The Bible tells us that we think with our hearts. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” Pro 23:7 If you’re believing God for a healing, then using your spiritual eyes is a must.
Today’s post is about the use of our imagination and how, when used correctly, it can pre-requisite our healing.
If you find it difficult to allow yourself to dream, I will suggest some reasons why, and then I’ll give you 5 ideas on how to use your imagination in alignment with the Word of God.
AS A MAN THINKS IN HIS HEART…..
Faith is believing before we see. So seeing ourselves well, before it manifests in the body, is a prerequisite for our healing.
When using our imaginations in this way consistently, what we’ve dwelled on mentally will sink into the heart and become our natural default.
This is so pertinent for anyone who has been unwell now for many years. It’s become so very hard to see myself the way God does – healthy, healed and whole.
Our hearts and minds are communicating to each other. Every day we are bombarded by messages from the world as well as our bodies.
One way to counter this is to be intentional with your imagination. It’s so easy, isn’t it, when symptoms are larger than life, to allow our thoughts to follow this.
“It’s not fair I have to live like this…..this illness will never go away…..the pain is horrific today….”
Everything in your body and in the world, even doctors, will tell you this is accurate and true.
But all this does, is reinforce the symptoms making healing impossible. I love the example of Abraham, who ‘ not being weak in faith, he (Abraham) did not consider his own body…’
We want to see what God wants us to see, not what the natural realm wants us to see.
We were made in God’s image and no one has a creative imagination quite like our God. Every time I visit a zoo or see pictures of animals.
What fun God had imagining and speaking these creatures into being?
I think God enjoyed imagining a giraffe, a peacock or a zebra! Picturing their patterns and colours.
Even when God saw each of us with our unique fingerprints, personalities and characteristics, this took imagination!
Let’s look at some Biblical examples, of situations where people saw with their heart in a Godly way, even though it contradicted the world’s way.
In his heart, Noah believed that it would rain. Naturally, this was ridiculous. Rain didn’t even exist at this time.
The land was and had always been dry.
But Noah used his imagination, again and again, to ‘see’ the flood, the rain, the sea level rising, the clouds in the sky…….until this image sank into his heart.
Noah therefore didn’t follow his natural senses telling him how ridiculous it was to build a boat, nor did he succumb to pleasing people.
He was able to cast down the wrong imagination even though, in the natural, it was more likely. He saw in his heart, with spiritual eyes.
In my experience, when something is just ‘mental’, it tends to not last, a bit like new Year resolutions!
For example, you may know mentally that God loves you but when it sinks into your heart, it changes you.
When something is deeply rooted in our hearts, it becomes part of who we are.
As a man (ie Noah) thinks (imagines) in his heart (that there will be a flood) he will consequently spend 100 years building a boat despite the dryness of the land and the mocking of those around him.
God told Abraham to ‘see’ himself possessing the land
The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west…. Gen 13:14
Abraham had to use the eyes of his heart, his spiritual eyes, to perceive what God was showing Him – an abundant land. At this time, in the natural, the land was pretty barren.
As a man (ie Abraham) thinks (imagines) in his heart (of God’s prosperity and blessings in the land), so is he (it will come to pass!)
We know the creative power of Words, but our Words follow the imagination of the heart first.
. . . For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks
The Biblical word for ‘to imagine’ ‘yester’ is the same verb ‘to create’. Imagination has creative power. At Creation, God created Adam from dust.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 NKJV
“Imagination is your spiritual womb. This is where the miracle starts……If you can’t see it on the inside, you can’t see it on the outside.” Andrew Wommack
God ‘saw’ Eve on the inside, before He created her. I personally believe that God saw, with His imagination, everything He created – heaven and the earth, light and dark, waters and land, living creatures, man…
This means that everything Jesus did, all the healings and miracles, He saw in His heart, prior to it’s reality in the physical.
Jesus sees the miracle in his heart first. We’re told that He only does what He ‘sees’ His father doing. John 5:19
At the wedding of Cana, Jesus didn’t see 120 gallons of water, he saw 120 gallons of wine. I believe God must have revealed this to Jesus in His Spirit first.
