In order to have faith in the promise of eternity, Christians must be able to believe things they cannot immediately see, Pastor Rick Warren says, citing 2 Corinthians 4:18 and Hebrews 11.
This ability to believe in that which cannot be seen requires imagination, Warren writes in his "Daily Hope" devotional on Thursday.
Warren, who heads Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, points to Hebrews 11, in which God encourages Abraham to look up to the sky and count the stars, saying that those stars represent the number of descendants he will have.
This, according to the megachurch pastor, is an example of how God encourages Christians to use their imagination to maintain their faith.
"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 asserts.
For most eternal promises Christians need their imagination, he continues, as concepts such as the Holy Spirit and one's soul cannot be readily seen.
"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," Warren adds.
In a Friday post titled, Doubt Is the Enemy of Imagination, the Saddleback Church pastor argues that while Christians need imagination to maintain their faith, they might also be faced with doubt.
While imagination is vibrant during childhood, Warren writes that as Christians reach adulthood, their imagination fades and they get stuck in the "status quo."
As adults face the pressures of real life and a possible mundane existence, they may allow doubt to creep into their way of thinking.
"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, Warren contends, and this combination can be toxic for maintaining a healthy relationship with Jesus 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."