Ever since I was five, I “saw things” in the everyday. It wasn’t just pictures in the clouds. As an adult, it happens all the time.
Every time I look at my kitchen cabinets, I see Edvard Munch’s painting, “The Scream.”
It happened again this week during a shopping trip. I looked over at the potatoes and onions aisle and there it was, staring at me … a duck!
I had to buy it, and when I got it home, I showed my husband – after I drew on it, creating a “Duck Dynasty Sweet Tater.”
It had a head with a beak, a neck, a body, and even a curled tail!
Chalk my finds up to perception … or crazy thinking.
Who cares? I’ve had a blast imagining all through my life.
Today, I think it’s a gift, but growing up, I only heard of “imagination” in negative terms. I didn’t realize the Bible talks about imagination in negative and positive ways.
- “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5, Amplified).
- “… for the imagination … of man’s heart is evil and wicked from his youth…” (Genesis 8:21, Amplified Bible).
- “They … walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart … they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart” (Jeremiah 7:24, 11:8, KJV).
- “He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts” (Luke 1:51, KJV).
- See also Nehemiah 6:8; Jeremiah 13:10; 18:12; 23:16; 2 Peter 1:16).
- I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, that are present here, offer willingly unto thee. O Jehovah, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee” (1 Chronicles 29-17-18, ASV).
- “… No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it – What God has arranged for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9, The Message).
NOTE: God says His Spirit will reveal the “deep things” of God – those things we cannot imagine in and of ourselves (see 1 Corinthians 2:10).
So there is negative imagination and positive imagination – but what makes the difference?
To be positive, to be holy, our mind, thoughts (and especially, our imagination) must be reined in and controlled by the Spirit of God. We must have a “sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified) that is transformed by God (Ephesians 4:23), because God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts – they transcend our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).
Paul says we must take our thoughts – and that includes the imagination – “captive.” “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ“ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, ESV). In other words …
If we’re going to use our imagination wisely, it needs to be handcuffed to Jesus.
We need to remember, as children of God, that we are in Christ; we are destined to conform to His image (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). And so, we want the mind of Christ, which is humble and surrendered to the Father’s control (Philippians 2:5-11) – to the praise of His glory!
So according to the scriptures, we can have God-sanctified imagination.
My desire is to use my imagination in healthy, wise, godly ways. How can I use my imagination?
- I can envision goals and brainstorm strategies to achieve them.
- I can picture the consequences of obeying God … or disobeying Him.
- I can contemplate and create projects, art – beautiful things – that will honor the Lord and encourage people to live for Him.
- I can imagine the glories of heaven and use that “vision” to help me choose wisely, with eternal values in mind.
How about you? How are you using your imagination today? For God’s glory, your good and the good of others?