Devotional Series: Imagination: Redeemed and Redemptive

Purple neon lights spelling out "FREEDOM"

How to Liberate Your Imagination: A Personal Example

No matter the particular challenges you’re facing today, whether at work or at home, in your relationships or in your community, in your leadership or your discipleship, God’s Spirit is at work in you, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom: freedom to imagine, freedom to dream, freedom to fail, freedom to confess, freedom to grow, freedom to serve others with vision and compassion.

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A light bulb lying on a multicolored circuit board

How to Liberate Your Imagination

No matter the particular challenges you’re facing today, whether at work or at home, in your relationships or in your community, in your leadership or your discipleship, God’s Spirit is at work in you, helping to liberate your imagination so that you might live and lead with greater freedom, vision, fruitfulness, and joy.

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A person standing on a beach at sunset holding out a glass globe that inverts the horizon

The Redemptive Imagination of Jesus, Part 4

How open are you to being surprised by Jesus and his plans for your life? If Jesus were to call you to something you did not expect, how would you respond? What would hold you back? What would encourage you to speak and live an unequivocal “Yes” to Jesus?

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Saint Peter statue outside the Basilica, Vatican, Rome

The Redemptive Imagination of Jesus, Part 3

Jesus sees us as we are, with mercy. Jesus sees us as we shall be, with confident hope. The redemptive imagination of Jesus sets us free from self-doubt and shame so that we might become all that God intends for us.

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An old fishing boat floating on the water

The Redemptive Imagination of Jesus, Part 2

The example of Jesus challenges us to consider how we picture the people in our lives. Do we use our imaginations to see people’s potential? Or do we see them in a rather static way? And if we see their potential, do we help them to grow? Or do we keep them in their place if it serves our own interests?

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A silhouette representation of the Prodigal Son and his father

The Redemptive Imagination of Jesus, Part 1

There is certainly a time and place for didactic language, for explanations and demonstrations, for elucidation and evidence. But the power of imaginative story can take the truth from our heads to our hearts, and from our hearts into our daily lives. We experience this power as we hear the parable of Jesus known as The Prodigal Son.

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Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd.], 8/28/1963

A Recent Example of Redemptive Imagination

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., expressed his “dream” on the steps of the Lincoln Monument in 1963, he was inspired by the redemptive imagination of Isaiah. Dr. King’s example shows us how Scripture can shape our own imaginations and motivate us to participate in God’s redemptive work in the world.

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Beautiful mountains and trees in the Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada

Isaiah’s Redemptive Imagination, Part 3

Isaiah’s redemptive imagination helps us to see God as the one who reigns over all things. As we worship, our own imaginations are expanded and inspired. As theologian James K.A. Smith writes, “Christian worship shapes our orientation to the world precisely by priming and calibrating our imagination.” Through worship we come to a deeper and truer experience of God the King, which shapes everything we do in life.

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A small crucifix lying on a table

Isaiah’s Redemptive Imagination, Part 2

The example of Isaiah shows us that when God stirs up our imaginations in redemptive ways, we may very well “see” what we have never before envisioned. We may learn that God wants to use us in ways we would have considered unlikely, undesirable, or even impossible. Yet, we will also discover that our God-inspired imaginations will lead us to participate more fully and fruitfully in the redemptive work of God in the world.

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A small country church against the night sky with a glowing neon cross on top

Isaiah’s Redemptive Imagination, Part 1

We are inspired and instructed by the redemptive vision of Isaiah as we seek to live under the authority of the one who is our “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The more we let this vision shape how we think, feel, and live, the more we’ll be ready for God to energize our redemptive imaginations in specific ways so that we might participate in God’s redeeming work in the world.

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A man sitting in a room thoughtfully staring at his laptop

Imagination Renewed for Whole-Life Worship

If our imaginations are going to be used for good, we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As God restores our mental capacities – including our imaginations – we are able to discern God’s will with greater accuracy and clarity. Thus, we can evaluate wisely the things we imagine. And we can live each day as an act of worship to God.

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An abstract design with gold paint against a green background, with the faint image of a person's hand behind it

An Example of the Downside of Imagination

Our imaginations will dream up all sorts of things in our minds. Some will lead to blessing; others will lead to suffering. Our responsibility is to take what our imaginations conjure up and consider it in light of God’s grace and truth. We mustn’t let our lives be governed by imagination-inspired fear. Rather, we must learn to trust God in all things.

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A red, juicy apple hanging on a tree

The Downside of Imagination

God has given us the gift of imagination so that we might fulfill our divine callings to serve and glorify God in all we do. What the human imagination inspires can be wonderful. But it can also be terrible. As we see in Genesis 3, the imagination can lead us to turn away from God and God’s purposes. Thus, like the rest of us, our imagination needs to be redeemed and renewed so that it might be used for human good and God’s glory. 

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Paintbrushes, a palette, and a painting of a group of houses

The Imagination of Humanity

The God who exercised imagination in creating the universe made humanity in the divine image. Therefore, we have been given the gift of imagination. We are to use this gift as we fulfill God’s first calling to humanity, to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and exercise authority over it. Though some people are exceptionally imaginative in certain areas, all of us reflect God’s image. Therefore all of us have the opportunity to use our imaginations for good. 

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A green branch against a peaceful rural landscape

The Imagination of God

Though we may not often think in this way, Scripture shows us the imagination of God. We see this clearly in creation. God “sees” what ought to be created and then “creates” in light of this vision. God’s unique imagination fills the pages of Scripture, encouraging us to see God in a new way. 

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