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The Power of Imagination: Unlocking Your Ability to Receive from God
by Andrew Wommack
Learn More | Meet Andrew Wommack
Imagination is the dynamo, the power source of life. But most people don’t understand its importance. They don’t understand that God built imagination into our makeup. Psalm 103:14 says:
- For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
The same Hebrew word that was translated “frame” in this verse was translated "imagination" or "imaginations" five times in the Old Testament (Gen. 6:5, 8:21; Deut. 31:21; 1 Chr. 28:9, and 29:18). Our imagination is the frame or spine of our existence. It’s the doorway to our potential and affects the way we view life (Prov. 23:7). But people relegate imagination to the realm of childhood fantasy. They underestimate its influence in their lives and try to receive from God without first activating their imaginations.
When Jamie and I started out in ministry, the Lord gave us a vision of reaching multitudes—of touching people all over the world. And though we knew that this was God’s will for our lives, there was very little evidence suggesting it would come to pass. People stayed away from our meetings by the thousands. We struggled to find traction. It was frustrating. Then, in 2002, the Lord spoke to me from Psalm 78 and told me I was limiting Him by my small thinking. You see, even though I knew God’s will for my life, I could not see myself doing it. I couldn’t see myself standing in front of thousands of people or influencing millions on television. I couldn’t imagine people speaking my name in the same breath as other ministers who had impacted the world. And because I couldn’t see it, I didn’t. The Lord showed me that in order to fulfill His will for my life, I had to change the way I thought. I had to start using my imagination.
Your imagination is like your spiritual womb. It’s your creative center. Genesis 11 records the account of the tower of Babel. As the ancient population grew and began spreading out upon the earth, the people gathered on the plains of Babylon. There, they devised a plan to make a name for themselves (Gen. 11:4) and to reach heaven.
- And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
- Genesis 11:5-6, emphasis added
That’s amazing! The imagination of this unregenerate people so threatened God’s plan for mankind, He had to put a stumbling block in front of them—by dividing their language—to slow them down and give His plan time to work out. God saw their imagination as a threat to His plan for man. Wow!
Imagination is powerful. It is the first step in doing. If you can imagine something, you can do it. Yet many Christians don’t understand this. Believers all over the world pray for healing and never experience it. They pray for prosperity but never receive it. Why? Because they don’t know how to use a godly, positive imagination. They don’t see themselves healed. They don’t see themselves prosperous.
If you want to see God’s will for your life come to pass, if you want to reach your full potential, you need to understand both the power of your imagination and the correct way to use it.
What Is Imagination
According to the Houghton Mifflin American Heritage Electronic Dictionary, the word imagination means “the process or power of forming a mental image of something not real or present.” Many people confuse imagination with vision. But vision is “a mental image produced by the imagination” (HMAHED). You can’t have vision without an imagination. And while these words might be used interchangeably sometimes, I want to focus on imagination—the ability to see what isn’t present.
Most adults associate imagination with childishness. They’ve been taught that using their imagination or believing in something they cannot see is fantasy. This same dictionary calls fantasy an “illusion” or “a delusion,” a “whimsical notion,” or “a daydream.” Just look at the definition of the word delusion: “a false belief held in spite of invalidating evidence.” Fantasy isn’t real. It isn’t based on validating evidence. But imagination is real.
Imagination is the ability to see with the mind what you cannot see with the eyes. If I were to ask you how many windows were in your childhood home, I bet you’d know, even though you probably never counted them. Thanks to your imagination, your mind’s eye can recreate your childhood home and walk you through it room by room.
Whether you realize it or not, you use your imagination every day. You use it to remember where you parked your car or to give someone directions. You can’t live without imagination. If I were to say the word dog to you, you wouldn’t picture the letters D-O-G in your mind. Instead, your mind would bring up a picture of a dog. If you owned a little white dog, that’s probably the picture you would see. But I could change your picture with my words. If I said the words big black dog, your picture would change.
Imagination helps you “see” what can’t be seen. It creates the pictures in your mind that help you remember, read, and plan. But imagination can only work with the information you give it—good or bad, right or wrong (Luke 6:45). If you fill your imagination with the garbage of this world, that’s what it will produce. But if you renew your mind to the truth of the Word, your imagination will help you receive from God (Rom. 12:2).
If I had the space, I could go through almost every main character in the Bible and show how each one used their imagination to receive from God. When the Lord spoke to Abram (before his name was changed to Abraham) in Genesis, God told him to leave his father’s house and go to a land he would later inherit (Gen. 12:1). Abram couldn’t see the land God spoke of; he didn’t know from experience that it would be a good land. As far as we know, he’d never traveled any farther than Haran (Gen. 11:31). So, why did Abram leave everything he knew? I believe it was because the Lord’s words engaged his imagination.
Abram’s imagination was essential in his ability to receive from God—and thus become Abraham. And so is yours. You cannot accidentally accomplish God’s will for your life. A while back, I received an email from a lady who works at one of our Bible college campuses. She was praising the Lord and thanking me, saying, “I was made for what I’m doing. This is exactly where God wants me to be.” Sadly, most people can’t say that. They don’t know God’s will for their lives. They don’t have a vision—a mental image—of their future. They’re like water, just going with the flow, following the path of least resistance. But any old fish, even a dead one, can float downstream.
When the Lord spoke to Abram and told him to go, Abram didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t know what life would look like outside Haran, but he started out anyway. Abram had a vision of a better inheritance than what Ur or Haran could provide, and as he sought the Lord, Abram’s imagination began working. As he traveled the land, Abram saw himself owning it. He saw his descendants living there. His imagination produced a vision that became clearer and clearer the farther he got from Ur.
I believe this is why the Lord gave Abraham the promise that his seed would be as numerous as “the dust of the earth" (Gen. 13:16) and “the stars" (Gen. 15:5). Every day Abraham had dust on his feet, and every night he looked at the stars. These things kept God’s promise constantly in front of him and helped quicken his imagination.
Abraham’s vision was like a roadmap for his life. Think of it. If you were traveling from Colorado to New York, you’d want a map—an idea or picture of where you were going. Without one, any old road would do. But not any old road will get you where you want to go in life.
Most Christians don’t have a clear vision for their lives. They cannot see God’s will. But instead of seeking the Lord and engaging their imaginations like Abraham did, they let the circumstances of life push them around. They leave a good church and the support system of friends and family to move cross-country for a hundred-dollar raise. They spend thousands on medicines that help them cope with sickness and disease. They mortgage their future to buy boats they won’t use and extra televisions they don’t need. They settle for less than God’s best.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish." Vision, or the image produced in your imagination, gives you hope for the future. Without it, you’ll never fulfill God’s plan for your life. Circumstances will divert you, hardship will steal from you, and you’ll quit. In the fifty years since God called Jamie and me into the ministry, there have been many opportunities for us to quit. We’ve dealt with poverty and slander and have lost relationships, but vision kept us going. When I was spit on and threatened at gunpoint, when people lied about me, when people called the ministry a cult, it would have been easy to say, “This isn’t worth the effort.” Instead, I let my vision motivate me. I encouraged myself by focusing on what God told me to do, and now it’s paying off!
A person’s vision will sustain them when everything around them seems contrary.
Do you have a vision—a hope-filled picture of the future? Does that picture match God’s picture for you? The good news is, regardless of the decisions you’ve made or how far off course you find yourself, God is better than any GPS system. If you’ve made a wrong turn or gotten off track, He can get you back on. But you’ll need the power of your imagination.
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