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Overcoming Vain Imaginations

Vain imaginations come through our minds 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 do not 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 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.

Overcoming vain imaginations begins with asking yourself, “Is that thought or image from God?” If you do not 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.

“Casting down imaginations and every high thought that exalts itself against the Kingdom of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5-6

 The enemy is a master of deception and can present to you 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.

I find that when I watch negative news reports or even read them, I can have difficulty with all kinds of pictures in my mind that are terrorizing. It is also important that you are 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, the internet 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. 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.

How do you deal effectively with vain imaginations?

About Stephanie Reck

Stephanie has a heart and passion to see broken lives restored and redeemed through Jesus Christ. She writes through her personal experiences and her educational and professional background. She has over 17 years experience in counseling, and has a Master's degree in Social Work, Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and is a Licensed Belief Therapist. Stephanie has been married for 16 years,and has one grown son. Stephanie's desire through her writings is to bring hope and encouragement to the body of Christ, that no matter what you have been though or going through, there is restoration and redemption through Jesus Christ.

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  1. This article is so good! I woke up this morning at 6am and my husband was not laying beside me. I immediately went into worry mode, false imaginations began to appear and o entertained them for 15 minutes. I was thinking, “What if he passed away downstairs?” I even imagined me calling his siblings, close friends flying in to be with me, having a neighbor come get my children, paramedics being here, etc… Sounds crazy, right?

    God showed me this is rooted in worry of losing him. We’re both in our early 30’s and I pray often that we will enjoy life and grow old together. Worry and fear really lied to me this morning. I had to repent for entertaining those thoughts.

    He was sleeping peacefully in our toddlers room. Our son gets up during the night and asks him to lay with him, lol.

    I am thankful I came across this article. You pretty much laid it all out, in depth. This was really good! God bless you!

  2. Thank you for this reminder. I am dealing with the aftereffects of an adulterous relationship and am working hard to rid myself of the stronghold of the imagined love and affection I had with this man. It is constant, tiring work to get him out of my mind and heart, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and replacing the thoughts with Scripture and time with God, I believe I will overcome this and climb out of this valley with Jesus at my side. I am so grateful for His mercy and His lovingkindness.

    • I understand what you are going through im not sure just yet why we do or why betrayal even as innocent children lets the adversary in.
      I feel like we will know soon enough. If i didnt have faith nothing would keep me alive. The love we will receive in the end will be worth it i think. I struggle w this but i feel its for a reason.. ill pray for you Sue, please do the same for me if you dont mind.

  3. Glory to God.!!

  4. Thank you for this word. I was truly blessed to have one across the article as I know it was God. I can’t how timely and relevant this is for me.

  5. Praise God for this article. You have no idea how strong my imagination is. Although it doesn’t necessarily center around irrational fears like mentioned in your article, it’s mostly because I grew up with autism and I could never really relate to reality or accept change too well. I decided to finally make a genuine lifelong commitment to Christ at the beginning of the year after years of just sitting in church and never really paying attention. There were times where I did attempt that but I never got anywhere with it. And for the first time in my life I’m starting to see just how hard the Christian life can be if you spend your whole life hearing sound doctrine over and over again, and you mix it up with all that outside stuff which isn’t really that important.

    • Sounds like my story almost to a tee. Now i see the word coming to life.
      the ‘boring ‘ bible when was a child was being forced on me ..so i fled from it…it now screams at me from my bedside every night, but im a big sinner that never got it until IT got me. And any unbeliever that grew up w me will just scoff at my words.
      Every hour of everyday is a fight. Definitely our own crosses to bear.
      Its not going to be easy for anyone. The only flawless one suffered so immensely how much worse will ours be?
      I think the outside life is important because w out all of this misery i
      would forget why the suffering is happening. I fear the fire but i understand w out it well fall prey to the enemy.

  6. I love this article it is a eye opener .I for years have had imaginations of different relationships in my life from family, marriage, success in career to just being someone else . Each images always have me in grief, sorrow, anger , fear and disappointment with tears . My death is also in most . I hurt a lot of days. I see more and more of these images are because of my traumas in being raised in a violent home with superficial love . I will admit because of all the hurt in my life and praying without seeing any permanent change in this matter I begin to doubt that it will ever happen for me . I really need peace . To all Please Pray for Me . Thank you. E.P

  7. Thank you, Stephanie for your comments. So encouraging was reading the comments of others. I was looking into the meaning of “vain terrors” cited in the diary of St Faustina (Diary entry 453), to whom Jesus appeared often, asking that she pass on his message of Divine Mercy, His goodness, love and hope. Ask yourself when feeling troubled, would God inflict any harm on you? No. The Evil One takes advantage of our troubled minds, and will do anything to turn you against God. We were given our free will by God to choose; He would not control us, rather asks that we trust in him. Remember how Jesus suffered and what he went through out of love for us and to bring us back to God and away from evil. In this diary entry, Jesus asks St Faustina, “Why are you fearful?” He goes on to say, “Most dear to Me is the soul that strongly believes in My goodness and has complete trust in Me. I heap My confidence upon it and give it all it asks.” When disturbing thoughts come to me that I know are from the Evil One, I put one wrist over the other to form a cross, indicating that I hold the cross of Jesus against evil, banishing the Evil One. I am telling evil to get back, go away. Trust in God and ask Him to lead you along the right path, because it is hard with our free will and we often go in the wrong direction. Trust, and seek God’s help in your journey. Remember too that in struggling we have growth. Hold tight to His hand. Let us ask for God’s peace in our troubled minds.

  8. I can now identify my crazy thoughts as “vain imaginations” and this helps me to turn to the Lord to put a HALT to my indulgences. It seems I continually get into arguments and contests of debate with real people and those I imagine – all in my mind. This had crept into my devotional time and I was perplexed as to why I am driven to play out scenarios and debates in my head – all day! I came across “vain imaginations” and am grateful to at least be able to identify it. 2 Corinthians 10:5 will be my “go to” scripture. Thank you!

  9. Benedict Chidebere Ugwuede

    I have several experiences of rising above human reproaches and vain imaginations in my life.
    Recently after losing a bank work and failing to see my wife deliver my dream third son, I find myself becoming subject to human reproaches and imaginations.
    What can I do to overcome this scenario and get restored in the grace of rising above human reproaches and vain imaginations?

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