2 Corinthians 10:4-5, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds:) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
It is interesting to note that when the apostle Paul talks about spiritual warfare the first weapon he mentions is casting down imaginations. What are imaginations? Webster's New World Dictionary includes in the definition, "The act or power of forming mental images of what is not actually present." Also, "The act or power of creating mental images of what has never been actually experienced." Therefore imaginations are unreal and dreamed up. They have not been actually experienced. The truth is that most imaginations are lies.
Almost every mention of imagination in the Bible has a negative connotation. Before the flood God saw that "every imagination of the thoughts of his (man's) heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). Also the Lord declared that -The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:20. One of the seven things that are an abomination to the Lord is "an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations" (Proverbs 6:18). Paul also wrote about ungodly men who "became vain in their imaginations," Roman 1:21). No wonder Paul wrote to "cast down imaginations."
Imaginations can cause wars. When the children of Israel were about to occupy the promised land, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh desired to possess land east of the Jordan River. Joshua permitted this on the condition that these 21/2 tribes would cross over Jordan and help the other 91/2 tribes drive out the inhabitants of the land west of Jordan. After fulfilling this charge Joshua permitted them to return to their families east of Jordan. When they came to the borders of Jordan these 2 1/2 tribes built an altar. When the other tribes heard of it they decided to go to war against their own brethren. Why? Because they imagined they had trespassed and rebelled against the Lord. They even had their "sermon" comparing these 2 ½ tribes to the iniquities of Peor and Achan. Fortunately the 2 1/2 tribes were able to explain that this altar was not for offerings or sacrifices but was for a witness to their children so they would not cease to fear the Lord. Communications caused the imaginations to be cast down and the war was prevented.
Imaginations can ruin marriages. How many marriages have been ruined by a wife imagining that a husband is having an affair with another woman or a husband imagining that his wife is seeing other men? I remember an incident during the early years of our marriage, when I found another man's tie in our bedroom closet. I imagined the worst for several days. How could my wife who had been faithful and a good mother to our children do such a thing? I confess to you that I was tortured by my imaginations until I finally confronted her and showed her the tie. She was also puzzled by the presence of a tie she had not seen before until we both remembered that several weeks previously we had hosted an evangelist and his wife and allowed them to stay in our bedroom while we slept in the children's bedroom. Sure enough, the tie belonged to the evangelist. Communication caused the imaginations to be cast down and we have been happily married for over fifty-five years. Hebrews 13:16 states, "...to do good and to communicate forget not... "
Imaginations can damage family relationships. Have your teenage children ever been late for curfew and your imaginations began to work? Have they been involved in an auto accident? Are they being rebellious? Are they involved in wrong doing? All parents should be concerned about the welfare and well-being of their children, but parents must cast down imaginations. Love your children enough to trust them.
Imaginations can destroy church relationships. Saints can imagine all sorts of things about the pastor and his motives. Pastors can imagine that when saints get together for any reason that they are promoting divisions in the church or plotting to remove him as pastor. Again, love enough to trust one another and cast down imaginations.
Imaginations can also destroy fellowship between ministering brethren. Once a brother promised to send me a check for money due from a transaction. I waited for several weeks but did not receive the check. Instead of letting my imaginations run wild I wrote him. He promptly called me and told me that he had mailed the check several weeks before. It turned out to have been sent to my former address from which I had moved a year and a half before. When I contacted the present occupant they told me they didn't know where I had moved to and so they just threw away all mail sent to me at that address. My brother kindly wrote me another check which I have received. In case any of you have written me and have not received a reply, please cast down any imaginations that you might have against me. Your letter was probably thrown away! I can only wonder if some of the factions in our districts could be eliminated if we cast down imagination.
Let me summarize three ways to cast down imaginations: 1) Recognize that most imaginations are lies; 2) Communicate to expose the fallacy of the imaginations; 3) Love enough to trust one another, and "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen," (2 Thessalonians 3:18).
This article first appeared in the Gospel Tidings, Western District of the United Pentecostal Church, April, 1991. I have upgraded it.