Overcoming Vain Imaginations

by Cynthia Jennings on January 19, 2022 give several definitions for the following words. Vain: baseless (having no foundation) or worthless (of no use, importance or value). Imagination: forming mental images that are not actually present.

Strong’s Bible Concordance gives the following definition: Vain: lying or uselessness, emptiness. Holman Bible dictionary gives the following definition: Imagination: for thought as the prelude to action, frequently in the sense of plotting or devising evil; can also refer to as stubbornness from the Hebrew words “formed” or “twisted.”

 Vain imaginations are when we allow uncontrolled (baseless lying unreal twisted) thoughts to overpower our rational thinking in such a way that God is not promoted, but self is promoted.

Vain imaginations come through our thoughts and present all sorts of worst-case scenarios as well as fearful, worrisome and anxious pictures in our minds. The enemy wants to use your imagination to present to you, “What if?” and, “I should have …” scenarios hoping you will agree with the lie. Once you agree with the lie you will begin to believe it and act as if what the enemy has shown you in your imagination will really happen. Living in this state causes great emotional turmoil. Any trauma or emotional crisis in our past can be an access point for the enemy to plant imaginations in our minds if we don’t renew our minds with the Word of God. Unhealed pasts, including damaging and destructive memories, can cause an opening for the enemy to plant false images into our minds.

Vain imaginations start with a thought, and if you do not take that thought captive (2Corinthinas 10:5-6) immediately, that thought forms a mental picture in your mind. You then begin “seeing” your fears, anxieties and worries play over and over in your mind. Vain imaginations elicit terror, depression, discouragement, stress, anxiousness, worry and doubt–all of which originate from the enemy. If you choose to hold on to the image the enemy presents to you, it will create a lack of peace and emotional instability. For example, if you have a picture in your mind of someone you love dying and are plagued by fear surrounding the image, that is a vain imagination and needs to be cast down immediately and replaced with a scripture or two from the Word of God( 2Corinthinans 10:3-5; Proverbs 3:5).

Overcoming vain imaginations begins with asking yourself, “Is that thought or image from God?” If you don’t know, ask yourself, “Do I feel peace and can I find this in the Word of God?” If you answer no to these questions then do not agree with what the enemy is showing you, instead reject the lie immediately and find scripture to say and believe instead. You must do this as quickly as the image comes to your mind, otherwise, a stronghold will form in your mind concerning the false image and you will begin to act and think as if what you were shown is really going to happen.

 The enemy is a master of deception and can present to your thoughts and feelings that seem so real. A lot of the times when the enemy messes with our imagination he will use something from our past that really was traumatic or difficult for us and then tack that difficulty onto the lie. Many times, you fall for this level of deception because of the partial truth that is attached to the lie.

It’s also important that you’re careful who you are talking with. The enemy can use anyone to deliver his images to you. Guard your mind from negative reports on television, social media and other people.

Vain imaginations come to paralyze you and steal your peace. Peace comes as a by-product of time spent with God in His presence and allowing the Word of God to choke out the lies of the enemy(2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:27). Remember, a lot of times the images you receive from the enemy will seem real but if you’re grounded in God’s Word, you will recognize the deception immediately (James 4:7).

God loves and cares about us so much that He gave us a list of questions to ask ourselves about our thoughts. When thoughts pop into your mind ask yourself:

Is it…

  1. True: are your thoughts authentic, real and line up with God’s Word 
  2. Honest(noble):do your thoughts include unkind or repulsive thoughts
  3. Right(just): think right thoughts means allowing accuracy and appropriateness to guide us
  4. Pure: choose to think on biblical, ethical, good, upright and honest things
  5. Lovely: focus your mind on the beautiful and stunning things in life
  6. Good report (admirable): thoughts that are credible and distinguished and allow us to live in a way that is commendable
  7. Excellent: having superb exceptional thoughts that line up with God’ s Word
  8. Worthy of praise: Thoughts that are worthy of praise include God’s ways, His plan, His creation for His glory

Proverbs 21:2(ESV)-- Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.

Proverbs 21:2 (AMP)-- Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives].

PEARLStoPONDER: Two thoughts cannot occupy our minds at the same time. So, we must learn to discern where the thought originates from God or from the enemy and if the thoughts constructive or destructive. 

How do you deal effectively with vain imaginations?

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