Mark Virkler, Cheektowaga, NY
“The steadfast of mind (‘Yêtser’ = imagination) You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.” (Is. 26:3)
I memorized this verse as the steadfast of mind but it is correctly translated, “the steadfast of imagination You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.”
Imagination frames up one’s reality. According to Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, the Hebrew word yêtser,translated mind in this verse means imagination, which forms and frames up.
Imagination is the First Step to Creation
The creative person will see or hear in his mind before he releases it in the physical. The sculptor sees the beautiful form in the block of marble. The musician hears the melody that he inscribes on paper. The architect sees the building then plots out the specifications. Without imagination there would be no creativity in the world.
My imagination creates the form on which my reality is built. It frames up my existence. What I picture in my mind creates inner states of peace or unrest. If all I can see in my mind’s eye is a stack of unpaid bills and a bank account with a balance near zero, I will live in fear, doubt, worry and anxiety. My stomach will begin to churn; my head will pound. I will be impatient with my spouse and children. My inner picture, my imagination, will have created a reality of a sick body wracked with pain and strained, or broken relationships with those who are most important to me.
But if instead I see in my mind’s eye God’s promises: He will never leave me or forsake me, and that my God will supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus; and I have been young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor their children begging for bread. If I choose to focus instead on all the ways the Lord has met my needs in the past, then I will feel excited to see what He is going to do for me next! I will be full of faith and peace and joy. My body will relax and function at its peak. I will speak with love and understanding to my family. What I imagine will have created a reality of a healthy body, loving relationships and a strong spirit.
If I enter a situation seeing myself being rejected, I send out a message to all saying, Reject me, and I act in such a way as to promote being rejected. If I imagine I will be accepted, I send out a message saying, Accept me. I act according to what I am imagining, and acceptance is what I create.
God Has Given Us an Incredible Gift in Our Imaginations
I believe our imagination is one of the ways in which we most strongly reflect God’s image. By it we can create our own Heaven or Hell on earth. By it we can be co-creators with Him, releasing His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. If we truly trust in Him, our imagination will steadfastly see, frame up and form all He has promised to us, and nothing else.
Look at how the KJV translates yêtser the nine times it appears in the Bible:
- Imagination, 4 times (Gen. 6:5, Gen. 8:21, Deut. 31:21, 1 Chron. 29:18).
• Imaginations, 1 time (1 Chron. 28:9).
• Frame, 1 time (Ps. 103:14).
• Framed, 1 time (Is.29:16).
• Mind, 1 time (Is. 26:3).
• Work, 1 time (Hab. 2:18).
Get a feel for the definition of “yêtser” by meditating on all the nine times it is found in the KJV Bible:
- “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen. 6:5
- “…for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Gen. 8:21
- “And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.” Deut. 31:21
- “…the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts…” 1 Chron. 28:9
- “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee.” 1 Chron. 29:18
- “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” Ps. 103:14
- “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Is. 26:3
- “Surely Your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of Him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” Is. 29:16
- “What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?” Hab. 2:18
The Root of Yêtser is Yâtsar
The root word of yêtser is yâtsar which shows up 62 times in the KJV Bible. According to Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, the primary meaning of yâtsar is “to form, fashion, frame, make, especially as a potter.”
Here is the first use of yâtsar in the Bible: “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). See how closely its meaning is tied to creation?
What reality am I forming or framing up for my life?
I will experience perfect peace, divine creativity, blessing and healing if my imagination is set steadfastly and ONLY on the Lord and His revealed purposes for me.
For example, God placed into Abram’s imagination the millions of stars in the sky as a picture of the number of descendants he would have (see Gen. 15:1, 5). This caused faith to burst forth (Gen. 15:6). Abram chose to believe and see only what God had spoken to him (Rom. 4:20-22). He became the Father of all of who believe (Rom. 4:11), modeling faith and how a miracle is released (Gen. 21:1-2).
Connecting Your Imagination to How Faith Grows
Satan would love to have me imagine and frame up his realities! He would have me imagine and believe:
- The antichrist rather than the risen Christ (Heb. 12:1-2).
- The increase of wickedness rather than the increase of God’s government (Is. 9:7).
- Sickness rather than by His stripes I am healed (Is. 53:5).
- Weakness rather than being strengthened in Christ (Phil. 4:13).
- Defeat rather than victory in the high praises of Christ (Matt. 21:16 quoted from Ps. 8:2).
- Lust, rather than pure marital love (Song of Solomon).
My Decision Is…
- I imagine Jesus at my right hand all the time (Ps. 16:8; Acts 2:25; Heb. 12:1-2).
• I imagine vibrant health (Is. 53:5).
• I imagine unity (Jn. 17:1).
• I imagine purity (Matt. 5:8).
• I imagine the increase of God’s government (Isa. 9:7).
• I imagine I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).
• I imagine… (Your turn: What does your imagination need to focus on so there is no place for an evil, unbelieving imagination to frame up destruction for your life? I encourage you to take this to the Holy Spirit in prayer and choose to renew your mind on His Word and imagination.)
If God didn’t speak it as part of His revealed will for my life, then I spend no time imagining or picturing it. To do so would frame up destruction for my life, preventing me from enjoying my Promised Land. The Israelites died in the wilderness because they were imagining, believing and speaking that they would die (Ex. 14:11-12). I choose to believe all that God has promised to me. I choose to enter into rest and peace (Heb. 4; Is. 26:3).
(Sourced from the Elijah List go here.)