Vain Imaginations

Vain Imaginations: What Do You Mean?

Nathan Smith Bible, Christian Maturity

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Anticipation is a curious thing.  It has so many values in so many places in society.  You can make a lot of money if you can anticipate what certain markets or trends are going to do.  You can be very successful in athletics if you can rightly anticipate what the other player is going to do and position yourself to get an advantage.  But the other side of anticipation can lead to some very problematic behaviors.  It shows up most often when we think we know what another person is thinking.  We can ‘anticipate’ how a person is going to react to certain things or what their intentions are without ever having an honest conversation with them. This leads to something often referred to in Christian circles as ‘vain imaginations.’  Basically, it is anticipation gone wrong and it can be very hurtful if we don’t bring it into check. Can you see where this is going?

Essentially, vain imaginations are thoughts we have about ourselves or others that are not based in reality but based on our flawed expectations, fears or defenses.  It is another outcropping of the power fear can have in a person’s life when not submitted to the Holy Spirit. We think we know what another person’s thoughts or intentions are so we respond either internally or externally with a controlling or cutting attitude.  However, since nothing is in the light, this fantasy world of ideas and emotions just steeps and stirs into a cesspool of attitude and self-righteousness that cannot be dealt with because it is hidden under the surface.  When we finally express and reveal our ‘superior understanding’ the other person can become defensive which only gives you further proof that you were right all along… In other words, it destroys true fellowship.  Vain imaginations are a silent killer and it almost destroyed God’s chosen people the moment they finally moved into the promised land. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Adam, Eve and the Internet’)

Misunderstanding of Biblical Proportion

In Joshua chapter 22 we read the story of the 12 tribes of Israel being allotted their territories in the newly entered Promised Land. Two and a half of the tribes asked to have their allotment of land on the East side of the Jordan river.  The expectations of the community at large, as I understand it, were that they would all settle on the west side of the river but Moses had made allowance for the two and a half tribes to do this once they had fulfilled their duties to the entire community.  Once everyone settled in place these tribes on the East side erected an altar.  When the rest of the community heard about this they prepared for war.  No conversations, no asking questions… after having journeyed together so long the 9 1/2 tribes are ready to attack and destroy the 2 1/2 on the other side of the river because they THINK they know what those guys are up to.  They are certain that these ‘rogue brothers’ of theirs are already breaking the rules and are about to start their own new system of worship instead of coming across the river and worshiping the way the entire community is expected to.  The problem is, that wasn’t even in their mind at the time… but no one bothered to ask before assembling the army to go destroy them. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘You Worship What You Fear’)

Thankfully, when the armies arrive they have a quick conversation before killing each other.  Turns out, those ‘rogue brothers’ on the east side of the river built the altar to remind them of their connection and covenant with their brothers on the other side of the river.  It wasn’t to divide them, it was to constantly remind them of how important unity was to them!  And this is what vain imaginations do… they create false circumstances for false accusations to lead to unnecessary ‘blood baths’.  If it can happen to God’s Chosen people, days into receiving a centuries old promise, it can happen to you and me in the blink of an eye.  It is just one more tool of the devil to try to steal, kill and destroy and I don’t want to see it affect you or me anymore. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Mind The Gap’)

I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means

Believing the best about another person can be a chore sometime.  The more we’ve been ‘burned’ or the more negative experiences we’ve had in certain relationships, the easier it can be to try and ‘anticipate’ what horrible thing that person is up to this time.  The problem is that it never allows for people to grow and change and it never allows you to have peace in your own heart in the process.  Could someone be up to something destructive that may cause you pain?  Yes.  But remember, your Defender is strong and ‘never does He sleep nor slumber’, the Psalmist says.  The constant peace and rest you will enjoy in your spirit outweighs the one or two times you may rightly discern someone’s evil thoughts. Be patient, ask questions and choose to trust the God who absolutely knows the hearts and thoughts of people.  He is for you today and so am I.  (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Carrying The Kingdom’)

From The Bible

Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God. – I Corinthians 8:2 NIV

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… – 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools… – Romans 1:21 ESV

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