“Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!” –Ezekiel 13: 2B-3
“These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’’’ –Acts 2: 16-18
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” -Ephesians 3: 20-21
According to Webster’s College Dictionary, “imagination” is defined as: (1) the action or faculty of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses, (2) creative talent or ability, (3) the product of imagining, and (4) ability to face and resolve difficulties; resourcefulness.
It takes imagination to see a vision for the future, to write a poem or perform a sonata, to sense meaning in a dream, or to decorate a room with originality and flair. It also takes imagination to find life in words of Scripture, and to hear God speak specifically to us from its pages.
The present United States church is cognitive-heavy, imagination-deprived. Emphasis is almost always on mental assent and behavioral change. “Asking Jesus into your heart” too often is translated as saying the right words, acting the way you are supposed to, and hiding any doubt, painful difficulty, or spot of unbelief behind a “happy Christian” façade.”
Imagination is linked with fantasy and as such is regarded with suspicion. To combat this fear, more Bible studies, more planned praying, and more teaching meetings are prescribed for eager congregants until many regular church attendees have enough head knowledge to be professors in a Second-World Bible college. Yet too often these same faithful believers struggle with relational issues that reveal the brokenness inside their hearts.
Though education about God and His Word is valuable, it’s easy to find ourselves “forever inquiring and getting information, but never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth” (2 Timothy 3: 7-Amplified Bible). The whole of Christianity is in righteous or right-standing relationship. This is a heart issue that is largely experienced through the faculty we refer to as “imagination”, rather than intellect.
In heart-healing counseling we honor the sanctified imagination. That is, we begin and end each session by submitting ourselves to Christ, asking Him to be in charge of all that transpires there. We’re not afraid of our creative thoughts as they are yielded to Him, knowing He fashioned that ability for His glory. Indeed, God Himself is the original and infinite imaginer, making everything that is or was from that which was not (Hebrews 11: 3).
As American Christians schooled in the doctrines and concepts of Biblical faith, we acknowledge their value while calling for the primacy of heart-relationship with Christ, and in Christ with one another. This connectivity is largely perceived and understood through the channel of imagination.