Imaginations of the Heart

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“… Do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”

~ 1 Corinthians 14:20, ESV

The human imagination is a powerful tool. This is where your inner thoughts are formed. Your imagination is where the priorities, patterns and pleasures of the soul dwell.

It is in the human imagination that your aspirations are developed, creativity exercised, dreams nurtured, and motivations revealed. In order to fully function as a thinking being, your imagination must be fed, experiencing the pleasure of a satisfied intellectual hunger. However, just like your physical body, your imagination must also be disciplined, exercised and controlled if you are going to achieve your full potential.

As a Christian, I believe that apart from Jesus Christ’s redeeming power, the human imagination is predisposed to evil; leaning naturally toward filling itself with things that are pleasurable, but not healthy. Just as physical bodies degrade if we refuse to exercise them, train them, discipline them, and care for them; the mental being degrades if we refuse to nurture them with legitimate pleasures.

Just like your physical world, your inner world is predisposed toward entropy. Without an input of energy, your mental reasoning, power of creativity, and internal motivation will begin to degrade and decline, ultimately moving into a state of disorder.

Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias challenges us to determine to allow only legitimate pleasures to rule our life. He comments:

“Anything that refreshes you, without distracting you from diminishing or destroying your final goal is a legitimate pleasure in your life… Anything that takes you away from your mission or purpose in life becomes an illegitimate pleasure.”

So how do you determine what is a legitimate pleasure for your life?

First, know yourself. Who are you in your inner being? What controls your thinking right now? Have you defined your purpose in life? Have you set the goal of who you want to become as a person? Have you committed yourself to glorify God in everything you do?

Second, have you clearly defined what brings you pleasure? Are there any pleasures that are hindering the purpose in your life? Are your thoughts only focused on what satisfies you? Are you harnessing the power of your imagination for your own pleasure, or for the good of others as well?

Finally, have you examined yourself in light of Scripture? It is the Bible that reveals the imaginations of your heart. Since imagination controls motive, conscious or unconscious, then human thinking is either controlled by emotions and will, or by the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is the tool that the Holy Spirit uses to cleanse your imagination, expose your motives, correct your actions, and stir you to righteousness.

This is the one book that will direct your pleasures so that they refresh mind and body, ultimately bringing joy in your life and glory to God.

Scriptures to consider:

  • I2 Corinthians 13:5
  • Romans 12:1 – 2
  • 1 Corinthians 11:28 – 29
Final Thoughts:

What steps are you going to take today to ensure that your imagination is being well-trained?Are you willing to honestly evaluate yourself, to see if you are allowing legitimate pleasures to shape your life?If you are not a Christian, is there anything you can find helpful in this consideration of imagination?

For Further Reading:
Imagination Redeemed by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. and Matthew P.  Ristuccia

Imagination Redeemed: Glorifying God with a Neglected Part of Your Mind

 

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