Imagination is more to me than just the ability to form new ideas, or images or concepts. To imagine might be considered a gift by those “vision”-challenged individuals who are governed by literal thoughts and senses. Those weak in the art of imagining remind me of Missouri’s U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903. Vandiver attended a banquet in Philadelphia, where in a speech, he stated, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”
This is the attitude of many literal or legalistic minds when challenged to think outside their box and imagine a different world, a different model, a different direction, or a different solution. It’s not unlike the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, when they were constantly asking for a “sign” that would authenticate the words He spoke, and the things He taught. Yet, the absence of signs was not the issue, for they were too numerous to mention. The issue was a stubbornness that would not be softened by truth or signs. The men who opposed Jesus so vehemently, had no spiritual vision or imagination. In this way they were blinded to even imagine that Jesus could be Messiah.
Long ago, in ancient days, the prophet had spoken the words that would condemn them, and it dealt with imagination…
These are the things that you shall do; Speak you every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates; and let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, says the LORD.
The imagination they did have, was only evil thoughts and ideas about how to rid themselves of this person who was confusing the people with claims to be the Son of God… even if it did mean drumming up false charges, with false testimony to serve their agenda to kill him.
But to those who would see the spiritual truth, and commit themselves by faith to Christ, their minds would be transformed by the very power of God. In this mind-transformation process, God’s Spirit would reveal things unimaginable by the normal, stubborn, human mind.
Paul encouraged his friends in Ephesus, to allow this imagination transformation to be the focus of their lives. He prayed for it all the time.
Ephesians 3:14-21… For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend (imagine) with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (or imagination), that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (imagine), according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Imagination, spiritually speaking, is the ability for God’s Spirit to teach us the reality of things we do not see, we do not know, and we cannot understand, without His enablement to comprehend them. Yet, these are exactly the things God wants to do for every person who calls Him LORD, believes in His Son, and trusts in His Spirit to lead them.
Today, be opposite of those who constantly ask for a “sign”, and instead, imagine that God has already given you everything you need… to know God personally, know His will and purpose for your life, and to live for His glory. God can’t “show you” anything, until you imagine it possible. It reminds me of the old hymn…
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light!