Read Hebrews 12:1-3.
Even though there is—and always will be—one true Gospel, that doesn't mean all people respond to the Good News of Jesus in the same way. There are some people who respond to the love of God, while others respond to the judgment of God. In addition, there are many ways people express their love for God. God, being infinitely creative, has wired each of us differently, and so this shouldn't surprise us.
God wants us to love Him with every part of our being.
You will find there are some people who naturally love God with all of their intellect. They come to Scripture and engage with God through logic and detailed analysis of the text—and that's wonderful. But these same people have trouble loving God with their imagination, their soul. They have trouble visualizing what Jesus did for them on the cross. They are wary of being drawn in by their emotions. But God wants us to love Him with every part of our being.
When I think about Jesus, I visualize Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was sweating so furiously that blood came from His pores—something I learned later is a phenomenon so rare that it only happens during moments of unbearable stress. I visualize how, the next day, He walked two and a half miles to and from the various trial sites. He did this for me.
The Romans generally stripped the victims of their clothes, and they tied their hands above their head on an upright post. The back, buttocks, and legs were whipped first. Jesus' flesh was torn. He was bloodied, and it's possible some of the cuts went so deep that His organs were exposed. He bore this punishment for me.
Then came the crucifixion itself. An upright wooden post, about two hundred pounds, was fixed to the ground, but the victim carried the horizontal crossbar, which weighed about a hundred pounds. The Creator of all the forests of the world carried that tree. And He did it for me. Finally, He was nailed to the cross, suffered unthinkable pain, and bore the wrath of God that I deserved. He died for me.
My friend, Christian meditation, imagination, and visualization is not about emptying our minds like the Buddhists and the New Agers, focusing on whatever thought comes to us next. Rather, it's about filling our minds with the matchless love of Jesus. We empty ourselves of self-worship and fill ourselves with the one who gave His all for us.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for giving Your all for me. You did not hold back, but emptied Yourself. May I also pour out my all in love for You—my heart, my mind, and my soul. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Growing in Your Love for Jesus: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW