Elements of Vision (Part 8)
Vision: The Key to the Future
The Bible encourages God’s people to be men and women of vision. Why? Because possessing vision is one of the main ways we take on the image of our Father. God is a visionary. In the beginning, there was nothing but void and emptiness, yet the Creator ‘envisioned’ a universe—so vast, so beautiful, so spectacular—that those beholding it with worshipful hearts would be left breathless. Notice the order. First, God saw it; then, God spoke it; then God did it. This is the same pattern that works in us: (1) Seeing the vision; (2) Speaking the vision; then, (3) Doing the vision.
The next step for this Original Visionary was dealing with a failed vision. His new world became defiled with sin, and Adam, instead of reflecting God’s image, took on the corrupt image of the Prince of darkness. Yet God conceived a redemptive plan (even before it was needed) that would restore the divine purpose once sin entered the world. In like manner, we must be men and women of tenacity, those who hold on to our God-given purpose, no matter what we face. When vision fails, we may weep momentarily—but then we stoop and build it back up with worn out tools.
Almost all visionaries in the Bible came to the point where it seemed their vision died. Look at Abraham, waiting so long for a son that he and Sarah both passed the age of this happening. Look at Joseph, experiencing quite the opposite of his prophetic dreams—not receiving appreciation and adulation from his brethren, but hatred and persecution. Look at Moses, who attempted to deliver an Israelite and ended up being exiled from Egypt himself. Yet these, and countless others, held on to what God put in their hearts in the face of what seemed very much like defeat. Yes, more often than not, the vision has to die, so that God can resurrect it—and receive all the glory and credit unto Himself.
Proverbs 29:18 warns, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This passage is certainly a double-edged sword. When God’s people become lethargic and unconcerned, those who could potentially be helped instead “perish”—mentally, emotionally and at times, even physically and spiritually. Some who could have received divine direction in life through our influence, instead fall prey to the death-dealing influence of the world.
But there is a second way this passage is fulfilled. The very believers who have no vision, in a certain sense, perish also—for we lose our motivation to advance, to make things better, to improve ourselves and the world around us. Though we exist physically, we lose zest for life, that holy passion that ignites purpose. We fall prey to the slowly-closing jaws of ‘death by inactivity.’ Churches are full of those who have nearly been swallowed up this arch-enemy of progress.
God help us to pursue the opposite—the quickening power of walking in vision. The Scripture declares that when God pours out His Spirit, young men see visions and old men dream dreams. So the sign of youthfulness is a heart that generates vision. A person may be 80 years old, yet still be youthful at heart. Human beings are only old when all they can do is look back at what has already been accomplished. May we all confess, as author Jack London, “I had rather be a flaming meteor, every atom of me in a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not exist.”
We must remember that visionaries are spiritual explorers. They dare to tread into new territory when other souls timidly accept the ‘status quo.’ They are thankful, but never satisfied with meager results, or the present level of accomplishment. They are continually re-evaluating their lives in order to discover hidden potentials. They think creatively. They explore possibilities. They penetrate the future with divine insight, then pursue what they see with holy passion. In the trials of life, they take an offensive posture, not just a defensive one. They are active, not passive. These are necessary qualities for true visionaries—for “vision without action is only a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. But vision with action can change the world.”
If we are to be world-changers and history-makers, we must be willing to take risks and step into the unknown—with the lamp of God’s Word in our hands. We cannot fail God, this generation or our dearly beloved, Brother Hall, the one who instilled vision in so many of us. We must take up where he left off and go on into the Promised Land of what we can accomplish for the Kingdom of God.