Any form of the word visualization seems to cause a lot of controversy in the Christian world. I’m not talking about conjuring up your spirit guide or anything like that. What I’m referring to is in the area of setting goals. Seeing what it is you want to accomplish. We all do it but without attaching the “mysterious” word – visualization.

When you were a child listening to Bible stories were you able to see Jonah in the belly of the whale? Did you have a picture in your mind of the Exodus when all God’s people crossed the Red Sea? When we are told about the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on our behalf, are we able to see him on the cross suffering for us?

That’s visualization. We think in words and pictures which also causes emotion in us. If you saw the movie “The Passion” did it wrench your gut to think about the terrible things Jesus had to endure but did so willingly to save you? You visualized his terrible pain and his great love for you.

We don’t know the exact detail of what Jesus went through. Someone had to visualize the scenes for that movie to bring it to life

I would agree there are different types of visualization. I absolutely don’t agree with calling on the spirit world, chanting or anything like that. The only spirit I will ever call upon is the Holy Spirit.

I think we would all agree that Dr. Charles Stanley is one of the most knowledgeable theologians of our time. He’s not a preacher that would have you believe nothing bad ever happens in the life of a Christian. He understands the discipline of God as well as the blessings of God.

I know that Dr. Stanley believes in setting goals. I looked at his website this morning and he has a CD series by the name of “Set Your Goals and Live by Faith.” I found it interesting that he used the word “visualize” in his promo of the series. It read as follows:

“Dr. Stanley helps you visualize and focus on the specific things God wants to do in your life no matter how big or small.”

We all know that Dr. Charles Stanley is not talking about conjuring up your spiritual guide, chanting, or anything remotely close to that of the occult world. Neither am I.

God encourages us to come to him in prayer about everything. We are to bring our joys, our sorrows, our thanks and our praise to him. Yes, even our requests.

Philippians 4:6 (New International Version)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

When we have faith that God will answer our prayer, we are seeing him as our loving father that wants to help us. If you have faith in God, if you have faith he will supply your needs, if you have faith he will rescue you from a dangerous situation, you can “visualize” him answering your prayer.

Matthew 7:9 (New International Version)

9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

When I talk about visualizing, I am talking about visualizing your goals; seeing your success in those goals. Why wouldn’t God want to see you successful and help you attain your goals? Of course we must thank him and give him the glory for our success. It’s not of us, it’s of Him.

Let me give you a few more examples:

When you met your husband or wife did you ever say to yourself, “I’m going to marry her or him?” Did you see yourself as that spouse?

Women, when you set a date for your wedding did you begin to plan and visualize each detail?

When your children were born, did you see them going to college? Did you visualize them walking across the stage accepting their diploma?

I’ve read many articles about the visualization of an athlete. I’m sure when Tiger Woods is on the green and confronted with a long putt; he’s visualizing the ball sinking in the hole.

When Michael Jordan got up to the free throw line he was visualizing releasing the basketball and the ball neatly falling through the net.

Olympic athletes are seeing themselves with a first place medal standing on the podium.

The bodybuilder getting ready for a competition has “seen” his or her definition months and months before stepping on the stage.

They have all visualized being successful at whatever their sport is long before they got to the crucial point of actually having taken the action and seeing their success. They have practiced this in their mind over and over.

You have to be able to see it before you can believe it. If you can’t believe you can succeed you never will. If you can visualize your goals you will begin to take the steps to get there. Once you get clear and can imagine yourself succeeding, God will give you an ability you may not have right now. He might open doors that previously were not open to you.

I cover visualization in my training, articles, and books. It’s a very powerful tool in being able to get clear in your fitness goals. If you can “see” it you can believe it and more likely to follow through on what it takes to get there.

I don’t think God will have a problem with us visualizing what we would look like a healthy 30 pounds lighter or visualizing ourselves as kicking the smoking habit and how great we will feel having accomplished those goals-do you?

I hope I have been able to share some insight on visualization with you. It’s not going into an empty minded meditation. Align your visualization with God’s will, go to God with your visualization in prayer and thanksgiving, give Him the honor and glory for you success.

Phyllis (Ward) Stewart is the author of God’s Temple-40 Days to Total Transformation, Christian Fitness Coach, and Personal Trainer. After working with the troops for almost 3 years in Iraq, she is now working in Vienna, VA. You can contact Phyllis at plw2010@yahoo.com.

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