There’s something about a new year that gives me new vision. It just makes me want to get busy. Right now! Today! It spurs expediency to finish that new book! Lose that extra weight! Start a little business! Work on some drawings! I wonder if that isn’t why God made the earth to revolve around the sun instead of sending it on a straight path to infinity—to give us a new beginning every 365 days or so.
The new year is an opportunity to leave our mess and start fresh!
Vision just feels good. It excites us. It gives us hope because everything feels possible. The scripture says that without a vision the people perish. They give up trying to live in this broken world. They give up and dry up and the winds of life blow them away. We need vision to even get up in the morning!
So what is vision?
Vision is all about how we see things.
The Hebrew meaning of vision is a sight (mentally), a dream, revelation. To gaze at: mentally, to perceive
Vision sees with the mind, not the eyes.
It sees big and broad and believes that something better is just around the corner. New seasons are sometimes scary and uncertain, but vision sees something else. It sees God’s hand motioning—come—dare to follow me. I’ve got something to show you.
Ephesians 3:20 has always amazed me.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.
Above all we can ask or think? My mind can’t really take that in.
Scripture doesn’t say that God will do whatever we ask Him to do. That’s silly. It says something better! Something bigger! It says He can do far above what we can even think to ask for. What can we think to ask for? Some big things! Our vision is way too small!
And what did that scripture in Ephesians say? According to the power that works in us. The dunamis. The force. So Steven Spielberg had it right. The Force be with you! That power that works in us is the Holy Spirit, and He isn’t limited!
Faith and vision are two sides of the same coin.
You can’t have faith without vision, and you can’t have vision without faith.
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith convinces us that something’s possible when our minds tell us it’s impossible. It’s that gazing into the future and expecting something good to happen when there’s no evidence of it.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
There’s something we have to do here.
We have to believe that God is. He’s not just an abstract idea. He’s real! He’s watching us! And that He will reward us if we seek Him! And if we don’t seek Him? Well, then we won’t get much. Not because God is punishing us, but because everything in God’s realm comes by faith.
Vision, faith, purpose, calling—all these things draw us and direct us and deliver us to the place God has prepared for us.
So how do we know if the thing we see with our mind’s eye is faith-born vision, or just some vain imagination?
My experience leads me to believe vision is familiar, like a dream we know we’ve dreamed before. We don’t see the whole picture but we catch glimpses of God’s plans for us, sometimes from an early age. On my Amazon author’s page, I introduce myself by telling how I entered a writing contest when I was about 7 years old. I won it that year and the year after, as well. I say that that contest was the beginning of my writing career! But it took many years before I had a clear direction that writing was actually a ministry God had called me to, not just a hobby.
The faith-driven vision is something that has probably always been in the back of our minds. Kind of like we’ve been preparing for this “thing” to happen, even though we haven’t figured out exactly what that thing is.
Vision could be called a revelation of God’s purpose for our lives.
That purpose didn’t just pop up yesterday. It was in the mind of God before we were even created. He equipped us with the necessary talents and temperaments, and He’s been moving us toward it through circumstances and that little voice we hear when we quiet ourselves and listen.
If you want to know your purpose and catch a vision, look at your talents.
God didn’t give them to you for no reason. Search them out. Somewhere in those strands of DNA you’ll find the plan that God, Himself, drew up when He created you. You have many talents, but when you see that special thing you’ll say, “Ahh, there you are!”
I can sing and play the piano and draw, and do some public speaking, and I have lead several drama teams through the years. All of these things are products of the creativity God gifted me with. But when I started writing in earnest, I knew this was what I was born to do.
Some people have talents that might not be considered “spiritual.”
They’re carpenters or seamstresses or housepainters.
Bezalel was a man in the Old Testament who was a master craftsman in wood carving and stone cutting, and working with gold and silver. Does that sound like a “spiritual” calling? Well, it was. When God told Moses to build the tabernacle He said, “I have filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs.” Exodus 35:30-33 He was appointed to design most of the Tabernacle! God filled him with the ability to design and carve and create beauty. God had a purpose in mind for Bezalel.
So maybe God has made you a good cook or a good caregiver or a good bookkeeper. God has a purpose for all those things. You don’t have to be a singer or a preacher to have a “spiritual calling.” You can be an honest automobile mechanic! God knows we need more of those! So whatever your talent may be, have a vision for it! God gave it to you to serve Him with.
How can we keep our new-found vision through next December and beyond?
New Year’s resolutions usually last a few weeks, at best. A few hours sometimes. How can we change that? How can we keep our eye on the prize? How can we keep from falling back into the same old slump?
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
The meaning of “establish” is to set up, to be erect.
I don’t know if any of you out there ever used one of those pretty copper molds to make Jell-O. Or a Tupperware Jell-O-ring. Probably not. These days we tend to buy our gelatin pre-packaged in those little plastic cups. But back in the day, the Betty Crockers of the world presented their jiggle-y desserts in the shapes of lobsters and hearts and flowers with leaves.
I never had much success with Jell-O molds. They never “set up” properly. When I turned them onto a plate, they just kind of melted into an indiscernible blob of red or orange or green. By the way, I looked on Amazon to find out what kinds of Jell-O molds they sell today, and I saw a mold that looks like a brain! Yummy?
When we commit the things we are dreaming about—the things we hope to accomplish in the future—to God, He sets them up. He makes them firm.
The catch in this scripture is in the committing.
The Hebrew word “commit” means to roll—like we let go of things and roll them onto God. When we commit our vision to God, and allow Him to guide us in the direction He wants us to go, He will do “exceeding, abundantly above all that we can ask or think!”
The following scripture has been used so much in the last few years, we tend not to realize the enormity of it.
Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God has a plan for us! He doesn’t just leave us to figure everything out ourselves. And his plans are for our welfare and not to hurt us. God wants to give us hope for the future.
Let’s keep that hope in front of us as we go into the coming year. Let’s expect good from God because He is a good God and He longs to give his children good things. You may not know exactly what you even want in the future. But if you want to do God’s will, He will direct your paths. He will give you a vision and the power to see it through.
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