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Imagine This

• Greg Boyd

The imagination plays a central role in the spirituality of most ancient people-groups. God is still speaking today in this way today, but we’ve lost the art of hearing because we don’t take our imagination seriously.

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The imagination plays a central role in the spirituality of many if not most ancient people-groups. In Church tradition, the imagination is referred to as the Inner Sanctum. In the Bible, God occasionally addresses people in ways that others can see and hear, but most of the time, God’s interaction with people is subjective.

God is still speaking today, but we’ve lost the art of hearing because we don’t take things happening in our imagination seriously. If you’ve never learned how to intentionally use your imagination in your relationship with God, you will likely feel no emotion in your relationship with God.

In this passage, we see that the difference between believers and non-believers resides in the fact that believers can see something in their mind – imagination – that unbelievers can’t see: The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. What we see (in our mind) determines what we become. As we behold and experience God’s love, we become more like what we see. The beauty of our relationship with God will never outrun the beauty of our mental conception of God. The beauty of Paul’s Christ-centered and cross-centered vision of God is what motivated Paul to joyfully sacrifice all he sacrificed. And this is how the kingdom is supposed to work for all of us. We’re a people who live under the compulsion of an unsurpassably beautiful mental image of God.

Everything hangs on believing and imagining God is perfect other-oriented agape love to God’s very essence is. This can be played-out out in a variety of types of imaginative spirituality, including faith, practicing the presence, prayer, worship, Bible reading, resting in Christ and receiving healing. Our imagination is woven into every spiritual practice and we must learn to pay attention to what we are imagining as we are devoting ourselves to them.


Throughout this sermon series, we took a look at how spiritual practices serve as tools for heart change and authenticity before God. To help make this more practical, each week a Woodland staff member shared about a spiritual practice that’s meaningful to them, along with tips for how you might try it out. The simple spiritual practices we covered are:

 

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Topics: Discipleship, Imagination

Sermon Series: Sermon on the Mount, Getting Real


Downloads & Resources

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Study guide
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The MuseCast: November 30


Focus Scripture:

  • 2 Corinthians 3:14-18, 4:3-6

    But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil (over the mind) is removed.

    Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing (in the mind) the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit…

    …if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing (in their mind) the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image (icon) of God… For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

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