When Spiritual Attacks Come In The Form of Vain Imaginations – Sarah Saenz


  It may surprise some, but the Bible deals extensively with our imaginations.  Not just the adventurous imaginings that lead to fun stories for children or silly situations for our friends to laugh at, but imaginary fears, self-exalting thoughts, improbable scenarios, and nagging doubts, too. 

Recently I shared some scriptures and devotionals with a small group of friends. I prayed, prepared my notes, praised God, and asked for His anointing. The meeting went wonderfully, we covered everything that had been on my heart and there were even some sweet moments of burdens bared. I went home feeling grateful. But when alone, my thoughts took a sudden turn. “Was it good enough?” “Did I offend someone when I said this or that?” “Maybe I didn’t speak that correctly?” “What if no one took my meaning?” “Did it matter to anyone?” “Maybe I shouldn’t share, maybe it’s not my place to teach?” 

My peaceful morning of fellowship with friends ended with a downward spiral of fear and intense doubt. I tried to shrug off my thoughts, tried to reject the direction my mind was running. But my efforts were pointless. 

Days later, the Lord showed me something my feeble understanding had not registered: the Enemy had coordinated an attack on my mind and he had used my own imagination to do it. 

How could I not have seen it? The signs were all there… the sudden redirection of my thoughts, the vain fixation on my own performance, the complete lack of acknowledgement that the Lord could use any cracked but willing vessel. How had I so completely discounted His sovereignty? Why had I listened and believed such deception? 

I am not the first person to fall into this pit of fearful and self-obsessed imagining. Or the first citizen of God’s kingdom to be targeted by this type of demonic assault. In the garden, Eve was the very first to be tempted and to give in to this type of vain imagination. Can you just hear Satan’s oily manipulation, “… You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God…” Gen 3: 4-5.

Talk about an out-of-control vain imagination! A creature made from a borrowed rib and some dust thought she could be like her Creator just by eating some fruit?! It was never going to happen!

Another time, the whole population of the world was caught up in the lie. “Come, let us build a city for ourselves, a tower whose top will reach into the heavens, and let us make a [famous] name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered [into separate groups] and be dispersed over the surface of the entire earth [as the Lord instructed.]” Gen 11: 4.

            Notice the fixation upon themselves at Babel, all they imagined and desired concerned themselves. There was no place for God in their vision, in fact, their aim was to remove His influence entirely from their lives. They imagined a future that contained no Sovereign God at all. Not possible! 

            In verse 6, the Lord speaks to this sin and the enviable fallout if they succeeded, “This is only the beginning of what they will do [in rebellion against Me], and now no evil thing they imagine they can do will be impossible for them.” 

Our God is smart and He misses nothing, He recognized the role their imaginations had played in this experiment. They wanted to remove Him from His own creation. We all know how that ended. 

In perhaps one of the most dramatic examples of a run-away imagination is King Nebuchadnezzar’s story. “The king said thoughtfully, ‘Is not this the great Babylon which I myself have built as the royal residence and seat of government by the might of my power and for the honor and glory of my majesty?’” Daniel 4: 30. The passage goes on the say that while these words were still in his mouth, the Lord spoke and took Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom and sense from him. For seven years, he ate grass like cattle and he was wild in his appearance. At the end of the period, the king said “…I raised my eyes toward heaven, and my understanding and reason returned to me; and I blessed the Most High [God] and I praised and honored and glorified Him who lives forever,”  verse 34. It wasn’t until the King dismantled his imagined majesty and self-centered power that God returned his mind back to him and reinstated his kingdom authority. 

From these examples we see a pattern. Devastation follows when we give in to demonic suggestions and let our imaginations elevate our own standing. When we imagine that anyone else is more in control of the situation than the Lord, we sin. Think back to a time when your imagination ran wild with pride, fear, panic, or doubts. What was the result? Torment, usually, and lack of peace. 

At the heart, these sins of the imagination wound our Father’s heart. They reduce His unending power to a pile of ashes and steamroll over His Almighty sovereignty. They echo the sin and vanity of a certain angel who once imagined he, too, could be like God. Though Lucifer lacked nothing, he imagined a vain future with himself as god. This is why he is still coordinating these attacks today, they echo his own vain and hateful ambitions. 

2 Corthinations 10: 4-5 says, “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.”

Dear friend, we have weapons that are mighty, that pull down and smash these high, vain places in our minds. We have the Holy Spirit, the living Word, the Body of Christ, a battle language, hymns of praise. And we have a Defender who will take off running at our foe.  Through our imaginations, Satan may seek to destroy our faith. He may exalt himself, call himself a giant, taunt us, wound us, make us fear, doubt, boast, or question ourselves. Like the Israelites, we might feel like all we can do is hide in our tents and cover our ears. But if we would just call for our Champion, the Lord would send Himself. He would avenge us, He would topple the high places our minds. He would deliver us. As many times as it takes, He will always deliver us. Let us seek Him in the grips of these attacks, repent, and give Him total sovereignty – even over our own imaginations. 


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