Faith enables us to see what cannot be seen through the physical senses. It informs the mind of things yet to be manifested in the physical world. Faith is inextricably linked to the outcome you can see on the canvas of your imagination. The clearer you are about the outcome you can (mentally) see, the stronger your faith. Words are in essence carriers of images and their prime function is to give you a clearer vision. The clearer your vision, the stronger your faith. This is why the bible is full of metaphors and is rich in imagery, symbols, and allegories. It is also the reason why God’s promises always come with an image to fuel your imagination.
Your approach to words must be the same as when you receive a parcel in the post. You know that you have to remove the outer wrapping to receive what the sender wants you to have. Likewise, it is the image that you need to receive from words, more than the words themselves. A prime example of this is illustrated in the promise given to regarding the enormity of his descendants:
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6)
From that day on, Abraham’s thoughts were fuelled by what he saw in the night sky. The stars he saw, made the innumerable number of descendants he would have, a mental reality; even though he and his wife were childless, and advanced in years.
Therefore, Image is truly everything! It is the blueprint for all that has been made! There is nothing that has been made that did not first begin as a mental image. Every tangible outcome has its genesis in a mental image.
Image is the substance of things hoped for. After all, what is hope without the image of what you hope for! Image is a spiritual substance. Although invisible to the naked eye, it can be seen, once captured on the screen of your imagination. This highlights the value, and significance of our imagination. Without it, we will never capture the image, and the vision, of what will be materialized in our lives.
If the concept of ‘spiritual substance’ sounds familiar to you, it maybe because you have read the only scripture that gives a direct definition of faith:
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The substance of things hoped for is the image of a desired outcome. That being the case, ‘faith’ and ‘image’ are the same. Faith does not exist without a corresponding image. If this concept of faith appears too radical, it is because we often define faith by its works, or attributes, such as trust, confident expectation, or a strong belief. Although these attributes are integral in exercising faith, they are not what faith is. Trust, confident expectation, and a strong belief in something yet to be manifested, all spawn from the image you see on the inside.
The image within is what gives life to great acts of faith. It was the image inside Martin Luther King Jr, as expressed in his famed ‘I had a dream’ speech, that galvanized millions of Americans, and broke the back of racial inequality.
Faith therefore is the image, and substance, for creating a ‘reality’ hoped for. When God speaks of what He wants to achieve through you, it is the image, or vision, that He wants you to receive, not just words. For Abraham to truly receive the image God wanted him to manifest, God had to take Abraham out of his tent, and show him the stars. The stars acted as a metaphor, enabling Abraham to imagine himself as the Father of nations. It is only when Abraham saw what God wanted him to see, and then believed that what he saw on the screen of his imagination will become a physical reality, that God credited it to him as righteousness!
Faith v Fantasy
As explained earlier, words are carriers of images. Image is the essence of thoughts. If faith comes by hearing the thoughts of God, then faith is the image of God’s desire. When you hear (and understand) God’s thoughts, you also see the image of the outcome, He wants you to manifest in your life, and the physical world. Although we have the ability to manifest our desires, if they are not harmonious to the desires God has embedded in our hearts, they manifest as fantasies. God’s desires will always be for your benefit. Fantasies on the other hand, are by nature, vain, with no substantial, or lasting benefit. Fantasies are manifestations of ego, and selfishness. Some may seem good at first, but ultimately serve to be detrimental to one’s self, or others.
Faith, on the other hand, requires you to align your desires with God’s desires, and position yourself (spiritually) to see what God wants you to see. God is Love, and what He puts in your heart will not only serve to benefit you, but also many others. This will only be realized through the manifestation of faith.
Regardless of these differences, faith, and fantasy work by the same principle. Both can be activated by your own belief. The question is: do you want to be a manifester of faith, or fantasies?