Whenever Mark and I receive one of God's Beloveds into our home to participate with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in an Inner Healing session, one of the most important factors in the success of that session is the Beloved's theology. What does he or she understand about God? Since there are always underlying experiences in a person's life that have led to spiritual pain and wounds, it is paramount that we all comprehend the "spiritual mechanics" by which both the Most High God and our Adversary operate.
Most of us are familiar with Paul's exhortation in Ephesians 6 to "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil... and in all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one." And just what are those flaming darts? How do they affect us, and how do we extinguish them?
I want to start off by saying that I am not alone in contending that our minds are a battleground. In fact, many books by prominent Christians have been written on the subject. And how many of us can identify with this statement: I know that I have fears concerning _____, and whenever a thought about it pops into my head, I am soon imagining all kinds of bad things happening, before it even starts!" That's how a fiery dart works. And it can serve to keep you in bondage to fear, guilt, shame, anger, self-rejection or any other of the many accusations the Enemy lodges against you.
I wholeheartedly agree with Walter Brueggemann, who is an Old Testament scholar
and theologian who is widely considered one of the most influential Old
Testament scholars of the last several decades. He wrote: “The key pathology of our time, which seduces us all, is the reduction
of the imagination, so that we are too numbed, satiated, and co-opted to
do serious imaginative work.” We are told that we can't trust our imaginations; that we open ourselves to deception when we use our imaginations. "Guided Imagery" has become the catchphrase of those Christians who think employing our imaginations in spiritual matters is a slippery slope. NOTE: I will agree that man's human imagination is subject to being corrupted when not empowered by and engaged with the Holy Spirit. But that's not what I'm talking about here.
So let me ask you this ... doesn't our imagination play a huge part in our relationship and revelation of God? Here's how I see it ... YHWH is a Creator God, and from His mind He created the universes and all that is in them, including us. We are made in His image. We resemble Him. We may not have His Divine mind, but we are a reflection of His mind/intellect and the freedom that accompanies it. That's why man can create things, too: art, music, and plays for instance. And why we can tell you the color of our spouse's eyes; visualize the snow-capped Rockie Mountains; and describe the brilliance of an ocean sunset -- when we are not in any of their presence!
And you want to know why it is imperative that Christians use their imaginations? Because we worship "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see" (1 Timothy 6:15-16). Can you honestly tell me that you have never used your imagination when worshiping or "thinking upon" Jesus? Even if you only picture a familiar rendition of what He looked like, you must use your imagination to see that image in your mind.
The dictionary defines the word imagination this way: the action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. And this is exactly the purpose behind Jesus using parables to teach His disciples. He was challenging them to lead a new way of life by hearing His "story", thinking about it, and applying it. It is impossible to understand the Parable of the Sower without using your imagination to "see" the different types of ground and what happened to the planted seed in each of the scenarios, and what that might mean in your faith walk.
And that is how your imagination can be used in receiving Inner Healing. When we ask Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be present, the Beloved can picture what was once a wounding experience and see it as a healing event when Jesus walks into that experience. We know that He was there ... He told us that He would never leave us nor forsake us. So by seeing the reality of that truth -- instead of the lie the Enemy has been telling you all these years -- God allowed it to happen; God didn't care about what you were going through; God abandoned you in that moment -- the Beloved can receive a new image of that experience in the Light of God's love. What Satan once used to keep the Beloved in bondage is now seen as an act of being set free! The devil can no longer torment the Beloved in that memory because the pain of that wound has been replaced by the presence of Jesus in the memory and then sealed with His blood. What was once an open, painful sore in the mind, heart and spirit is now a scar; and scars don't hurt.
In conclusion, I want to say this about using our imaginations to hear from God. One of the most beautiful and inspiring Psalms in the Bible is Psalm 23. Strictly speaking [and without using our imagination] we can say it is a poem about God caring for us the way a shepherd cares for his sheep. But I can, in no way, discern the immeasurable love and power of God in those six short verses without using my imagination. Yes, my spirit can recognize the truth of the words, but it is my God-given imagination that allows my human mind to picture the green pastures and still waters of His provision and peace; my God-given imagination that speaks to my human heart that I have nothing to fear -- not even Death; and it is my God-given imagination that extracts the truth my spirit already knows ... I have an eternal inheritance awaiting me.
So, I will end with this thought ... Yes, we can know about Christ and God and the Holy Spirit by sticking strictly to the written Word and understanding it with our logical and reasoning mind. But to know Them is a different story. Knowing about Them and knowing Them are too different things. And I believe that we were created to tap into the creativity of the Godhead by using our imagination, the gateway into Their Presence. It is my prayer that you will reflect upon God and His goodness towards us, being open to revelations that God wants to share with you. Ask Him to sanctify your mind unto His and to use your imagination to glorify Him in the world. You do not have because you do not ask. It's time to ask.
Philippians 4:7 "Then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ". [As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.”]