The ability to imagine has often been criticized as operating in a fantasy world. Many believers have been told from their pastors to lock away their imagination and do not be stifled by it. Riddled by the Scripture that tells us to cast down every imagination that exalts itself against God (see 2 Cor. 10:5), we have been taught to stay far away from the very word. But could it be true that we could be stifled because of our lack of imagination? The lack of being able to visualize a way out of our current situation?
I believe that faith healers like William Seymour, Aimee McPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman were operating in a level of imagination in order to see creative miracles.
Creativity is fueled by imagination and to the Spirit-filled believer that is a sanctified imagination that is on fire for God. Not lofty ideas that have nothing to do with God, but lofty ideas that sit alongside Christ Jesus in heavenly places and draw others into his presence. This is where the creatives must live, those who create music, art, movies and the like. Solomon's artisans had to imagine in order to create the tabernacle. They had to see in their minds eye, and although God's mind is much greater than our minds. I believe that he gives some the gift to imagine, dream big or, as LeClaire states, "Dream wild."
This week, I listened to Joshua Mills preach about God erecting the little child back in us, and how being corrected as a child stopped his ability to experience the angelic. I was reminded of my own experiences as child, taught to lock up what I considered a gift of the Spirit. This same imagination kept me safe against years of abuse. Could it be that my God given ability to imagine was God's shield of protection? I wrote many poems, planned events and completed my doctoral studies with that ability to imagine.
I imagined beyond what people told me. My imagination broke through limitations and saw me crossing color lines and finish lines. My imagination shook hands with kairos (God's divine time) before it was ever the right (natural) time to dream.
Our faith is creative, and built upon our imagination.
"When the biblical writers call us to faith, they are calling us to reject this view of the world and, instead, foster an active imagination that can see what God sees. When the prophets looked around them, they too saw injustice, sin and unrighteousness. The rational response to this sort of experience is despair. But the prophets called the people—and us—to hope" (O'Brien, Christianity Today).
He goes on to state that imagination is crucial to the Christian walk. I would venture to say it is a survival tactic. When we see big, we get big. Bigger encounters, bigger gifts, bigger love for a bigger God.
We cannot contain God to our theological jargon. These days, even the prophetic has become atomized and theorized to routines that make sense. But in order to experience the divine, we must open our minds to imagine the same God who told the man to dip into the Bethesda to be healed. It did not make sense. Imagination makes the word of God come alive. It makes our faith tangible.
God is awakening imaginations in this season. He is opening you up to do things that you previously thought of but put off as childish or unrealistic. May your God-given imagination be revived and unlocked to see beyond your current scope and into the dimensions of God. There are places we cannot go unless we believe like a child, and childlike faith takes the ability to imagine.
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