Just today I read in John Piper’s book “Life as a Vapor” that “One of the great duties of the Christian mind is imagination.” This is so affirming to me because Piper is one of those intellectual, academic Christians (I mean this in the best sense). I’m currently reading four of his books — I started them over two years ago — and they are like lean meat: you can only take a few bites then it takes about a month to chew and digest them.
The fact that Piper places so much emphasis on the imagination is very cool because the imagination has such a bad reputation. Many of us think the imagination is only for creative people, yet here is a Ph.D. college professor turned pastor who firmly believes that the imagination is necessary for Christians! The imagination is awesome!
Though there are many uses for the imagination in all sorts of fields (science, sports, therapy, etc.), I want to highlight its use in meditation. Meditation is extremely Biblical. Just go to Bible Gateway or Blue Letter Bible and type in “meditate.” You will get a ginormous list of verses! Meditation is used to fill our minds with God and His Word; It is not used to empty our minds into some sort of empty, blissful state.
When we meditate, we can ponder scripture, which means we mull it over in our minds until the Holy Spirit can get understanding through our distracted and cluttered brains. We can memorize scripture, which works best when a verse jumps up and hits you! Or — my favorite — we can use our imaginations to understand the stories in the Bible with clarity and God’s character more deeply.
We can imagine Jesus is sitting there next to us while we pray (which He is). We can imagine that the world around us disintegrates and we are at the foot of God’s throne (which we are). We can draw or paint a picture of truths that we have discovered in the Bible (I did this with the Tree of Life — I’ll have to show you sometime). We can take a story from the Bible and play it out in today’s time (e.g. Instead of Jesus dying on a cross, we can imagine Him dying in an electric chair or by lethal injection). Or we can imagine that we are there in the story, standing with Jesus.
The imaginations adds emotion and depth to the God and His word, and it gives us a viewpoint that we would never have if we relied on pure logic. There are a lot of Christians with a head full of knowledge, but we want to be Christians with hearts changed for God. Try it out. I think you’ll enjoy it.
In order to show my love of God’s gift of the imagination, I will be compiling a list of imagination quotes from the published writings of Christ followers. And I need your help! When you are reading your Christian books, articles, journals, lyrics, etc. and you run across a quote about the imagination, send it my way. Make sure the writer does not negate the importance of the cross!
If you find a gem or write a gem, send it to me and I’ll give you credit! I would liked Faith Imagined to be the leading web site with the MOST imagination quotes written by Christians!
To visit the collection, visit my Title Inspiration Page!