By Len Buttner (Auckland, New Zealand).
Have you ever found yourself struggling to bring focus to your life, or perhaps you find yourself feeling completely unfulfilled and unhappy – even though you have what others would regard as a “perfect life”? It would seem like no matter what differences we may have culturally or religiously across the world we are all seeking for some sort of purpose or definition for why we live.
“Without a vision,” the Bible tells us, “the people perish.” Another translation says, “The people run wild”.
If we study the life of man we see the need for vision or purpose is very evident. Vision creates a destination for our lives, and that destination for our lives creates satisfaction. There is a desire for more than just wandering through life without a purpose. We want to look back at our lives and feel that we have accomplished something; we want to live a successful life. We attempt to find success through things like marriage, children education, career, finances and even religion. Most people would define a purposeful life as achieving financial success. The reality is, though, that money does not translate into happiness or the feeling of achieving purpose.
Religion with all its noble values and good intentions cannot, in itself, provide true purpose.
This question then arises, “Can anyone ever find true purpose and fulfilment?” The answer is found in recognizing the uniqueness of your life, as well as recognizing the one Source of your creation ~ that is Jesus Christ! God created each one of us. He had a plan in mind for our lives even before the point of our conception. It’s a perfect plan; it is unique to every other person around us. It is God’s vision for our lives.
“In Him (Jesus) we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
WHAT IS GOD’S VISION FOR YOUR LIFE?
- That I may know Him more and more!
“This is the way to have eternal life – to know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth” (John 17:3, NLT).
Jesus tells us clearly here that we only know God the Father Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. Eternal life requires our entering into a personal relationship with
God in Jesus Christ. When we admit our sin and turn away from it, Christ’s love lives in us by the Holy Spirit.
That I may become increasingly more like HIM.
We are to be like mirrors reflecting God’s love for us.
Obey God because you are His children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil by disobeying God’s Word. We do know better.
“Now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God, Who chose you to be His children, is holy” (1 Peter 1:14-15, NLT).
In becoming more like Him, that I would reflect His love and life to others.
One of our biggest challenges is doing that to those who are closest to us.
To do the good works He prepared for me to fulfil.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).
God has uniquely gifted each person for a specific purpose in life, to fulfil specific good works that He has prepared for us to do. We should make this our guiding purpose in life.
The greatest of us is the servant of all.
TO BETTER FULFILL GOD’S VISION FOR MY LIFE:
By regular reading and study of God’s Word the Bible:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way; fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do” (2 Timothy 3:16 –17, NLT).
BY BEING COMMITTED TO THE MINSITRY TO WHICH GOD CALLS US:
“Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His coming back again is dawning near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT).
We gather together to share our faith and to strengthen one another in the Lord ~ it is getting closer to the day when Christ will return. We will face many spiritual struggles and even times of persecution. Anti-Christian forces will grow in strength. Difficulties should never be excuses for missing church services. Rather, as
difficulties try to press in on us, we should make an even greater effort to be faithful in attendance.
PREPARING FOR VISION:
Nobody wants to get to the end of life and realize, “I’ve wasted my life; “I’ve missed God’s purpose for my life”
- Vision can be defined as a divinely given picture of what could be and should be. Vision is the God-given ability of seeing things invisible.
Let’s look at how God gives a vision to us. Vision begins as a concern; a concern that God gives you, and it grows to the point where you have to do something about it.
A vision from God can seem like an impossible dream. In fact, if it does not seem like an impossible dream, it may not be a “God idea.”
VISION TAKES TIME TO GROW:
God is not in as big a rush as we are. The older I get the more I find out that God is a lot more patient than I am. When God wants to build a vision, God often takes time to plan and nurture that vision in a person’s heart.
Nehemiah 1:1 gives the date that Nehemiah first heard about the walls in Jerusalem being broken down. Nehemiah 2:1 gives the first date that Nehemiah did anything about the vision (for months).
The vision begins as a concern.
Joseph had a vision that he would be in a position of authority over his family. He told his family and it almost killed him. Good vision, wrong timing!
