts 5:3). This husband and wife team permitted themselves to cogitate on the sin of lying, and that is what led them to lose it all, both physcially and eternally.

However, the case of Ananias and Sapphira is not even a drop in the bucket, compared to the number of times God’s Word records sins that were committed. Indeed, how big of a list we find in the Bible of those who were punished by God, especially the Israelite nation in one generation after another, because they had their hearts and minds set on evil cogitation! This leads the way for crimes and other forms of wronging humanity that are at times known as being “pre-meditated.” Planned! Conspired! Perpetrated! Schemed! Thought out in detail! Diabolically “cooked up,” as we sometimes say it. Somebody, somewhere, for some rason or excuse, decided to cogitate on living a sinful life, and such spiritual garbage as this causes others to suffer, along with the one(s) committing the sins(s). How many times we have heard the saying, “the victim is the last one to know!”

Life is more more rewarding, rich, and ripe when we cogitate on ways to help somebody or something, rather than hinder that person or cause. In Colossians 3:2, we are taught, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” While there are many opeople who would not cogitate solely or mainly on harming others, they harm themselves by cogitating solely or mainly on material things. Then, when this earthly life ceases, they are ushered into eternity without a Saviour. This happened because they cogitated on those things that will one day pass away, and thus, forever be no more.

Sexual lust is another form of sinful cogitating. While speaking His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-28, “Ye have heard it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her alreay in his heart.” While nobody can prevent Satan from placing such a thought in someone’s mind, (along with any other sinful thoughts, as to that), one does determine if that thought will dwell and grow there. James 1:14-15 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth for th sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Just because Satan drops a seed of sin into the mind, does not mean that this person has to allow his/her mind to freely cogitate on that proposed wrong, thus causing that seed to take root.

Reader, what are you and I cogitating upon while still existing in this physical life? Is it that which has to do with helping others, or that which is detrimental to them? Do we forgive those who sin against us, or do we plot revenge and/or hold grudges on them? Do we perenially cogitate on things CONstructive, or those DEstructrive? Is your cogitation divisive, , or of a bridging nature? Do you dwell on those things that will aid your soul’s eternal welfare, or stunt the situation? So many comparisons could be given here pertaining to the wrong and right cogitations. We ourselves are individually deciding the matter constantly, from the cradle to the grave.

May we all strive to cogitate on those things that Jehovah God approves of, so that Heaven will be our eternal abode at the end of this earthly life. This is precisely why it is of the umost importance to watch and guard the human mind.

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