There are only two ways for a human to "see" something:
Without imagination: man would be completely limited -- virtually robots. All human progress has been born out of imagination -- the ability to "see" things differently than they were.
The only way a human can see the past or the future unaided, is through their imagination. Memory uses the imagination. Much of our thinking, whether planning or "jumping to conclusions," involves our imagination. Fear and faith operate in the realm of imagination.
Many top athletes successfully use their imagination in training. Vividly imagining a successful action seems to be more effective in training than doing it physically. When we experience an event vividly in our imagination it is imprinted as an experience, even though we did not physically do it.
Children seem to naturally have active imaginations. As we grow older and become more "educated" we tend to use our imaginations less and less.
Everyone has used their imagination negatively by worrying. We should use the same process in a positive way, based on God's Word.
Seeing something by the "eye of faith" has to be the same as imagining it.
The following three common statements express the same meaning.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:18 NKJ
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
How can you look at things which are not seen? Only by imagination.
EPHESIANS 1:18 NKJ
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
The NIV translates the above phrase as, "eyes of your heart." The NEB says, "inward eyes." Jerusalem Bible says, "eyes of your mind."
Understanding uses imagination but is separate from it. Your understanding is not your imagination, but imagination can help you to understand something.
PROVERBS 28:11 NKJ
11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding searches him out.
ACTS 26:18 NKJ
18 `to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'
JOHN 12:40 NKJ
40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and understand with their heart, lest they should turn, so that I should heal them."
Certainly, we must interpret this in a figurative sense. God had not physically blinded their eyes. This must speak of not being able to understand through their imagination.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:4 NKJ
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Right And Wrong Thoughts
ROMANS 1:21 NKJ
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
2 CORINTHIANS 10:5 NKJ
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
We must control our thoughts. Although bad thoughts will come, we must not accept them or embrace them as our own.
EPHESIANS 4:23 NKJ
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
1 TIMOTHY 4:15 NKJ
15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.
Imagination is part of meditation. We should meditate on God's Word. Imagination affects your future actions. For a person to change, their thinking has to change.
What Is Reality?
Reality is more than what you can perceive through your physical senses. Every scientist believes that. They acknowledge radio waves exist which you are not physically aware of. Yet, anyone with an inexpensive receiver can pick up those signals which are all around you. Everyone in the civilized world today believes this. But 300 years ago almost no one believed it.
The question is: Are we sure we know everything now? Or, is it possible there may be things, which are in fact real, of which we are presently ignorant?
Those who believe the Bible, know there is a reality which surrounds us which unbelieving people are largely unaware of. It is the spirit realm where God, angels, the devil, and demons are now active.
How can anyone know about the spiritual realm -- since we cannot perceive it with any of our physical senses? Through the Bible -- which is God's message to mankind.
Whatever the Bible says or promises is not fantasy. It is reality, even though we cannot perceive it with our physical senses.
Imagine It The Way God's Word Says It
Using your imagination has received a bad press lately among Christian circles. Because some cults and new age groups have embraced the idea of using our imaginations, some Christians think it must therefore be bad. This is no way to determine truth. The devil has tried to appropriate many things from God.
Recently, the question came to me, "Why did God create man with an imagination?" I do believe He is the Creator, don't you? He did make man with an imagination, didn't He. He surely had a reason other than so man could use it for evil.
When I asked God if there was any scriptural support for using our imagination, it occurred to me to look in Hebrews 11. As I began reading the chapter I was shocked at what I found, even though I had read it many times before!
Right in verse 1, faith is defined as ". . . evidence of things not seen." I thought, "If it is something you can't see, then it has to deal with the realm of the imagination." People would say we were believing something that is just imaginary if it couldn't be seen. In fact the dictionary says imagine means: to form a mental image of something not present. What could more closely describe the Bible definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1!
By this time I was excited, but the chapter was just beginning. Time and again, I saw that people in this chapter had used their imagination; they had "seen" what was not visible to others. I began to realize faith is linked with imagination like wet is linked with water. The two are inseparable.
Then I began to understand why the devil had stirred up such a fuss over this subject. Why he had inspired eastern religions to utilize the imagination: to muddy the waters and get Christians afraid it might be wrong.
As I read of Abraham I thought of Genesis 15:5 where God told him to "count the stars . . . So shall your descendants be." If God wasn't telling Abraham to use his imagination, I don't know what He was telling Him to do!
So be Biblical; be spiritual. Take what God has said in His Word, and imagine it that way in your life!
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