Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren has reminded Christians that to have faith in the promise of heaven, they must be able to trust in what they cannot see, and thus must use their imagination.
In his "Daily Hope" devotional last week, the 61-year-old megachurch pastor cited 2 Corinthians 4:18 and Hebrews 11, in which God encourages Abraham to look up to the sky and count the stars before telling him that such stars represent the number of descendants he will have.
Just like Abraham was compelled to use his imagination to trust in God's promises, Christians today must maintain their faith in the same way: "The Bible says you need to focus on the things that will last - the things you can't actually see with your eyes. So how do you focus on things you can't see? You use your imagination," Warren writes.
For most eternal promises Christians need their imagination, because many elements -- such as God, the Holy Spirit and one's soul, are not visibly apparent.
"You can't see the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but they're going to last for eternity. You can't see your own soul, but it's going to last for eternity," the pastor contends.
In a subsequent post titled Doubt Is the Enemy of Imagination, the pastor argues that while Christians need the imagination to maintain their faith, they might also be faced with doubt, as imagination fades over time.
As adults face the pressures of real life and a possible mundane existence, they may allow doubt to creep into their way of thinking, and their imagination becomes clouded.
"Doubt and fear neutralize what God wants to do in your life. It takes courage to imagine. Do you know why most people don't imagine? Because they're afraid of failure," Warren writes.
With doubt comes fear -- which is the enemy of a healthy relationship with Christ.
"Your imagination is either going to be governed by fear or it's going to be governed by faith. That's your choice. If you let your imagination be governed by fear, you're going to go around being freaked out, stressed out, and worried all the time," Warren explains. "When you allow fear to control your imagination, you live a miserable life."
"Instead, decide that you're not going to allow fear to dominate. Let your faith dominate. Trust in God. Then you can move forward in faith and allow your imagination to be filled with all kinds of possibilities, because all things are possible with God."
In a separate devotional, the pastor shares how to understand whether you are living for your dream or God's dream.
"If your dream is truly from God, it will somehow be connected to his Church and his plan for the world," he writes. "Why would God give you a self-centered dream, unconnected to what he wants to do in the world? He wants to use you for his dream. He wants to use you for his plan."
He then lays out God's big, overarching plan: "God is building a family, and he's collecting family members from every nation, every tribe, every language, and every people group. When everybody's in the family that he knows will be in the family, it's over. We're going into phase two, which is eternity. That's God's big plan."