As we continue to study how we oppose ourselves, let’s examine how our thoughts, imaginations, and fantasies work against the desires God places in our hearts.
We feed our hearts with purpose and success when we build fantasy worlds in our minds with honorable thoughts, God’s word, and perfect and pure images.
Serve God with a perfect heart and willing mind, for he searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of our thoughts. (1 Chronicles 28:9)
Once good things are conceived in our hearts we can look forward in hope to the finished outcome.
Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)
God gifts us with the ability to imagine what is not and create what will be. But when we use words, said or silent, in perverse ways, those things which we create can destroy. Consider how many times — by simply creating a conclusion in our mind and without any evidence — we’ve believed in the negative motives of others. We expect a reply from a text, email, phone call, but none comes. We assume the worst. We conceive a negative trait in the other party. we begin to rehearse in our mind what we will say.
Consider how many times you sought to accomplish something small, perhaps even great, but at the time of the “big reveal” you silently expect failure, loss, judgement. Novelist Sarah Dessen writes, “If you expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed.” For many, these are the fantasy worlds we build: ones constructed without hope, expectation, or risk.
Jesus calls us to hope, expect, and risk all for him. He calls us to love our enemies, not portray them as evil individuals deserving of judgement and punishment. To do good to those who hate us, not shame them. To bless those who curse us, to pray for those who mistreat us, to give to everyone who asks and lend without expecting anything in return. The fantasy worlds created in the Spirit of Christ are large, often messy, sometimes dangerous, but seldom boring.
Rather than imagining the worst in others, expect their best. Help them reach their best.
Rather than preparing for bad news, plan for success. Risk your heart in hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 is perhaps the most misapplied verse in all of Scripture, but the spirit behind the verse accurately reflects the heart of God.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
If we will but claim the back half of this promise, hope and a future, our fantasy worlds will begin to more accurately reflect the creative character of God.
Let us stop opposing ourselves with our negative thoughts, imaginations, and fantasies and begin supporting ourselves with thoughts, imaginations, and fantasies inspired by God’s Holy Spirit.