Is Using My Imagination A Sin?

Does God believe in the law of attraction? Is it a sin to think and create with my imagination realities and preferences in my life? Am I taking His spot?

The law of attraction is a theory which essentially promises each human that they can acquire Divine powers simply by craving them on a soul level and then maintaining certain psychological focuses and attitudes. Since we all want to have more power and control than we do, and since humans are designed to be self-serving, this theory has been around for a very long time. It gets repackaged now and then, acquiring new names and labels. But the whole “you can make life happen your way and control everyone around you just by exercising your inner powers” is a theory that is older than the hill. It’s also utterly ridiculous because it does not acknowledge how much human wills contradict each other.

Joe and Tom both want to marry a woman named Nadine more than anything in the world, but Nadine is in love with a man named Fred. Fred is gay and very much in love with Tom. How can every person in this scenario get what they want at the same time? They can’t. The law of attraction promises the impossible, then encourages people to immerse in denial when they’re not able to “attract” the lives they want.

You should not put this particular theory in the same category as using your imagination, because these are separate issues. The law of attraction (which is essentially a religion with you being the god), links the activity of using your imagination with the belief of “I am a being with supreme powers, therefore I can force all that exists to do my bidding.” The belief is the problem here, not the activity. The belief is wrong and it’s also insulting to God, as it completely rejects His supremacy. By definition, a true God cannot be controlled by His creatures.

Now there are folks who claim to believe in God, yet also promote the same belief of “I can control all that exists.” When you hear Christians use the phrase “name it and claim it” or talk about sacrificial giving, they are teaching their own version of the law of attraction in which they simply add God to the list of beings who you can control. Any theory which encourages you to view God as subordinate to you is false. In reality, God is dominant over all that He creates and though we generally don’t like this idea, there’s not a thing we can do about it.

Now just because some people are trying to use their imaginations to conjure up non-existent god powers, that doesn’t mean you are doing the same thing when you try to imagine how you would like your life to unfold. It is not a sin to have specific, strong preferences for how you would like your future to be. In fact, God has given your body, soul and mind very strong preferences in these areas so it’s really not possible for you to have no interest in your future. Your body, for example, would like to feel good for your entire life. It is very attracted to the idea of experiencing new kinds of positive sensations, such as eating really good food or having super comfortable clothes. It’s not a sin for your body to feel this way.

DEFINING SIN

To avoid a lot of unnecessary angst, you need to understand the difference between how God and humans use the term sin. Humans use the term sin very broadly and inconsistently. Some humans define a sin as being “anything you do that I don’t personally approve of.” This definition often gets used among those who do not believe in God. In these cases, people are basing their idea of “right and wrong” on their personal preferences and beliefs. When you accidentally cut Sam off on the road, he views you as wronging him. When you cut down a tree in your yard, your nature loving neighbor Lucy thinks you’ve done something sinful. In this first scenario, there is no clear definition of what a sin is because each human has a different list of what they feel personally offended by.

Now in religious circles, people continue to use that first definition of sin, but they then expand it to include things that they think their chosen God figure doesn’t like. A major problem here is that theories about what God doesn’t like are usually passed down from human to human without anyone bothering to verify with God if those theories are correct. To make things more murky, even within the same religious communities, opinions about what God doesn’t like vary wildly. For example, today you can find some Christians declaring homosexuality to be a horrible sin, therefore “God hates gays.” But then there are other Christians declaring that God loves gays and launching churches that specifically target gay communities. So is homosexuality a “sin” or not? Does God love gays or hate them? How can people who claim to be following the same religion end up with such drastically different views on what God does and doesn’t approve of?

If you try to get your definition of sin from other humans, you’ll end up confused, frustrated, and anxious. If you search long enough, you can find people who will label just about everything you do as a sin. But here is where we need to remember why the concept of sin even matters. This concept is directly linked to the idea of punishment. The whole point of trying to not sin is so that you can avoid being punished for those sins.

Now when other humans feel that you sinned against them, some will try to punish you for it. But humans are very limited in what they can do to you. God, on the other hand, has immeasurable power and He can come up with punishments that you can’t even imagine. It is God’s power that makes His definition of sin far more important than any human definition.

So how does God define sin? Well, here is where we need to be very specific in what we’re asking. How God judges you is a very personal thing, and it really has nothing to do with how He’s judging someone else. While God has a general moral code for humans (which include principles like “don’t steal” and “treat others like you’d want to be treated”), that code is like the thick textbook that you receive when you take a new math class. When the teacher of the class gives you tests, he only asks you questions about material that he knows he has personally taught you. When your first test comes, the teacher has only had time to teach you about the first chapter of that thick textbook, so that is all he tests you on. He doesn’t try to trip you up by asking you questions about the material from the fourth and fifth chapters.

