You’re standing on top of the tallest building in New York City. You can see for miles in every direction and the wind is blowing its chilling breath down your neck as you hold on for dear life. It’s higher than you thought, and you can feel the sway of the building from up here. Your only thought is how to get down from here.
But then you hear their voices. They followed you here and you have only one choice:
To your surprise, you soar through the air and begin to maneuver between the buildings like a pro. You weave your way around the towers, higher and higher, feeling the exhiliration of an eagle in flight.
And then you wake up.
Now, maybe you’ve never had a flying dream (some people never have…like birds?), but you get the picture. You may have even seen yourself on the top of the building as you were reading, and in your mind’s eye you pictured what the scene would look like as your feet left the ledge. Exactly my point.
Imagination is a powerful thing, as are our dreams. Dreams are our imaginations gone wild, taking us on a journey we have no control over while we lay sleeping. I don’t pretend to know what makes us dream or if dreams have certain meanings, but I do know that imagination is one of the most important gifts that we humans possess one that must be cultivated and stewarded well.
Think about it. One of the enemy’s greatest tactics is to distract you and to plant negative thoughts, words, and pictures in your imagination. In our visual age, the number one goal of the media is to plant something in your imagination that will stick. Thoughts lead to actions and, in the case of marketers, actions equal buying.
The enemy uses the imagination to twist what’s good and make it bad. Perfectly innocent thoughts, words, or images can blow up into destructive dynamite, all through your imagination.
Imagination is the catalyst that makes temptation a problem. Example: If I want this iPod and I don’t have the money for it, I may be tempted to steal it. Rationally, I know that if I steal it is a sin that doesn’t honor God. I also know that I will likely be caught and possibly go to jail. But my imagination plots out all the scenarios where I could get away with it, and all the fun I would have with this new iPod and I am tempted in spite of my reason.
Same thing applies to lust. Imagination tells me something is a whole lot better than it is, even though I know what I see or think is not even real (one word: Photoshop). Imagination is what gives the temptation it’s power.
God created us with an imagination for a purpose. He wants to use it to communicate with us and to help us see Him. Redeemed imagination (imagination as God intended it combined with the leading of the Spirit) is where the words and stories of the Bible come to life and where we envision God’s best for the future. I use my imagination to envision heaven; I use it to picture Jesus with open arms inviting me to come to Him; I use it to see the best in a person whose external roughness is hiding their hurt and need for Christ.
So the question is, who holds more ground in the territory of your imagination? You have a say in it, and you can choose who wins the battle. And it is a battle, one that makes all the difference in our worship and our walk with Christ.