When Jesus saw the man with the withered hand, he didn’t see what everyone else saw. He saw the man’s hand healthy and whole. He saw it in his heart. See THE MAN WITH THE WITHERED HAND
Those at the pool of Bethesda saw a crippled man, in His heart, Jesus saw him walking around. See DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED? RESOLVE INNER CONFLICT
As a man (ie Jesus) thinks in His heart (sees what God sees), so she he (or it) be.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19
Jesus sees what God sees.
So my challenging question, to myself and to others, is what good things is God speaking to you about?
God wants you and I to use the eyes of our hearts to see what He wants us to see regarding healing.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Eph 1:18
God wants to speak into your situation with all his hopes and dreams for your future.
Our challenge is to in advance, see in our hearts, a life of health, pain-free living, abundance….etc
Everything in our world and in our life can steal our attention away from this and tell us to focus on everything that is wrong.
“We can quote verses but if the image on the inside contradicts this, you will distance yourself from what the verses say. We limit God with our small thinking” Andrew Wommack
This idea of thinking in alignment with the Word seems simple and for some people it is. For others, it is incredibly difficult.
1. WRONG IMAGES
Several years ago, I visited a couple in church whose child was very ill in hospital. This couple, who of course were very well meaning, sent a photo of their child to various prayer groups
The picture of the child was one that represented ‘death’. The poor little boy had all sorts of tubes covering him. I politely suggested that it might be wiser to post a photo of their child full of life and vitality.
This was the healthy image that people’s minds could attach to when praying. We want our thoughts and imaginations to follow God’s perspective – God doesn’t see a sick child, He sees the child healthy, healed and whole.
As a man (those praying) thinks (of the desired outcome in alignment with the Word) in his (their) heart, so shall it be.
2. TOXIC THOUGHTS
Let’s say you’re speaking God’s Word for healing over your life in prayer or declaration, but the rest of the day you’re thinking (imagining) how awful your future is going to be, then you’ve just countered the Scripture, that’s why the visual images we have in our minds are so important.
Joel Osteen says ‘You can’t expect victory if you keep thinking defeat’
If this is you, I wonder if you could keep a track on your thoughts and it sounds as though you may have programmed yourself to think the same patterns in different contexts.
Often we don’t even know we’re thinking them, they are our natural default.
We call this negative automatic thoughts and you will need to renew your mind by replacing the old patterns and faulty belief systems with new ones. This is easier said than done.
These belief systems are our comfort zones because our thoughts will automatically default down the path well travelled.
In this instance, those wrong thoughts are rooted in the person’s heart and are unconsciously directing him. Unfortunately we all have them!
Our job is to create new pathways, which is what this post is all about.
3. DYSREGULATED NERVOUS SYSTEM
If you’ve experienced a lot of trauma or your illness has been chronic for many years, the chances are, your nervous system is dysregulated.
This means that you’re probably living in either the Fight/flight state of your system, or the Dorsal shut down state.
When both of these states occur simultaneously, our system enters a Freeze state.
If this is the case, then using our imagination in the right direction is more challenging because the Ventral part of the nervous system either switches off or takes a back seat, for most of the day, even if you are seemingly ‘functioning’.
Polyvagal theory, a modality I trained in a few years ago, teaches us that ‘Story follows State’.
This means that our thoughts and imaginations follow the state we’re already in. This is the mind-body loop.
If you are in Fight/Flight mode, then your thoughts follow suit and will be aligned with frustration, anger, aggression, fear or anxiety.
We may think ‘worst-case scenario’ or ‘what-if’ thoughts that appear so incredibly real.
The part of your brain that thinks rationally, the prefrontal cortex, is unable to function in the moment.
Basically, the emotional part of your brain is running the show. That’s why we worry or experience anxiety.
Using imagination in a healthy and faith-filled way seems impossible, especially when you are experiencing a trigger.
If you struggle to stay in the present moment, then that is a clear sign you are dysregulated.
There is scientifically proven evidence showing us that what we imagine in our minds creates neural pathways in the brain.
