In 1976 as young Christians, I felt
that God wanted my wife and me to
open our home for a Friday evening Christian meeting. We were to
have no agenda, but to do whatever seemed appropriate for each meeting.
One Friday evening our friend Tom
brought his friend Gary from
Cleveland to our house for prayer. Gary explained that he was a
new Christian, and that God was doing amazing things in his life, but
there seemed to be a nagging issue in his life which he could only
describe a a 'cloud over his head'.
So we proceeded to pray against 'the
cloud', praying for healing and
inner healing and deliverance and whatever else came to mind.
So everyone looked at me to do something.
"Rob, we're at your house. You are in charge. Do something."
There were probably six or seven
people praying for Gary, and as they
looked expectantly to me, I hurriedly thought what I should do. I
remembered that morning I had read the passage about Jesus giving the
keys of His Kingdom to Peter. I realized that Jesus didn't give
the master set of keys to Peter, He just gave him a copy of the
keys. That meant that Jesus still has all the keys to His
Kingdom. So I prayed, "Lord, please give us the key which will
set Gary free."
Immediately someone in the group
said, "Does 'casting down
imaginations' mean anything to anyone?"
We thought it sounded familiar, so we
got out a Bible concordance,
looked up 'imaginations' and found this:
2 Cor 10:4
For the weapons of
warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of
2 Cor 10:5 pulling down imaginations and every high thing that
exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity
every thought into the obedience of Christ;
We thought, 'Great! It's a
Scripture!" So everyone again
looked at me as if saying, 'Go ahead, Rob, cast down his imaginations.'
So again I felt the responsibility to
do something, but I didn't know
what to do. So again I prayed, "Lord, what do I do?"
Immediately I had a vision of Jesus
sitting on the right hand of
God. He got up from His throne, stood with His hands on His hips,
tapping his right foot impatiently, and said, "Cast down his
I almost fell down in haste, and said
to Gary, "I cast down your
imaginations in Jesus' Name!"
Gary almost fell out of the chair he
was sitting in, laughing and
crying and laughing and crying more. He said, "Now I know what
has been troubling me! All of my life I have tried to live up to
my father's expectations, but I never could because dad is a
perfectionist. But God just spoke to my heart and said, 'I am
your Daddy now, and all you have to do is to live up to my
expectations, and I know that you are just dust and ashes."
THE REST OF THE STORY:
Seven years later I had occasion to
go to Cleveland for a
meeting. So I called our friend Tom, who by then had graduated
from Bowling Green State University and had returned to his hometown of
Cleveland. I told him that I was going to be in Cleveland, and
asked if I could stop by and see him and his family. He said,
'Come on over." So I went to Tom's house for a visit. No
sooner had I arrived than Gary showed up too! Tom had not seen
him for months, but he showed up shortly after I arrived at Tom's house.
Gary said, "I will never forget
that night at your house in BG
when the Lord set me free from my dad's expectations! I am still
free, thank God!"
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
There is a Proverb which expresses a
fundamental principle of the right
way to live:
Trust in the LORD with
all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Unfortunately, the church does not
teach this, it teaches us to study
the Bible and then lean on our understanding of what the Bible says and
how and when to apply that knowledge. The results are not
But I have learned that when I ask
Jesus to help me to stop leaning on
my own understanding so that I can trust God with all of my heart,
amazing things happen! The Imagination Story is a prime example
of this! Ask Jesus for the right key to any situation, and how to
use it! He will gladly tell you as He told me.
ANOTHER MORAL OF THIS STORY:
Gary's story and Gary's 'cloud' are
an illustration of an invisible
reality which affects us all. We are victims of our own and other
people's ungodly expectations, and we impose our ungodly expectations
on others. We
all need to
be saved from ungodly expectations, and
we all need to repent for imposing our ungodly expectations on
God wants His Rivers of Living Water
to flow freely into us and through
us to touch others. I believe that ungodly expectations are a
of clogs which hinder the free flow
of God's Rivers of Living Water
from flowing in our lives.
I can testify that removing ungodly
expectations can greatly improve
the quality of our lives. I now can freely rejoice in other
people's blessings and relationships without jealousy and pride
interfering with the flow of God's Rivers in my life and through
my life to touch others. It's very refreshing and fulfilling.
WARNING! Jesus instructed us to
cast our pearls before swine'.
I believe that this is
because other people who have not yet repented of imposing their
ungodly expectations on others will misjudge the value of our pearls,
and try to prevent us from enjoying them or sharing them with
others. The following is an example of what happens when this
After this I
returned to Jerusalem and went to the temple to pray. There I had a
vision of the Lord who said to me, "Hurry
and leave Jerusalem! The people won't listen to what you say about me."
I replied, "Lord, they know that in many of our meeting places I
arrested and beat people who had faith in you. Stephen was killed
because he spoke for you, and I stood there and cheered them on. I even
guarded the clothes of the men who murdered him." But the Lord told me
to go, and he promised to send me far away to the Gentiles.
The crowd listened until Paul said this. Then they started shouting,
"Get rid of this man! He doesn't deserve to live."
As always, we need to trust God to
give us the discernment to know
when, what, and to whom to speak, and when and from whom to withhold