The Good, The Bad and God-sent Imagination

This morning I was reading my devotional in Table Talk. I was not really surprised to see the Holy Spirit illuminating truths about imagination. I love the way God repeats Himself. He is loathe to let us miss anything important. How many times did Jesus say, “Truly, truly,” (translated: listen!). How often do you read, “If you will obey my commandments things will go well with you,” and didn’t God list the 10 commandments at least twice?

Here’s a quote from Table Talk:

Will you let an unsanctified imagination stir up potential scenarios that argue you  out of obedience to the Scriptures and the Spirit’s promptings? The good news is that the gospel invites us into the freedom, joy and confidence of if God.

Here is the dangerous side of imagination – it’s like a little kid in the dark – all the big, bad, terrible possibilities are out to get you! My story: For years, my number one fear was getting fat. The rabid thoughts of anorexia were loose in my mind, where I allowed them to run rampant. They took my imagination hostage and began to produce lies like, “If I eat what the dietician is telling me, I’ll wake up 100 lbs. heavier.” “My parents have finally given me up for dead, they don’t care anymore.” “If I don’t run 50 miles this week, I won’t be able to run 5 next week – I’ll be instantly fat and lazy.”

What’s your story? Has an unsanctified imagination begun to spread fearful lies in your head like, “With the economy sinking so fast, we’re going to be destitute.  I’m failing to care for my family.” “If I don’t have a career outside the home, I’m worthless, just a baby-feeder.” “Until I lose 15 lbs. I shouldn’t even be seen in public, let alone in shorts or a swimsuit.” “I will be lonely forever.”

But, there’s a wonderful element to imagination, too. That’s what Michael Card’s book, “Luke, The Gospel of Amazement,” is all about.

Another quote from Table Talk:

“The longer you play it safe and avoid risk and the potential of loss, the more you will accept the present and lose your capacity to dream about and shape the future. When you give your fears more authority than the Spirit of God, all chance of God-exalting valor and generational impact is lost.”

Simply put, to know Jesus requires an imagination. Isn’t creation incredible? Could you dream up the gospel story if you tried? It is going to require a big, creative imagination to accept what God has planned for us – no eyes has seen what God has planned for us – God has an imagination! (Is. 64:4) I believe that the gospels, God’s good news, incredible good news, enhances our imagination.  Seriously, can you believe, can you imagine that God would send His own Son to die for us and redeem us to Himself?

Imagination proposes itself as IF, WHAT IF? Let God answer you,

“If God is for us, then who can be against us? He who did not spare His own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32

“if God so clothes the grass, which is alive today and is tomorrow thrown into the fire, how much more will He cloth you?” Luke 12:28

What is a “Good” Person?

It’s a common cultural assumption that there is value in being a good person. Indeed, there is value in being well behaved: you will have more friends that if you’re ugly, you will likely stay out of jail, others will usually be good to you and other obvious benefits. But, contrary to this common cultural assumption, there is NO LIFE-SAVING value in being a good person.

Watch this:

This morning I was reading “Table Talk”  a devotional magazine published by Ligonier Ministries. Dr. Sproul explained concisely the impossibility and worthlessness of being a good person prior to faith in Jesus Christ.

“[The] desire to please God is a mark of conversion, and the Bible finds it inconceivable that any regenerate person would lack a desire to please the Lord. Some people might consider an emphasis on our need to do what pleases God incompatible with the gospel of justification by faith alone. Indeed, a stress on pleasing the Lord would be improper if we were to believe that we must please God before He will save us. Our best deeds fall far short of our Creator’s perfect standards, so pleasing Him is not our ticket to heaven. But it is not inconsistent to seek to please the Lord following salvation. In fact, a desire to please God is the necessary and inevitable consequence of the new birth.” (Table  Talk, August 24, 2011)

Christians aren’t always good people, in fact, unfortunately, Christians are often (rightly) held to a higher standard of morality and fall disgracefully short. Good people aren’t necessarily Christians.  Christians are the worthless sinners who have recognized their need for a savior and have recognized Jesus Christ as that perfect, righteous Savior. AFTER believing Jesus, it is a Christian’s reliance on Him that enables goodness. And it is AFTER believing in Jesus that God requires a life that is a worthy representation of His Son.