So, let me get right to the issue that will cause some people to stumble in doing this exercise... the use of your imagination. There will be those who will tell you that it is a dangerous practice; that our imaginations can lead us astray and that the Bible doesn't specifically tell us to use our imaginations in communing with the Lord. First, let me say, that I agree that it is possible to be led astray by the Enemy when we do not have the renewed mind of Christ. After all, it is by introducing lies to our minds, that the devil is so often able to corrupt God's Truth. But with a renewed mind, we are able to take every thought captive, and use our imaginations to see receive revelations from the Lord.
I would also submit to you that one of the reasons Jesus taught in parables was because it was easier for people to accept the Kingdom principles He was teaching by imagining the scenarios He presented. Lastly, I would point you to 1 Corinthians 2:9-16, in which Scripture says, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him... these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit... And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual... The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned... But we have the mind of Christ.
This passage clearly speaks of the imagination that comes from the indwelling Spirit, and which gives us understanding that seems folly to our natural man. But our spirit being sees with the mind of Christ, and we are able to perceive things outside the realm of the natural world. Even John Piper, the noted Calvinist Baptist preacher, has a message which says that "one of the great duties of the Christian mind is imagination". He goes on to say, " Imagination is the faculty of the mind that God has given us to make the communication of His beauty beautiful... Imagination may be the hardest work of the human mind. And perhaps the most God-like. It is the closest we get to creation out of nothing...".
And when we create something beautiful and "see" it in our mind's eye, it can be for the supremacy and glory of God in our minds and hearts. It can strengthen our relationship with Jesus by allowing us to imagine the spiritual reality of Ephesians 2:6... For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. It is the creative use of our mind (our imagination) that helps us to transcend the bonds of this natural world and ascend to the heavenly realm where our spirits are united with Jesus.
So, that is the experience I want to share with you as you explore the garden of your heart. Ready to begin? Before you engage your imagination, I want to speak this prayer over you.... Father, in the Name of Jesus, we clean up/tear down any false and evil imaginations. We appropriate the blood of Jesus and pour it over the imagination. We declare any principality that is hindering, resisting, or blocking the imagination to be bound and cast out and sent to the pit of darkness, never to return. We declare and establish true imagination, righteous imagination, Godly imagination, imagination of Holy Spirit, imagination of The LORD. The imagination is vivid, colorful, illustrative, illustrious (glorious), detailed, has all five senses operating in it. We declare the imagination holy unto The LORD and sanctified by the Blood of Jesus. In the Name of Jesus, we confess and repent and renounce any principality that is over our imagination right now. We allow the Lord Jesus to be Master and Lord over our imagination; so we release the full potential in Holy Spirit into our imagination and we declare our imagination is sanctified. Amen.
Now, here are the steps to "see" the garden of your heart. It is usually best to have someone read these steps to you, so you can close your eyes and fully engage your imagination while receiving the blessing of walking in the garden of your heart.
• [With your eyes closed] walk toward your garden. There is an entry way, doorway, or gateway leading into your garden. What does your entry way look like? What color is it? Describe the entry way. (Is it a doorway, gateway, arch, what does the entry way look like). Open the entry way toward your garden. Take three steps in. View the scenery, take it all in; describe it.
• There is a pathway ahead of you. A narrow path. Jesus is on the path with His hand stretched out to you. He is your Good Shepherd, your Great Shepherd. He will protect you. You know His voice and He knows yours. He is going to lead you into your garden. Describe Jesus. Approach His out-stretched hand. Go toward Him and take His hand. He is full of love, peace, joy and assurance.
• He is taking you to the middle of the river. The living water can be eaten, you can breathe it in, you can bathe in it for cleansing, for healing, for abundance, for joy, whatever you need in life, you can always drink from the living water. You are in the middle of the river with Jesus. Command there to be watery steps, a stairway down to the bottom of the river. Let go of His hand and walk down the stairway and as you walk toward the bottom, describe the water of your river? What color is the water as you go down the steps? Describe what you see, colors, take it all in. What does the bottom of the river look like, the floor of the river? If muddy, you can change it now; if rocky, pick up a rock and turn it over because it is not a rock. What do you see? (we have had people describe a colorful floor for healing, a clear floor which is an extension of the Sea of Glass, jewels and gems which are treasures in Heaven, gold which is the Glory of The LORD etc.) (If Sea of Glass, the beloved can come and trade with The LORD; or if gems, jewels or gold, have the beloved place one of these in their pocket) Return to top of the stairs and go out of the water and grab Jesus’ hand.
• Jesus will now take you to the other embankment and you are still walking on water. Go up the embankment, look down at the soil. It’s rich, dark and fertile. Give me one testimony of what Jesus has done in your life. Just one, not necessarily the best. Just one testimony. Command In Jesus Name for that testimony to convert to a seed. You now have a seed of your testimony in your hand. Bend down and dig out about 4 inches of that rich fertile soil and place the seed in it and cover it up. Reach over to the river of living water and scoop up water in your hand, and water the planted seed. Command it to grow In Jesus Name. Describe what it looks like (tree with fruit, shrub, stalk, vine, flowers etc.) Pick a fruit off your testimony tree and eat of the fruit, taste the goodness of the Lord. You can always come back into the your garden and pick fruit and eat for you to remember The Goodness of The LORD. You can come back and pick fruit to give to someone else. You can return and plant seeds of testimony, seeds of promises, seeds of expectations, etc. Cultivate your garden daily.
• Look over to the narrow path and Jesus is there waiting for you with His hand extended out to you. Walk back across the River of Living Water and take Jesus's hand and He will continue to lead you. Up ahead is a large shaded tree. Go to the large shaded tree in the distance. There is a bench underneath the tree. Describe the bench where you and Jesus can sit and talk. That is your meeting place with Jesus. What is Jesus saying to you right now? What would you say to Him? Have Jesus give you a hug, so He can release His love, joy, peace, comfort, assurance into you. You can now return to your gate, say good-bye [for now] to your LORD and open your eyes. The garden is your secret place for intimacy with The LORD Jesus! Your heart has four chambers, therefore, your garden has four areas that need to be discovered, cultivated and developed with Jesus leading you.This may have been uncomfortable for some of you, while others may have reveled in the experience of "seeing" the garden of their heart. Do not let anyone tell you this is nonsense or tempting your mind with guided imagery. The exercise is designed to help you discover and establish intimacy with the Lord. It will help you to grow your faith through your imagination as you experience Jesus in the garden of your heart. It allows your imagination to grow and become more vivid as you acknowledge the Goodness of the Lord in your life. So visit your garden every day, pruning it and watering it for new growth in the Spirit. Plant additional testimonies, promises, and expectations, and share these with others and let them taste the fruit of all these seeds. The garden of your heart is yours to cultivate and care for, to plant/sow and then reap the harvest of being in the Presence of the Lord. Visit it daily, experiencing and enjoying Jesus anew, day by day. And may your garden grow, forever nourished by the Living Water that flows through your heart.
Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.