When it comes to you and God, God is even easier to succeed with than that math teacher. Like the teacher, God never grades you down for not knowing stuff that He never taught you. God takes His time in teaching individual humans about His general moral code. Maybe He has only taught you three rules of His general code, but He’s taught your friend Mia ten rules. When Mia sees you doing something that she knows is wrong, she accuses you of making God angry. But are you? No, because the rule Mia is talking about is one that God hasn’t explained to you yet. God doesn’t judge you by the things He’s told Mia. He only judges you by the things He’s told you.

Now when you’re taking that first math test, you might sincerely believe that you’re doing the problems correctly. But if you’re mistaken and you end up with wrong answers, your math teacher will mark you down. Your intentions don’t get any credit on that test–only correct answers. But with God, things are different. Your intentions matter very much to Him. Suppose you’re trying to do something nice for God, only to find out that He doesn’t like what you’re doing. In this scenario, God will judge you by your intentions towards Him, not by what you actually did. When He sees that you were trying to please Him, He will be very pleased, even though the way you went about trying to please Him was wrong.

Now let’s reread your question:

Does God believe in the law of attraction? Is it a sin to think and create with my imagination realities and preferences in my life? Am I taking His spot?

What kind of intentions towards God are you expressing here? You are obviously worried about offending Him, which means you really care about what He thinks. How is God going to respond to this kind of soul attitude? Remember that with God, it’s not what you’re doing that matters, it’s what your intentions are towards Him. It’s quite obvious that you are not trying to insult God when you sit there trying to come up with future goals for yourself and reviewing what you currently care about. In fact, you care so much about God’s opinion that you’re actually worrying about the possibility that you might be accidentally upsetting Him. Obviously your soul attitude towards Him is very positive, therefore it’s a given that God will be very pleased with you.

Unlike humans, God never misunderstands your intentions toward Him. All you’re doing is mentally reviewing your current preferences and desires, and trying to logically figure out how you might achieve those things. What is wrong with that? Nothing. The only way this kind of activity is going to create problems between you and God is if you intentionally try to ban Him from participating or intentionally ignore directions that He gives you.

The next time you find yourself imagining how you’d like your life to unfold, also imagine that God is right there beside you, listening to what you’re thinking. Try telling your ideas to Him, instead of just thinking them to yourself. Then be receptive to Him adding His input to your brainstorming activity. For example, you might think,“You know how much I love to paint, God. It would be so fantastic to become a famous painter one day.” You might be quite surprised how God responds to this kind of comment. Humans often view God as a Being who only makes judgmental comments when He really is not like that at all. God has a lot more to say to you than “don’t do that” or “that was wrong.” God really enjoys talking with you about your preferences and feelings. In response to that comment about painting, God might say, “Yes, that would certainly be exciting. But so far you’ve been focusing on just on landscapes. Why not try expanding your talents by painting structures as well? You might find that you really enjoy it. And what about trying your hand at underwater scenes?” Here God is inspiring you with new ideas that excite you. This is a form of how He leads us. God’s leading doesn’t just come in the form of corrective comments. Far more often, He speaks to us in gentle, positive ways that make us feel joyful and inspired. Often we mistake these thoughts as our own, so we don’t credit Him for saying them. But the truth is that God is always in your business, and when you sit around letting your imagination run wild, some of the images you come up with will have been added to the mix by Him, not you.

Where are we in terms of co-creating with God? I am trying to understand if it’s audacious in a disrespectful way to think about creating the life of my dreams. Or does God want mere sheep who follow Him wherever He is leading us? Basically I am wanting to know where is my place. Am I to use my imagination to make happen what I desire in my life or is that wishful/demonic thinking?

God intentionally designed humans with a strong desire to create, and our imaginations are a key tool in doing that. Instead of viewing your desire to create as a bad thing, see it as a trait God gave you so that you could feel more identity with Him. Because we humans love to create, it’s easier for us to feel emotionally bonded to a God who also loves to create. Now of course our creation abilities are far more limited than God’s. For starters, we can only manipulate stuff that already exists, whereas He can create all kinds of things with no starting materials. But viewed correctly, this limitation of ours can also help us feel closer to God, because once we recognize that He is the One supplying our starting materials, giving us opportunities, and guiding our ideas about what to do, we can start to see our creative efforts as things that we do with God.