You can’t run off and turn your vision into reality. A clear vision is not necessarily a “green light.”
A vision rarely requires immediate action. It always requires patience.
GOD MATURES THE VISI0N IN US:
Nehemiah 1:4 –
“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact for days I mourned, fasted and prayed to the God of heaven.”
God gave him a concern. But he wasn’t ready yet. God had to mature the vision within Nehemiah’s heart.
The vision had to grow like a seed. It takes time to take root and to grow.
THE SCHEDULE IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT FOR ALL OF US:
Vision is a very delicate thing in its infancy. If you move on the vision too soon, you end up killing the vision.
When your vision is exposed it must be healthy and mature, because the harsh environment will be critical, cynical and the world will want to destroy it. God’s vision in us persists long enough for it to come to maturity.
Time allows us to discern between our ideas and God’s ideas.
GOD MATURES US IN PREPARATION FOR THE VISION:
God is at work to make us ready for Him to use us, and to mature us. Often we think and believe that we are ready for vision, but it is obvious to every one else that there should be a waiting period for us to mature. That’s why Moses spent forty years “in the wilderness” being matured before he could lead Israel to the Promised Land. This must have seemed like a waste of time to him. GOD WAS BUSY PREPARING MOSES FOR WHAT HE WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH THROUGH HIM!
The Apostle Paul spent three years in Arabia before he began his ministry.
Paul says in Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure that God who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.”
God will continue that work in your soul!
GOD PREPARES PEOPLE AND CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THE VISION:
God is working “behind the scenes” preparing the way. God has a way of putting the right people in the right circumstances.
The story of Esther is a story of timing and right circumstances. Somebody hatched a plot to kill all the Jews. At the same time the king decided to search for a new wife. He sent out a decree to bring all the beautiful young women of the country into his harem. Esther became that Queen. God put her in the right place at the right time so she could prevent a disaster from taking place. Esther’s cousin said to her:
“What’s more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Circumstances are not a result of an accident, but of God’s sovereign design. God is at work. He’s arranging us, and others to carry out His vision at His time. It is ultimately not about our Vision. It is ultimately about God’s vision! What God is doing and that we get to be part of that!!!
Whenever we get impatient, let us remember. Habakkuk 2:3 –
“But these things I plan won’t happen right away, slowly, steadily, surely the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.”
If it seems slow wait patiently for it will surely take place. But it WILL NOT be delayed!
God is at work; we have to wait for His timing. We must wait on God to mature the vision that He’s given us, to mature us and to arrange circumstances and people to carry out the vision that He has.
You know what you should be doing, but you haven’t yet found that next step what you should be doing; no green light ~ you’re not ready ~ circumstances aren’t ready.
What should you do while you wait? Nehemiah did two things:
Nehemiah’s prayer is a great example of:
Nehemiah prayed to God: –
“O Lord please hear my prayer, listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honouring You. Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favour. Put it into his heart to be kind to me” (Nehemiah 1:11).
Nehemiah knew if he were to be successful he would need God.
Jesus said in John 15:5 – “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”
If you are not depending on God, then your vision is dead on arrival!
We can begin to do our homework.
I don’t know what God is doing in your life right now. I do know that you’re here for a reason; you’re here for a purpose. You’re here because God wants to accomplish something in your life for His glory. It is not about you, you’re part of a much bigger picture of what God is doing in this World!
We have a choice to respond to God’s calling on our life – to sense that concern, that burden. See through God’s eyes what could or should be in our lives, in our family and church, and in the ministry He has called us to.
We will begin to discern what God wants to accomplish through us.
You may be in that waiting period right now and you are growing impatient because it seems so long. DON’T GIVE UP!
Waiting time is never wasted. God is maturing the vision in your heart.
Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have a part in what You are doing in the world today. Father, we want to trade our dreams for Your dreams. We want to partner with You in accomplishing what You are doing in this part of the world. I pray most of all that You would bring glory to Your Name through our lives, and what You are calling us to accomplish through You. I pray this all in the name of the One Who lived out the vision You gave Him – perfectly. In the Name of our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.”