Reflections: The Sanctified Imagination

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2

Much effort is required to rescue someone, say, from exploitation. Yet the rescue is just the beginning of a new journey. A longer process of healing is needed to lift psychological and emotional weights.

This illustrates sanctification, the journey of transformation that follows salvation. Sanctification means “to grow in grace”. Like a sunflower turns its face towards its namesake, we must also grow to face God and walk into our future with eyes fixed on him.

Transformation begins in the mind. Actions stem from thought patterns: we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we contemplate sin, allow fantasy to take root, or dwell in the past, we entertain deception. Our thinking must be sanctified because 90% of the time, we use our minds as weapons against ourselves.

For lack of a sanctified imagination, one is susceptible to suffering. Falsehood takes root subtly in unguarded minds. Nostalgia can idolize the past instead of trusting in goodness for the days to come. Old pain can distract us from present opportunity, fostering helplessness. Refusing negative thought patterns is part of sanctification.

Without a sanctified imagination, the church has only the world to imitate. It will reproduce bland facsimiles of worldly art, education, economics, relationships, and governance. It follows suit instead of setting an example.

God desires a child-like church that believes anything is possible. Embrace godly imagination: Jesus said to pray for heaven on earth. Is the church dreaming big enough? Some decline the invitation to pray for the impossible, opting instead for safe yet stifling religious principles and platitudes. However, God’s business is doing the impossible. Religion and intellect have not saved humanity and we are not any closer today than before. Saving humanity is God’s domain, and he lives in us. The impossible is nothing.

The prophet Joel wrote that in the end times, God’s people will see visions and dream dreams, presumably ones that will change the world. If the church seeks to carry out God’s plans, it needs the barriers down. The book of Acts references Joel’s prophecy, which the early church lived out, and saw miracles become commonplace. Our imagination must grow in grace or we will resist God instead of dreaming with Him.

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