Creating & Controlling Our Reality
God is a creator, obviously. As He has made man in His own image, He has endowed us with a similar ability to imagine and create. In fact, this is the very purpose for the ability to imagine we all possess. We use our imagination to construct images of what we would like our lives to be. We can imagine what our life could be and we can even imagine the process by which we can make it that way. We all do this every day. Not that we all sit around imagining grand life schemes to pursue, but to the point of this discussion, we do create images about specific areas of our life every day.
An example: If you have kids, you have an image in your mind about how you want them to believe, think and behave. This image is your hope and desire for them and also your expectation of them. The image of a proper child, a happy child or perhaps a successful adult, guides the way you parent them and especially how you discipline them. If you could make it happen, you would control the circumstances of their life and even their beliefs to align with your image. Its a good thing that we can't control others, even our children, because we don't do God very well. Causing life to work out according to His image/plan is a prerogative He has reserved only for Himself. He has only given us the ability to control ourselves.
It is in our divine design to use our imagination to create a vision for our lives. We form these images about every area of our lives as we grow up and develop into adulthood. We form them out of our influences and experiences and their content will often mirror our early life. We literally create the images and scenarios that control our goals, priorities, feelings and actions out of the raw material of our lives. Once we form an image of how some aspect of our life "should be", we attach our happiness to it and having it becomes our treasure. The image in our hearts is what Jesus was discussing when He said "where your treasure is, your heart will be also" (Mt 6:21). We devote every effort to fulfilling these images of our life because having what we imagine is our treasure. The pictures in our minds controls every aspect of our lives. Managing the images we hold in our hearts is the same as managing what we believe and the most important aspect of our lives.
Controlling Our Lives
The beliefs/images we create control our thoughts, feelings and direction in life. If our vision is faulty, then our life will demonstrate that through the choices we make. We can know the content of these beliefs/images by examining the way we feel most of the time. When we are unable to match our image to our life, then we feel unfulfilled, unhappy, frustrated and/or depressed in our hearts. We can put on the mask of competence or self sufficiency, numbing out our hurt and disappointment, but when we are alone and honest, we know how we feel. How we feel and especially what we do reveals what is in our hearts, because whatever is in our heart, controls what we feel and what we do. The images in our heart are the program we have created to direct our lives.
In the original creation, God made man's mental faculties to visualize His sovereign plan for the ages. With God's vision determining the images in our hearts, we are moved to follow and fellowship with Him. Adam and Eve lived in harmony with God until they sinned and then their hearts were corrupted. When Eve visualized herself as equal with God and believed it could be true, she was directed by that image and she acted to eat. When Adam visualized life with God, but without Eve who was now corrupted, he chose to eat as well. Their sin corrupted their hearts and they began to imagine life with self as the center instead of God. If you haven't noticed, life without God as the center and especially with self as the center doesn't work very well. Sin corrupts, anyone, everyone, every time and it invaded their very nature to destroy their compatibility with God.
Controlled by Corruption
The bible makes it clear that Adam's sin, condemnation and corruption has passed down to all mankind. We have inherited Adam's corruption and it has corrupted the way we form the beliefs/images that control our lives. Salvation by trusting in Christ resolves all of the eternal, judicial issues forever and is the greatest blessing in our lives forever. Yet, even after salvation, we struggle and invariably fail to live up to the life in Christ we have been given. From our birth, Adam's corruption causes us to see self as the central priority and to interpret life events from a self centered view rather than a God centered view. Looking at life from a self centered view in a God centered world is the ultimate in being disoriented to reality. Being driven and controlled by beliefs/images that are divorced from God's reality is a formula for misery and forces us all to be pretenders.
Cleansed by Christ
As we stated earlier, salvation only resolves the eternal, judicial and positional issues of being born in Adam. It is after salvation that we enter into a process of transformation by which God cleanses the ideas in our hearts. God uses the truth of His word in the midst of adversity to reveal our wrong images and replace them with His own. This process takes a lifetime to complete and we only accomplish it in degrees. As we reject our old ideas and adopt the thinking of Christ, we become more and more like Him in our hearts. We begin to habituate the same beliefs/images that He used in His life. We grow more like Him and that is the true miracle of the Christian life.