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.  Nothing happened.  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 our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,
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 imaginations!"

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."


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!"


There is a Proverb which expresses a fundamental principle of the right way to live:

Pro 3:5  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 impressive.

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.


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 others!

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 major source
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 'not 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 syndrome exists:

Act 22:17-22  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 our 'pearls'!!