Whenever you’re trying to sort out your own leading from God, always start by remembering that God loves variety. This means that He leads humans in very different ways. You might have a friend who feels that God is telling her not to date, but to wait for God to bring her husband to her. If that is the direction that your friend is receiving from God, then she should do what He’s telling her to do. But you are not your friend, and God is going to lead you differently than He does her. Maybe you find yourself really wanting to join an online dating site so that you can find Mr. Right. Is it wrong for you to do this? No. Until God clearly tells you to stop or change direction, there’s nothing wrong with continuing forward.

God designed humans to have many kinds of desires and goals. It’s not possible to be totally neutral about your life, nor is this what God wants you to be. Humans are supposed to be full of opinions, preferences, and desires. That’s what God designed us to be and He likes us like that. Problems only get created when we try to exclude God from having any say in what we do.

Suppose you come to a fork in the road and you automatically feel much more attracted to going right than left. So you start to go down the fork that personally appeals to you. There’s nothing wrong with this. God is the One who designed you to be a “right fork” kind of person, and He’s not at all offended by you expressing that desire. So now you’re heading down the right fork when God says, “I’d like you to go back and take the left fork instead.” Once He gives you this clear direction, now you have the option of displeasing Him by saying, “I don’t care what You want. This is my life, and I’ll live it how I please.” But until God speaks up with a specific opinion, you don’t have the option of offending Him. Simply walking down the right fork isn’t a sin. Desiring the right fork over the left fork isn’t a sin. Going forward instead of just standing still at the crossroads isn’t a sin. You can’t personally sin against God until He gives you a clear directive.

So then, has God clearly told you that He’s offended by the fact that you’re trying to think up ways to pursue your personal dreams? No, He obviously hasn’t. What you’re expressing in your questions is confusion and concern. When God convicts you, you will feel certain about what He wants, you won’t sit there anxiously fretting that He might be mad at you because He might have a problem with what you’re doing.

Now the fact that your soul attitude towards God is obviously very positive (because you’re so concerned about offending Him) plus the fact that someone is trying to convince you that God thinks your soul attitude towards Him is rotten makes it quite clear that these worries you have are being given to you by demons.

Demons are very much involved in every human’s thought life and they will often whisper suggestions and accusations just to get your soul all anxious and distressed. Demons also use the same strategies over and over again (because they are so effective), so if you learn about some of those strategies, you will have a much easier time recognizing when they are messing with you.

When it comes to souls that sincerely care about pleasing God (which is you), demons will try to turn your sincere care for God into a weapon against you by suggesting that God is upset with you. The whole “God might be mad at you” routine only works on souls who already care about pleasing Him. But it works very well on those kinds of souls, so demons frequently use this method of attack.

Once you learn more about demonic attack strategies, you’ll find that the type of method they choose when attacking you will make it quite clear what your soul attitudes towards God actually are. The very fact that demons are trying to get you worried about God being mad at you proves that He isn’t. Demons can clearly see our current soul attitudes, and when demons see that souls are defying God, they want to encourage that behavior as much as possible. What this means is that if God was actually mad at you, demons certainly wouldn’t be trying to warn you about it or telling you to change your ways. To souls who are being snarky with God, demons say “You’re doing great and God is pleased.” To souls who are pleasing God, demons say, “You’re making Him mad and He’s going to punish you.” It’s just a game, and once you learn how to recognize it, you’ll be harder for them to con.

So what now? Well, since your soul attitude towards God is correct, you should just keep doing what you’re doing until He clearly tells you to do differently. Think about your future, and invite Him to share any ideas He’d like to add. Be open to the possibility that He’s already been influencing the kinds of plans you’re forming. And since He’s obviously not telling you to freeze all activity and wait for Him to open a door, you should continue moving forward, looking for opportunities, and trying to pursue your current goals.

RECOMMENDED READING

To help you develop your spiritual discernment skills (which is the ability to tell the difference between the Voice of God and the voice of demons), I suggest that you download these charts and refer to them whenever you’re trying to sort out where a specific concern is coming from: Recognizing God’s Conviction (Charts). For example, when you look at the first chart Recognizing Conviction Chart #1, you can see that your current dilemma flunks the Clarity requirement for a conviction from God. Instead of feeling clear and certain about what He wants, you are confused and distressed. Also the “problem” being proposed to you is that you have specific desires for your future which you sometimes think about. This is not something that you can stop doing. Humans can’t simply “turn off” their imaginations. What we call imagination is really a combination of soul thoughts and mind thoughts. You don’t have the option of silencing these two elements of your being. As the charts explain, demons will often accuse you of problems that they know you are incapable of fixing because this will prolong how miserable you are.

This post was written in response to a request.

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For an in-depth education about demon cons, see my book A No-Nonsense Guide to Demons.