A Sanctified Imagination


Why is important to guard our imagination from immortal fantasies ?

Our God-given faculty of imagination can either beautify our lives through creativity or defile them through perversion.

“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).

Saint Gregory the Great said “If you do not delight in higher things, you most certainly will delight in lower things.“

Leanne Payne alluded to this quote and observed, “This is true of a society, a nation, a world, as well as each and every individual. We have a way of becoming (in a sense) what we set our eyes upon. The imagery really matters.” [1]

The Psalmist warned us of the denigrating effect of idolatry:

“[Idols] have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.” Psalm 115:7-8

This evaluation applies to the idolatrous use of magazines and TV/Computer screens too.

Leanne Payne further counsels, “An unhealthy fantasy life is a killer. It destroys. It wars against and annihilates the true imagination–that which can intuit the real and is therefore creative. When our minds are pregnant with illusion, with the lie that disintegrates the personality, and our eyes are set on that, we cannot be impregnated by that which is true and substantive– that was unites the personality and makes it one.” [2]

The apostle Paul gives us the remedy: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil 4:8 NKJV).

The faculty of our imagination needs to be presented to God as an instrument of righteousness (Rom. 6:12,13).

I recall a married coworker (at a secular job) saying he was free to look and lust as long as he didn’t engage in an illicit relationship. But Lester Sumrall sets the record straight: “Some people believe that ungodly and impure imaginations are wrong only when they become an act. If they hate a person and want to kill him kill him, but do not do it, it is all right. However, you will be judged by what is on the inside of your heart, even though it has not been revealed or acted upon [Matt. 5:22; Mark 4:22] … I am sure that lust is an imagination. It is an image of human fantasy. Lust terminates in the sins of moral and spiritual death. God wants us to be free from strange lusts. I urge you in the name of Jesus to keep yourself free from them.”[3]

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6 NKJV)

God invites us to enjoy the benefits of a sanctified imagination by faith. “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:17,18 NKJV)

by John Woodward

[1] Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence, 140

[2] Ibid., 141

[3] Lester Sumrall, Spirit, Soul and Body, 156,159


Header image by HeartLight.org

Published by jbwoodward

John serves as Director of Counseling and Training for Grace Fellowship International. His main article archive is GraceNotebook.com

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