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What does the Bible say about visualization?

Bible visualization
Question: "What does the Bible say about visualization?"

Visualization is the process of forming mental images. Often, visualization involves envisioning events or situations that don’t exist or that have not happened yet. Visualization can be spiritually healthy or spiritually unhealthy, depending on the situation and the reasons for the visualization.

A basketball player may visualize himself making a difficult basket, or a skier may picture herself navigating a slope before she starts downhill. Musicians, actors, writers, and other artists may use visualization to create a picture in their minds before writing it down or acting it out. Everyone uses visualization to some extent. We picture what we want to eat before we make or buy the food. We picture what we want to wear before we put it on. We imagine conversations happening before they happen. Visualization is a way we prepare ourselves before taking action. There is nothing unbiblical about the tendency for humans to visualize in this way. In fact, it is wise to consider outcomes before taking action (Luke 14:28).

However, modern self-help gurus often promote visualization as a means to alter reality and get what you want. Through a technique they call “creative visualization,” they promise everything from financial success to a better love life based on the power of the human mind to “materialize” one’s thoughts, “attract” success, and “create” a preferred reality. This is nothing but New Age humanism that relies on a nonexistent power of the mind, and it is completely unbiblical. This type of visualization is related to the false teachings of the law of attraction, the power of positive thinking, and Word of Faith. The human mind has no power to create reality or reshape the world to one’s liking, no matter how focused the thoughts or clear the visualization. God alone creates, and every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17).

Rather than chase after empty promises of worldly success through visualization, we should totally rely on the Lord our God. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Recommended Resource: Knowing the Facts about Visualization by Ankerberg & Weldon

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