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The Sanctified Imagination

• Greg Boyd

The life of faith is not really about information. It is about a dynamic relationship with the living God! We need to “set apart” our imaginations for God so that God can shape us at the level of our dreams and aspirations. God uses our imaginations as a place for us to meet Christ in a very real way so that we can understand who Christ is, and what God is calling us to.

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The life of faith is not really about information. It is about a dynamic relationship with the living God! Our faith is only as real as our relationship to the living God who knows you and relates to you even in this very moment. If you are breathing, then it is by the Spirit of God that you do so. That is no mere abstract thought! Communication of information requires that we use words and other symbols, but the reality that the words and symbols attempt to represent is much more real than the mere words and symbols themselves. Information about Christ and Christ himself are two different things. We have faith in the person of Christ, not a proposition about Christ.

Greg used the example of advertisements. If you think about it, most advertising contains very little information, but LOTS of images and sounds designed to impact you. The advertiser knows that if they can impact you with their images and sounds, you will be moved in a far more powerful way that if you simply learn some new fact about their product. We should be aware of this strategy for at least two reasons: 1. Be cautious about how your are being impacted and be intentional about countering it if you know it is not a godly impact on you. 2. Use the very same strategy to impact yourself in a way that IS godly and upbuilding!

This is where the godly use of the imagination comes in. We need to “set apart” our imaginations for God so that God can shape us at the level of our dreams and aspirations. Not only that, but God uses our imaginations as a meeting place for us to meet Christ in a very real way. When we do this “setting apart” of our minds, we are participating in the “sanctification” of our imagination. God can use this time to help us really understand who Christ is for us. If you cannot imagine it, you will never become it. A person may be the most brilliant architect, but if they lack sufficient imagination, no masterpiece building will come to be by their hands. Likewise, we may know all the right theological or biblical tidbits of information, but if we are not submitting our whole selves to God in the fullest use of our mind, our imagination, we will not be able to envision what God is calling us to next.

Consider two of the examples that Greg employed:
1. What is more powerful, reading the following words: “Jesus was beaten and crucified, he died on a cross 2000 years ago and he did it for you.” OR: simply recall the video clip from the upcoming movie: The Passion. Which of these hits you more?

2. What is more powerful, simply reading the text of Luke 15:4-7. OR: As Greg helped us do, really take some time and energy and get INTO the story with all five senses and see the image of you as a lamb in Christ’s arms, safe and secure with your Savior.

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Topics: Imagination


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 15:4-7

    4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

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