It is an awesome thing, as a Christian, when we have that deep awareness of God’s hand on our life. An awareness that He has set us apart for Himself, not only to live for Him but also to serve Him. This has far-reaching implications for us. Back in the mid-1970s, I can clearly remember the impact such a revelation had on me as I worked in one of Belfast’s Hospitals. It radically changed my perspective regarding the ward, staff and patients – I was as much a ‘missionary’ there, as someone who had gone abroad to serve God.
We so need a clear understanding of God’s plans for our lives, as He reveals them through His word and His Spirit. While it is personal, it is more than that. He wants all of His people, collectively, to know this. It will deeply affect where we live, the churches we attend, the jobs we hold, the person we may marry, the friends we have, the spiritual gifts and ministries that God has given to us. One of the greatest needs for the church in Ireland today is for each member to know what exactly that “call” is for them. It results in the progressive development, at the very core of our being, of a “Kingdom of God” perspective for our lives – individually and collectively, as the church, locally and nationally.
In Proverbs 29:18 (NIV) we read – “Where there is no revelation (vision), people cast off restraint.” The Message paraphrases it like this – “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves.” As Christians, we need to know what God has planned for us. If we don’t, there are no restraints, principles, guidelines, directions for our lives and we tend, as a result, to “stumble all over ourselves.”
How do we get vision?
Primarily it flows out of knowing God and living in communion with Him. In 1 Sam. 3 we read, “In those days the word of the Lord was rare. There were not many visions.” After the Lord had called Samuel, He said: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it, tingle.” The chapter concludes with these powerful words of hope: “The Lord was with Samuel. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh and there He revealed Himself to Samuel through His word and Samuel’s words came to all Israel.” Clearly, Samuel was called to play an integral part in bringing it about. Today, we all have our part to play to see a fresh outpouring of His Spirit in and through His Church.
What must we do when we get a vision?
1. Get understanding. In Daniel 9, we read that Daniel received a vision. An angel came to him, saying: “I have come to give you insight and understanding… therefore, consider the message and understand the vision.” To consider means, to apply your mind to something. We too should apply our minds to the vision God gives us until He enables us to understand more fully what He wants us to do.
2. Make it permanent. “Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.” Hab. 2:2,3. When God gives us a vision for something, we should not treat it lightly. We need to write it down. God will never forget it, but the danger is that with the passage of time it might weaken or we might get too involved in things that do not work towards its fulfilment.
3. Seek to obey wholeheartedly the vision God has given. In Acts 26:19, Paul concluded his defence before King Agrippa with these words: “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.” What a mighty statement! When we study Paul’s life, we see how persistently he laboured towards the fulfilment of what Christ had given him to do. Paul did not allow anything to detract his attention from his calling. His vision was always focused upon Christ, and upon God’s purposes for his life.
Father, I thank You that I am part of bringing Your Kingdom from heaven to earth, here in Ireland. Give me a clear, renewed understanding of what that is, and help me with the power of Your indwelling Holy Spirit to fulfil that. Amen.