Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little?
Our imaginations are always active and continually influenced by things around us. As we grow older, we can forget how powerful they can be.
We learn in Romans 8:6,
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
In our broken world, it is easy to imagine that we are alone when we are afraid or angry or sad. It is easy to imagine that no one sees or understands or even cares about us. It’s easy to think dark thoughts in a dark world and to lose our peace.
Believers in Jesus live not only in a broken world, but also “in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Asking God to help us to set our minds on the Spirit and to “see” and be influenced by the realms of Heaven can be life changing.
I was meditating on these verses last week:
Ephesians 5:8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true, 10 as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord… 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I thought about the words over and over and asked God to make them come alive in me. He opened my imagination and I saw myself “full of darkness” before I knew Jesus. I was like the little girl in the Bible who died. Jesus came into my room where I laid dead in my bed, gently held my hand and said, “Wake up.” I sat up in my bed, awakened from the dead, and looked at Jesus smiling warmly at me. The light from His smile filled me with a light that was so bright that it shined right through me in all directions and filled the room with light.
Can you see yourself in that story? Ask Jesus to enlighten the eyes of your imagination.
“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” – Ephesians 5:8
Each day I have a choice to make. Will I walk in the darkness of the world with my mind set on fleshly things or will I live as someone filled with God’s light and presence? Will I imagine that I am alone, that no one sees me, understands, or cares about me; or will I see Jesus tenderly holding my hand, lovingly waking me from my dark death, and filling me with the bright light of His smile? Will I let that light fill me and produce “only what is good and right and true” as I try to learn “what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:9-10)?
From these verses in Ephesians, we learn that it pleases the Lord to fill us with light and what is good and right and true.
I learned in GriefShare that we can use our imaginations to facilitate healing from the flashbacks and nightmares caused by the trauma of losing a loved one by changing the ending of the story in our minds.
When our son, Joel, was attacked with an assault rifle, his life in this broken world came to an end, but his life “in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” continues forever.
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Do you believe this?
One day, I asked Holy Spirit to help heal my mind by filling my imagination with more of Joel’s story. He opened my eyes to a vision of the incredible joy on Jesus’ face as He welcomed Joel Home.
Hebrews 12:2 says,
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Welcoming Joel Home was part of the joy that helped Jesus to endure the cross. Fixing my eyes on the vision of that incredible joy on Jesus’ face helps me to endure my cross as well.
Do you desire life and peace? Which realm will you allow to influence your imagination? Where will you set your mind? Do you hear Jesus asking you to awake and rise up from the dead? Will you live as a child of the light? Will you invite God to fill you with light and what is good and right and true? Will you invite Holy Spirit to fill you with visions of Jesus as you meditate on God’s Word?
The next five verses in Ephesians 5 reveal more secrets to obtaining light and life and peace:
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.
16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.
Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These practices can make a huge difference in your life.
If you are not sure that your loved one who died was a believer and went to Heaven, I have been praying for you and created this PDF explaining how you can have life and peace when facing uncertainty: tiny.cc/peace_when_I_do_not_know
This video by one of GriefShare’s hosts may also help: https://youtu.be/1MdPHuPjGnQ