Remember that movie Inception that came out a few years back? With plenty of explosions and an intriguing plot, it was a pretty entertaining and engaging film. Central to the plot of this movie is the concept that a simple idea can take root in a person’s mind and have an unimaginably large impact on the person and his or her subsequent thoughts and actions.
History of ideas
History bears witness to this phenomenon of the power of small ideas that just won’t go away. Among the infamous examples include Adolf Hitler, whose idea that the Jews and Gypsies were inferior creatures led to the murder of millions. Another is Jim Jones in the late 1970s, whose fanatical religious idea triggered nearly a thousand people killing themselves at a compound in Guyana.
An idea can look like a butterfly but sting like a thousand bees. The movie illustrated the power that an idea can also have in less severe situations than these, but the point remains that small ideas take root and take over.
Man’s first idea
Looking further into history, we read in the Bible the account of the first man and woman on earth—Adam and Eve. God communicated to them the house rules, and it is assumed that they understood and agreed to them. They knew what God said, but would they fully believe it?
Soon Satan, appearing as a crafty talking serpent, homed in on this thin separation of head and heart and took a crowbar to it. He planted the idea that disobeying God’s commands would not lead to death, but would make them like God (Genesis 3). This idea spread from Adam to the entire world and has severed the relationship between God and humanity ever since!
However, we do have an example of one who rejected humanity’s false and dangerous ideas—all of which appeal to human emotion. The Devil attempted to tempt Jesus Christ as he had tempted Eve, hoping to plant a small idea that would grow into a life apart from God’s way. This attempted inception failed because Christ refused to give the ideas any place to take root in His mind. Finally, Satan gave up and left Him for a while (Matthew 4:1-11).
Insight for inception
We are to follow the example of Christ, not Adam and Eve. When a tempting idea comes your way, but goes against the truth, reject it. The “what-if’s” of human logic can all too easily ensnare us and take us down a path we really don’t want to follow.
Prove all things. Know what you know, and believe what you know. Jesus answered Satan with Scripture every time, knowing exactly how to prove the ideas wrong. We must know what we believe in order to rule out things that don’t line up with the truth.
Allow positive ideas. History is not solely fraught with false ideas. Gandhi and Mother Theresa had ideas that transcended their own lives and in many ways positively affected others. Once we’ve proven what is truth, we should hold fast to what is good, noble and upright. (Phil 4:8)
History has proven time and again the power of small ideas that can transform into great endeavors for good or for evil.
Safeguard your mind (conscious and subconscious) against the Devil’s inception and hold fast to the roots of God’s truth found in His living Word.