Devotional Series: Imagination: Redeemed and Redemptive

A woman outside in a park painting a picture of the flowers surrounding her

Far More Than We Can Imagine

As we grow in the exercise of our imaginations, may we always remember that God is able to do far more than we could ever imagine. There are limits to our imaginative capacities. Yet may we also remember that the power that enables God to do more than we could ever imagine resides within us. The very Spirit of God will move in and through our imaginations to help us share in God’s redemptive work in this world, whether we’re at work or at home, in worship or in our neighborhoods, in the studio or in the soup kitchen. May our imaginations be set free to share more fully and fruitfully in God’s mission in the world.

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A sign on a city street reading "DON'T GIVE UP"

Hopeful Imagination

Hopeful imagination comes not from our personal effort to “look on the bright side” or “have a good attitude.” Rather, we can imagine the goodness of God’s future because God has revealed it to us, however incompletely. Moreover, when we find it hard to hope, the Spirit of God helps us, praying for us and inspiring our imaginations to “see” the goodness of God’s future.

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A beautiful sunrise over a beach with birds flying through the air

Imagine There’s a Heaven

When we imagine that there is a heaven, when we envision the day when God’s justice has rolled down completely, when the earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord, when all of our brokenness has been healed, when God’s peace fills the earth, and when the world does indeed “live as one,” to quote John Lennon, we are inspired and compelled to live today in light of the future that permeates our imagination. We will be committed to “livin’ life in peace” today because we look forward to the all-encompassing peace of God’s heavenly future.

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A rainbow of crayola crayons standing upright in front of a brown box

How Thinking Differently Can Unleash Your Imagination

If you wish to develop your imagination, by all means “think differently.” Be willing to think in new ways, to take risks, to unleash your imagination. Let the Spirit of God transform your thinking so that you might not be conformed to this world. As you do this, find companions who are willing to support you and encourage your creativity. Moreover, let your imagination be molded and inspired by the God whose “thoughts are not your thoughts.”

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A single red rose blooming against a grey wall

How Solitude Can Unleash Your Imagination

No matter how busy our lives might be, all of us would benefit from setting aside even a modest amount of time for solitude. When we’re by ourselves, like Jesus, we’re not really alone. Rather, we’re away from people so we might draw near to God. As we do, our imaginations will be unleashed so that we might participate creatively in God’s work in the world.

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A country road and cornfield with storm clouds and a sunset

How Worship Can Unleash Your Imagination

Feel awe in the presence of natural wonders. Marvel at the glowing beauty of a sunset. Feel stunned by the power of a thunderstorm. Wonder that you are dwarfed by the majesty of lofty mountains. All of these sources of awe reflect the power and glory of God. But don’t stop with feeling awe in response to God’s creation. Rather, let your worship open your imagination to the presence and power of God, whose awesomeness dwarfs everything in the universe.

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A group of people gathered around a campfire at night

Leave the Campfire

Fear can bind up our imaginations. Fear of the unknown, of the disapproval of others, of what we cannot control ties down our creative capacity. But knowing that God is with us sets us free from fear. Thus our confidence in God’s presence unleashes our imaginations.

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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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