Imagination is powerful: it is the first step to doing. Imagination is the ability to see with the mind what you can’t see with your eyes. You may not realize it but we use our imagination every day. If you were to think about how many rooms were in your house as a child, your mind’s eye would recreate and walk you through each room. That’s your imagination.
Faith and imagination work hand in hand. “Faith is the confidence of things hoped for and the assurance of things not seen.” (Hebrew 11:1)
Faith is powerful, but it doesn’t work alone. Before you can have faith you must begin with hope. Our hope is built on the word of God and what he says.
Faith gives substance to what we hoped for. Our imagination breathes life into what we hoped for as we paint a picture of it with our mind. Developing a Godly imagination is essential to growing in our faith and in God’s will for our lives.
Romans 12:2 says it this way: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
We renew our mind by feeding our imagination with the word of God. However, just reading the word of God is not enough to see it work in your life. You can’t just read it and expect it to bring about a change. We are taught to meditate on it, speak it out, and pray for the holy spirit to bring us understanding, however, there is another powerful component: imagination. As you paint a picture of the word of God and his promises, see it with your imagination.
For example, think about (Philippians 4:13) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You have to see yourself strong, pressing through fearlessly, filled with courage. You can declare this scripture and then go a step further and picture yourself strong and fearless, filled with faith. Use your imagination.
Worry is a negative way of using your imagination. Think about it — when you worry, you have a mental picture of all that could go wrong, filling you with fear, dread and anxiety. However we need to say no to that picture and instead picture what the word of God says.
I think of a time as I was first being invited to preach on a Sunday morning. As I was minutes away from stepping out, fear gripped me. I would get this picture of stepping up in front of the congregation and my mind going blank, and my fear would manifest in my being totally awkward. However, Philippians 4:13 was my lifeline! I would use my imagination to bring that scripture to life. I took those thoughts of worry captive, deleted them, and replaced them with a God-centered picture. I would imagine myself in the pulpit with Jesus right there with me. And the picture I filled my mind with was a memory of the first time I stepped out to preach: I remembered that as soon as I opened my mouth, a peace flooded my soul and an energy pulsated through my whole being, and I knew Jesus was right there with me and that “I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me.“ me.” And as I stepped out time and time again, that is what happened.
It’s so important that we see ourselves through God’s eyes (Psalm 149:14). We need to know “We are fearfully and wonderfully made.” You need to see yourself as God sees you, and have a humble confidence in the way God created you, knowing you are unique and beautiful in his sight. Everything from the way you look to your personality and your gift mix — use your imagination to see yourself through God’s eyes!
Every scripture can come to life as we meditate on it, declare it, and also use our imagination as a powerful tool. Many of us are familiar with the scriptures on love (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
In any of these virtues that you may struggle with, you can imagine yourself responding in love. Say you struggle with patience: you can imagine yourself in a circumstance with that person or child that you have lost patience with and imagine yourself responding with patience. Paint that mental picture of how you will respond the next time. Using your imagination is a way of practicing patience.
Any one of these virtues we can imagine manifesting it in our life. Take “love is not easily angered.” You can remember a time when you were easily angered with someone, knowing you will have other experiences with them again. It could be with your spouse, your child, a family member or neighbor. However, this is a new day. As you repeat these words over and over “love is not easily angered,” take it a step further and imagine yourself in that situation having a different response, and see yourself using self-control and being patient, humble and kind.
Imagine it! Practice it!
God gave us an imagination and we can use it to transform and equip us to be all we are called to be, and to confidently walk in the fullness of his love and the call on our lives.