Monday, December 22, 2014

Divine Light & Imaging

Now . . . at the same time, I know that having a perhaps more correct comprehension of reality or theological truths is not the same thing as being ie., a "better" Christian.  There are plenty, if not a majority of believers who care very little for maintaining a consistent systematic theological framework, yet they put to shame scholars, apologists, theologians etc., in their genuine exhibition of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, kindness, gentleness, peace, longsuffering etc.)

And we understand this:  " . . . if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."  --1Cor. 13:2

We have seen that there are even pagans and flat-out atheists who excel in gentleness and charity over some believers; and if works and being a "good person" counted toward salvation this would be significant (if one were to presume that the "fruit of the Spirit" and good works actually derived from the bearer and not from God alone.) 

But that was not my point.  Mainly, I wanted relay how I've seen it that imagination is (as a divine ability and gift) that which distinguishes animal from human mind and the greater it is, results in the mind that is able to perceive the reality of God versus the one that just can't.  A definition of imagination is:
"the faculty of imaging, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses."
The ability to love--to Godly love--is related to this.  Believing fruit--Christian character . . . is found here.  As I see it, the great trick to learning how to ie., "love your enemies" and "love your neighbor as you love yourself" is caught up in the ability to empathize; to "put yourself in another's shoes".  Again, this takes imagination.  Sociopaths, narcissists, psychopaths . . . lack empathy. Their little world is all there is and all that matters.  Others . . . are unreal to them.  They live in a narrow, flat, one-dimensional realm.  Whereas, the person who--through their mind (which is connected to their heart and emotions)--can imagine and virtually experience the pain, ignorance, suffering etc., of another, and is then able to feel real compassion and empathy for that other person. 
Another critical factor in all of this is "light. " And by that, I mean the "light of truth"; the Truth . . . Who is Light . . . (Who we know is Jesus, the Lord.)
When the Spirit of Truth indwells a person, real spiritual Light necessarily indwells as well, and this Light illuminates the inner world, the world where imagination exercises her divine creative abilities.  It does no good to try to conceive of various concepts, truths, principles, potentialities (visualizing them in the mind in order to see and understand them) IF it is dark within that mind and so, not can be seen!  The more Light there is, the more you are able to understand and perceive, in greater depth, complexity and richness.
Those without the Light of Christ (thus without the Light of Truth) are stumbling in a brittle, childish, flat, crimped and cramped dark world of selfish, animalistic subjectivity.  Not to mention, combined with a ridiculous component of immature, ignorant, boorish arrogance, suppressed vitriol and unthinking hubris.
But the believer, having the gift of Light and Truth . . . and thus, inspired imagination, can actually love such people . . . because the believer can "see" what a pity and tragedy it is to live in said darkness; also they remember that they too were once there . . . and ONLY by the grace of God, have they been enabled to SEE!
Indeed, this ability to imagine is vital to the Christian walk in so many ways.  For instance, consider the person who grumbles and complains and feels a victim, "picked on" by life . . . who then covets the "good fortune" of others, resentful, stewing, agitated. . . . AND this can be, and probably has been any of us to varying degrees at different times.  It is difficult to watch the wicked prosper while the "good" and decent seem so often to get used, abused and neglected. . . .
It is a horrible state of mind, however, to be in for the professing believer--that of complaining, resenting, coveting and feeling short-shrifted by life, by God. 
But come to the rescue, inspired imagination!  It is a quick antidote to consider (truly imagine!) how much worse things could be!  If we are struggling here, ie., things breaking down, tight always on money, scraping by, scammed by some grifter . . . or whatever . . . all one has to do . . . is think of the fact that right now, this moment, some poor believer is being brutally robbed, beaten, tortured, starved, raped . . . for simply their faith.  Or, even beyond that, believers or not, millions of men, women, the old, children . . . live in abject, desperate poverty, ie., having no clean water, little to no food, no hope, subject to sickness and disease . . . and they are feeling humans all the same as we are, who suffer just as we would in such a situation.  Is it not a quick thing to utilize the power of imaging . . . to get out just such a selfish, grousing stew-pot when feeling marginalized by life?  AND to then immediately feel and have a real, deep sense of personal gratitude to God in knowing "there but for the grace of God, could be I!"
Also, HOPE lurks in this attribute.  We can quite well imagine some fantastic, wonderful, near perfect, glorious things to possibly look forward to in Heaven, can we not?  And as we can also imagine the depths of evil and suffering in this world, in either case, the Bible lets us know that what we have to hope for . . . is BEYOND either of these in intensity, meaning, depth. . . . The trials of this world, bad as they are, are not worthy in intensity to be compared to the glories that will be revealed in us in the hereafter!  So God says. . . .
The small, pinched mind . . . does not remember--if it ever even noted in the first place--the many times that God has intervened, blessed, gifted . . . in a life.  The broad mind, full of Light, which can envision, compare, contrast, analyze . . remembers the good things that God has done, recalls them to mind regularly, gives praise and thanks, and continues to grow in grace and glory and truth.
Intelligence, light, peace, goodness, growth . . . and so much more . . . are found in God, Who IS the Light . . . Who IS the way, the truth, the life.  Darkness, chaos, death, ignominy, ignorance, pettiness and so much "less" . . . are found in turning from God. 
Turn to God, and get the Light--the way, the truth, life eternal. . . .

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