This week let’s talk about imagination. Most of us don’t realize it, but we use our imagination every day. We see ourselves going to work. We can see the stop light down the street or the freeway on ramp long before we get there. If I ask you how many doors you have in your house you can tell me not because you know, but because you can imagine each room and see the doors and by walking through your house in your mind you can tell me how many doors you have. That’s using your imagination.
The significance of imagination in our spiritual walk is also something we do every day. We see ourselves as depressed, as fearful, as guilty. We see our finances in ruin or our bodies racked with illness. We see ourselves trapped and bound by those things which hold us captive.
We have seen in the past few weeks that Jesus died to set the captives free (Romans 8:2). He rose from the dead and placed this raised from the dead power on the inside of us (Colossians 2:12,13). He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us forever and empower us to live a life of victory (Acts 1:8). And yet in spite of all He has done, we have the power to sabotage our own recovery simply by not laying hold of what He has given us.
Do you remember the old TV show “What’s My Line?” It consisted of a panel of four and a host who would present a guest with an unusual occupation. The panel would ask questions of the guest to try and determine what he did. We too have a line. Our line is not what we do, but rather what holds us captive.
As human beings we are very resourceful. Most of us have come up with ways to deal with our captivity. It may be something we have come up with on our own or it may be a “treatment” that we have derived from some group, or friend, or family member. Whatever it is, we have developed a process by which we can cope with that thing that holds us captive. Over time we can become so attuned to the treatment that we don’t even stop to consider that we can actually be free of the problem altogether.
So I have two questions. One, are you satisfied to live as a captive with a treatment that seems to be working or do you want freedom? And two, how bad do you want it? Or as someone once said, how big is your want to? The level of your desire will determine your outcome.
I think most of us would say we want to be free once and for all, and yet few of us take action. It would be more accurate to say that we actually feed the areas in which we want to be free. Take fear for example. What do we do when we become fearful? We focus on the thing that we are afraid of and the fear grows. Or what about depression. We focus on the things that we are depressed about and the depression deepens. Guilt, anxiety, anger… it’s all the same. We focus on the issues which only makes them worse.
But let’s say when we are depressed we begin thinking of all of the good things in our life. Slowly we may rise above our depression and soon we are feeling better. Does that mean we are free? No. It means we have found a way to cope with our depression. It is a treatment or process which works most of the time, but what if we could be rid of the depression. What if rather than having a treatment that works most of the time, we could come to that place where the treatment isn’t necessary because depression is no longer a part of who we are?
Please understand, I am not belittling the process. If you have something that you struggle with and you have found a way to gain victory, however temporary, don’t stop. Continue with what works until you are set free, but don’t become so addicted to the process that you lose sight of the freedom that is available to you.
So the real question becomes, how? Here is a simple truth that most of us miss. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” In other words, as believers we have a new nature that wants to change if we will let it.
2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” Again, it’s His power on the inside of us. We are struggling to try and get what we’ve already got.
Years ago people used to say, “Let go and let God.” The problem with that statement is that God has already done it. We just need to let go.
This is such a simple thing and yet one of the hardest. Everything about us screams, “But I have a right to feel guilty. You don’t know what I’ve done.” Let go. “But they are threatening to foreclose on my house if I don’t pay them.” Let go. “Why is it that everyone else always seems to be blessed, but I have to fight and struggle for everything I have?” Let go.
Remember what we said about imagination? How do you see yourself? Are you a victim or a victor? Do you identify with the statement, I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13), or I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart (Psalm 38:8). If you see yourself as anything other than free then begin imagining yourself as the person you want to be. If you can’t see it you will never have it.
Does that sound too radical? Then consider Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We often quote this verse in reference to faith, but the real point here is hope. Faith is important because it is what gives our hope substance. But what is hope? How do we hope for something? How do we hope for a life free of captivity? We use our imagination. We see a different outcome, a different way of being and because we see that other way we hope for it. Then once we have seen it and hope arises within us, faith comes along and we begin to get excited because we know it’s coming. We see it and now we can walk in it.
Let me be quick to say I am not talking about some form of visualization where you sit and meditate on the things you want and then watch them manifest because of your persistence. I am talking about a pattern of seeing in your mind what God has done and knowing in your heart that He wants only good things for you and then allowing that hope, joined with faith, to come to pass because of His power at work in you. To do that involves time spent in the Word, in prayer, and in relationship with Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16 Paul said, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” How many of us spend significant time each day in the Word, praying and seeking Him? Do we limit ourselves to just a few minutes trying to cram a chapter or two in and then mumble a quick prayer as our Christian duty or do we approach Him as a friend and genuinely listen to what He has to say?
“But I don’t have time.” Yet there is time for our favorite TV program, an afternoon of golf, tinkering in the garage. I could go on, but you know the excuses. Someone once said an excuse is as good as a reason. If we have an excuse, that is reason enough not to do what we know we must do to be set free.
So it comes back to my original question. How bad do you want it?
Please know I am not condemning anyone. I am just making the point that freedom is a choice. It does not happen overnight, but it will happen if we will commit ourselves to the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in our heart and lives.
As for hope, Ecclesiastes 9:4 says, “Anyone who is among the living has hope.” Are you still living? Then you have hope. Begin to exercise it, get in the Word, focus on what God says about the issue instead of what your flesh tells you about it. See yourself for who God says you are. Let go.
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Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry