Some people are realists, others dream. I want to be both kinds of people: first I want to dream, then I want to bring reality to what I’ve seen. I have a dreambook, more popularly known as the Bible. I go to that book like I go to the bank: it is the source of funding for my heart-dreams.
Jesus understood the power of imagination and dreams. His teaching invited people to combine their thoughts with his words and imagine a world born anew. I believe this is how we should listen to the word of God: combine our imagination with his words, producing Biblical dreams of the way things are in heaven and should be on earth:
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:27-32)
Can you imagine living a life convinced of the Father’s good intentions toward you? How would such a life differ from one in which we worry about daily needs? It’s like throwing your anchor into the future. With each passing day you are pulled closer to reality, swayed less and less by the currents of this life. But hearing his words requires that we engage our imagination, and see ourselves living such a life right now. It produces hope: Godly hope sprung from a Biblically-informed imagination.
Walter Brueggemann emphasized the idea that our dreams must spring from a source other than our wants and desires. He reminds us we are not free to imagine just anything. We receive the Biblical witness and become invested in the vision. Nor do we do it alone. Brueggemann suggests that the church becomes “a place where people come to receive new materials, or old materials freshly voiced, which will fund, feed, nurture, nourish, legitimate, and authorize a counterimagination of the world.”
The Apostle Peter said it this way: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4) There is enough astonishment in these few words to change your life forever. Can you imagine a life infused with his divine power--a life where he has given us everything we need? Can you imagine the possibility that we can participate in his divine nature--merely by embracing his promises to us? Can you imagine escaping the corruption and decay of everyday life--being freed from evil desires?
The possibility of living into these possibilities begins with our imagination--an imagination funded by God’s words whispered in our ear. Our hearts are lit by our imagination. The source of that imagination makes all the difference.
Both realists and dreamers face the same questions: What is the source of your reality? Who funds your imagination? What is the source of your dreams? What dreams have you derived from God’s promises? How have those promise-dreams changed your life? I’d love to hear your story.
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