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In a world where we have relegated to others our power to imagine, perhaps it is time to give some thought to the importance of our God-given ability to imagine, and reengage it. When you were a child, did you use your imagination to entertain yourself for hours? Imagination seems to be the default mode for children. As children, every sound in the dark or unknown shadow became something else: a creature hiding under the bed, or an alien waving its arms. But when the lights were turned on, there was no creature or alien, nothing that our mind saw with our imagination.
When I was young, my friends and I would spend hours imagining ourselves defending our forts from attacking villains, using our makeshift weapons. Perhaps you played with a new firetruck or police car, or arranged and rearranged a dollhouse. Your mind could imagine scenario after scenario, while your voice provided the necessary sound effects. Recently I watched a preteen use his imagination to convert a tree branch to a light sabre and become transported to an imaginary setting in a universe, far, far away, moving quickly as his sabre slashed through the air.
But imagination need not be a thing of the past, nor confined to childhood. When caught up in our imagination, we are transported from our mundane physical reality to a new place created by the power of our imagination.
Imagination allows us to envision things not yet available, to find solutions to problems, or new ways of doing things. This capability to think outside the box is not supposed to be reserved only for children. The fact that all children seem to have vivid imaginations should be a megaphone shouting out: “Each one of us has the capability to use imagination to explore new possibilities!” We all have the ability to transport ourselves mentally to an hour of relaxation on a beach where the temperature is perfect, the atmosphere serene, and our stress is carried away with each retreating wave.
Isn’t it interesting that when God decided to come live among us, He came as a child? Jesus didn’t bypass childhood. As an adult, He called twelve men to become His disciples and learn about life with God, and life in the Kingdom of God. He taught Nicodemus that in order to experience the Kingdom of God, you have to be born again. In John 3:6-7 (CSB) Jesus told Nicodemus: “Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again.”
Later Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 18:3-4 (CSB): “Truly I tell you … unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
This does not mean that heaven is a figment of our imaginations. It means that unless you can realize that God is bigger than our closed mental universe, you can’t enter into relationship with Him. God is real, Heaven is real. But God and Heaven are not limited to some invisible world. Rather, God took on flesh to live physically among us as Jesus, yet He also exists eternally as Spirit. When we turn to God, confess our need for forgiveness and new life in Him, He comes to live in us, and a whole new world opens up in us, and to us. We then live in our physical world, but also simultaneously see spiritual realities we couldn’t even imagine before.
Do you know God? Can you step into His presence at any time, anywhere, and ask for His insights and assistance? If you know Him, you can connect with Him through Jesus.
Our interaction with God begins as we humble ourselves and admit that we need Him. What real life-issues are you struggling with today? What problems seem insolvable, until you look at them from God’s perspective? Can you see God at work in your life situations in ways that you have not imagined possible?
God gave you imagination. It might lie dormant within you, but the capability is still there. Ask God to resurrect and reconnect you to a God-inspired imagination. This is imagination that draws us closer to God, and helps us see God’s purposes in and for our lives.
What issues have you confounded? How could interacting with God and gaining His perspectives of it, bring unimaginable results? Imagine that!
Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. He can be reached at [email protected]
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