I sat across from two friends at coffee. We updated each other on our lives and current reading list. The conversation began to turn towards how people grow. He reached for his coffee cup and made a powerful observation about following Jesus.
He said to both of us, “We tell people what not to do, rather than giving them the imagination of what life in Christ could look like.”
We can become fixated of what we need to stop or quit. Dallas Willard in the Divine Conspiracy called this the “Gospel of Sin-Management.” This gospel lives in the present without the future vision of how Christ’s grace transforms our lives. It becomes our constant anxiety of checking out lists and earning God’s grace.
The Gospel gives us the optimistic imagination for growth. God’s grace causes us to see His presence at work in us. He invites us to have a vision for our lives in His likeness and loving people as He has.
When Jesus encounters people in Scripture, He sees the reality of who they are and who they can become through believing in Him.
Peter, despite his faults and failure, receives a vision from Jesus to shepherd God’s people (John 21).
The woman at the well moves past her reputation in Samaria to communicating to people a vision of Christ’s grace (John 4).
The woman caught in adultery moves from experiencing shame to the radical acceptance of Jesus (John 8:1-11)
The Good News of Jesus Christ gives us the reality of our need for a Savior, but also provides us a vision of life-change through His grace…
Worry can transform into faith in Christ.
Judging others can turn towards compassion.
Shame gets exchanged for the radical acceptance of a Savior.
Materialism and greed can be swapped for contentment.
The list could go further. The question for you is where has Christ given you imagination for life-change? What one area might He call you to have a radical vision for His grace?
Ask God about these questions. Then share it a with a trusted friend. Grace grows our imagination with the assumption of God at work in our lives.
Imagination and faith are the same thing, giving substance to our hopes and reality to the unseen – Bishop John V. Taylor
Photo credit by Kamesh Vedula.