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Training your heart to see

Mike Connell

You just went there and for a moment you forget about everything around you and you're there as though you were back there really. You see, you can feel that kind of experience happening inside you and it brings great pleasure. There are other things you don't want to remember because to go back and to picture them may be very painful. They may be traumatic images, but if you haven't restored or healed your soul, haven't let Jesus do that, those images are still in there and a lot of people don't want to stop and have a think too long, because some of those images come back up. So we have to be able to deal with that if we're going to cleanse this part of us for opening our mind to God. We can imagine the present. Most of us when we imagine the present, you begin to think about something and then before long you're thinking about what could happen in that and you start to get very anxious.

So maybe you stop for a moment and the moment you start to pray, immediately your mind goes and you're thinking about your work situation, how difficult it is, or a relationship problem and you begin to think about it. Before you know it you're away there in your imagination, holding a conversation with someone. You've gone. You've gone from where we are and you're in your imagination. You're actually out in a place and thinking about things you're facing or are around you. It can lead to a tremendous anxiety, and a lot of people who struggle with anxiety and have panic attacks, they're allowing their imagination to run away and to picture a very negative future. So your imagination has a huge impact on you. It affects your brain, it affects your body. You begin to imagine for example, begin to just think of a food that you really like and just as you close your eyes begin to think of that food and see yourself sitting down to begin to - there it is, it's right - oh my! Oh look at that, the hokey pokey ice cream and strawberries. I'm getting hungry already. [Laughter]

And you can just for a moment just go away and it's almost like your connection to what's around you and the people around you diminishes, and your awareness of what's in your imagination can increase. So your imagination is very, very important. God [over in the area of the Bible 00.31.50] speaks consistently, for example with Abraham when He wanted to birth faith in Abraham's heart. He said Abraham, every day when you go out look up at the stars. That's how many children you're going to have. I know your circumstances are very bad right now, and I know your wife's getting really old and I know you are too and there's not much happening between you. But however look up at those stars because I want you to get something in your imagination: lots of kids. Then in the day time He'd say I want you to look at the sand, a lot of sand around.

So he stirred his imagination to picture his future, so we can imagine our future. You can make a plan and imagine your future, so you may plan a holiday. You get the brochure and you sit there, you're oh, sitting on the beach in Fiji [unclear 00.32.36], oh my! And it's always for a little bit you just away you go into that - or you may have a project and so you're trying to do something. You stop and you begin to think about that project and you're working it all out and it's being designed in your head. So you notice that the things that you imagine are actually the things that for the most part turn up in your life, so you think about it. You build a house, you imagine the house first. You're going to repair a room in the house or renovate a room in the house, you always imagine it before you do it. Before the world came in to being God imagined it, saw it in a picture form and then called it and made it happen, so what we see, whether it's been made by someone or whether it's actually created by God, all of it started in imagination.

So your imagination connects the physical world with the realm of the spirit; what is unseen can come into the physical world through the doorway of your imagination. That's why your imagination is very important and I want to show you just a couple of simple things you can do to harness your imagination and then a discipline you can develop in your life that will help you in your engaging with God at a personal level. [I'll show you, 00.33.46] it's quite simple and I'll just use the scripture to help you do it and very, very simply. So our imagination is incredibly important. Think about this. Jesus said in Matthew 5, He said if a man looks on a woman to lust after here, then he has already committed adultery in his heart. So during the period where he's lusting he's in his imagination, so maybe it's in pornography or maybe it's in some fantasy and the way the mind goes.