Imaginations, Good or Bad?

by Rayola Kelley

Q:  In the beginning of one of your newsletters, it says that the second front of the battle is the imagination. I struggle with this in my situation (which is beyond my control), where it seems I am wasting my life. Finding my potential in the Lord, going to school, and finding a godly woman to start a family. I find myself day dreaming on these things a lot, especially the later. Is this bad? 

A: Destructive imaginations are those that have been perverted. Perverted imaginations will always cause people to become indifferent to present reality. There are two ways to pervert imaginations: living in fantasies and pornography.

      The main reason people operate in fantasies and pornography is because they want a different reality, however, the fruits that come from these two different arenas vary. After all, we can direct the outcome of fantasies on the screen of our minds. They can cause such feelings as happiness, but there is no reality to them. Add the reality of life, human nature, and circumstances and all such fantasies can go up in the smoke of disillusionment. Unrealized fantasies often end in torment of what could be, but may never be.

      Pornography will often end in obsession with the profane and complacency toward present reality. It causes the imagination to swing from the branches of fleshly, sensationalistic ecstasy. Such ecstasy begins to drive the person to act out the imagination to experience the anticipated results. However, the experience never measures up to the expectation, leaving one feeling empty, resulting in frustration and anger.         

      You are making reference to dreams. Everyone has dreams about their future. However, there are different types of dreams. There are dreams that are in touch with the present pursuits being realized in the future. For example, one of my dreams (goals) for many years was to finish my books. Each day I have moved towards seeing my dream come true and it has according to the grace of God.

      It is important to point out that God puts desires in our heart, but we must look to Him to keep them in perspective and to bring them about according to His timing and will. We must also realize He is the only One that brings such dreams forth, but they will always be for His glory and not for our self-serving expectations. 

      The other type of dream is detached from reality. It finds its inspiration in the imagination. Our imagination can pervert these dreams in a negative way because they can become useless fantasy. Even though such dreams might give a person some hope or pleasure, the end of such hope and comfort is grave disappointment because life will always throw curveballs our way.

      This is why the Bible tells us what to think upon in Philippians 4:8. What we think on will determine the attitude we take on in our present situation. It will also determine how we view and handle our present reality. However, to discipline what we think upon, we must first bring all of our thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Our thought life must be properly channeled by the reality of Christ and His design for our life.  

      I don’t know what the Lord has in mind for you. Perhaps it is all that you dream for, but do not let such dreams become the source of your hope. Jesus is your hope. You must learn to embrace the life you have before you because it could be God’s way of preparing you for the challenges that will come when you have the opportunity to pursue the desires of your heart. Keep in mind two important things: when God has His way in a matter, life is never wasted, and unless He ordains a matter, the best of dreams will end in a total nightmare.

      You must discern the origin of your dreams and where your hope ultimately comes to rest upon. If it is on the actual idea of the dream, then most likely you will end up disillusioned, but if it comes to abiding rest in Christ, you will learn how to trust each day and your future to the One who holds it all in His hands.