We want to prime our brains to receive good things.
If you have experienced a lifetime of stress or trauma, your brain is hardwired to expect and receive more of the same.
This is the same principle, of ‘what we focus on grows’. The more we ‘see’ ourselves being sick forever, the stronger the neural pathway is reinforcing it.
“When you bring attention to what you do what, you immediately begin to generate the positive chemicals that nourish your cells and create a higher emotional state” Dr Kim D’Eramo.
“In the positive emotional state, the mind is able to process information more easily and opens to new insights and creative solutions you previously could not see…”
By using our imaginations, we can start to create new pathways and over time, we begin to expect and believe more or the good things because we have now primed our brains to receive them.
You are changing the hardwiring of your brain!
Some Practical Ideas:
1. CREATE A VISION BOARD
What are you believing God for? A career…a family…to be able to run….holidays…
Could you find pictures from magazines that represent this? Make a collage of all the things that you would love in your life and future.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Eph 3:20
Notice that God asks us to imagine first.
Now I recognise this isn’t faith. Faith only comes by hearing the Word of God. However, we need hope before faith. Faith is the substance of things we hope for…
We are visual beings and think in pictures. How can you hope for something without ‘seeing’ it first?
Please don’t confuse this with the law of attraction or any other new-age modality. I don’t think believing God for a mercedes Benz or to win the lottery or any such material gains. We must ensure that what we imagine in is alignment with the Word of God.
Sifting stands for Sensation, Image, Feeling, Thoughts and is an activity I do with my clients.
I ask them to think of a memory that means a lot to them. It could be a favourite holiday, the birth of a baby or even Christmas morning as a child, then give it a name.
The idea is to ‘recreate’ the memory once again, incorporating the feelings, images, sensations and thoughts.
This releases DOSE into your nervous system. Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins.
The power of such hormones counters any cortisol or adrenaline (stress hormones) that amplifies symptoms and contributes to illness.
If you’ve had a significant amount of trauma in your system, this may be unrealistic. It is common for those with childhood trauma to not remember ‘happy’ memories.
This is ok.
Can you imagine something in your future?…A wedding day? A forest walk or a swim in the sea?
Sometimes I picture myself dancing with Jesus on a beach in the waves.
One idea I do is to record the memory (or future dream) on the phone, then you can listen to it regularly. I also enhance the recording by looking at images of beaches, forests, at the same time as I sift.
As a man thinks (about good memories or future dreams) in his heart, he will produce those happy hormones contributing to nervous system regulation, essential for our healing.
3. BIBLICAL SIFTING
Can you picture yourself in Bible? For example
Imagine you’re the woman with the issue of blood:
- What sensations did she have when she touched Jesus’ hem?
- Can you imagine what she could see – the images
- Imagine feeling the relief and freedom of her healing.
- What did she think afterwards?
As a man (the woman with the issue) thinks in his (her) heart, so is she (healed and whole).
4. BIBLICAL MEDITATION
Choose a verse each day to meditate on. As you do so, what pictures come to your mind?
Can you imagine receiving this promise?
“By His stripes, I was healed” Can you imagine being healed? What does it look like? What will you be doing?
“In His presence, is fullness of joy” Can you picture yourself in God’s presence. How does it feel? Are you laughing? Smiling? Dancing?
5. USING IMAGINATION IN WORSHIP
What is going on in your mind when you are worshipping?
For example, take the hymn “Burdens are lifted at Calvary….Jesus is very near”
I imagine the very burden of the moment, whether it’s symptoms in my body or something else that is bothering me, and as I sing these words I picture Calvary and imagine the Lord taking them from me. Then I see him right next to me.
How do you use your imagination? Do you picture yourself well?
Just think of the difference in your world if you start to create new pathways in the brain that invite and expect nothing less than the abundant life Jesus died to give you.
Could you imagine you’re the leper who approached Jesus, Bartimaeus or the woman bowed down?
Can you see yourself living a full life again? If you can’t see it on the inside, you won’t see it on the outside.
I hope this encourages and excites you today
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