By Granville McKenzie
“I see it! I see It! It’s so clear! This is what we need to do! This is the direction in which we need to go!”
There is no doubt that it is quite an achievement to have a compelling vision. Many never obtain one. Many wish for one, but vision just seems to elude them. But you are there, and it is crystal clear. What a blessing it is to know and understand God’s divine vision for your life, for your family, and for His people who are under your care! It is an incredible privilege to have an insight into the mind of God, and we ought to be extremely appreciative to God for this knowledge.
However, vision is not the destination; it is the starting point. After we see the vision, we must commit, persist, exercise our will, and have faith. Before going any further, let us remember the “main thing” as our beloved Brother T. F. Tenney would say. Everything begins and ends with prayer. The concepts we will consider below presuppose a solid foundation of prayer. It is very easy for us as doers, movers, and shakers to get busy with all kinds of good things, with a sound base of experience, training, and education, but with a great lack of prayer. Again, this may seem to be a very obvious statement, but in your last business or strategy session with your key leaders, how much time was spent in prayer for God’s help versus the time spent in human discussion and debate? If we are able, in the human realm, to discuss and strategize our way to the fulfillment of our vision, then our vision is too small. The Lord will not point us in a direction and set us on a path that eliminates our need for Him.
COMMIT TO THE VISION.
We need to have a clear vision, a clear goal, and a clear destination. We cannot commit to five different visions and see them all through to completion. There are simply too many rivers to cross, too many hardships to bear, too little time in which to work, and too few resources to achieve a great variety of outcomes. Commit to your vision above all others. Give it your complete focus and attention. Communicate it to others. Build a great cloud of witnesses who will be able to rejoice with you when it comes to pass! As the apostle James reminded us, a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. We must be totally committed to one vision.
PERSIST IN PURSUING THE VISION.
Ezra and Nehemiah are two of the greatest books we can read concerning vision, commitment, and persistence. They clearly demonstrate that nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. The Lord sometimes finds it necessary to try us, to test our mettle, and to build into us the grit and stamina we need in order to accomplish His vision for us. Solomon is the only prominent Bible character I can recall who had everything handed to him on a silver platter, and it destroyed him. He did not have to endure the stresses of war, the desperation of famine, or the privations of poverty. He was granted wisdom superseding that of any individual before or since his time. He was never forced to learn the crucial lessons of persistence as it all came easily to him. Persistence is simply commitment yoked to a dogged determination that says, “I will not quit, no matter what.” To paraphrase Nehemiah’s concept of persistence, he said, “Let us build with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.” We will not stop for pointless meetings and distractions. We must persist until the wall is built and the vision is accomplished.
EMPLOY THE FORCE OF YOUR WILL.
Marathon runners often speak of “hitting the wall” the time late in the race when everything in their bodies screams for them to stop running. The pain is too great, the cost is too high, and the road is too long. They quickly have to grab hold of some mental and psychological tools to help themselves get past this stage of total physical exhaustion. They focus on the finish line. They visualize victory. They distract their minds with puzzles and games. They might listen to music that motivates them. They remind themselves that others have succeeded in the past. They understand that their opponents are also suffering and want to quit. Even though the body is suffering excruciating pain, oxygen deprivation, and muscle fatigue, it still has what it takes to finish the race! The runner draws upon the force of his will to coerce his body into doing things he would never have thought possible.
My father once told me the story of a time when, as a young police officer, he chased a thief on foot through the streets of his city. His boots felt like lead weights and the thick cloth of his uniform seemed to restrict every move. Nothing in his training had prepared him for this marathon. As he kept running he told himself, “I’ve run too far to lose this arrest!” Finally, he got close enough to reach out and touch the thief’s shoulder, which caused the thief to immediately collapse to the ground. My dad slapped the handcuffs on him and they both sat panting on the ground until they could catch their breath. As he was being led off to the police station, the thief finally recovered enough to say, “Man, I was so tired, I was wondering why you wouldn’t stop!” We certainly have enemies in the spiritual realm who would love to see us stop running, stop striving, stop praying, and stop fighting because we are tiring them out. The vision will come to pass if we do not quit before the enemy does!
HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
So, what happens when we really do exhaust all the resources of our commitment, persistence, and will? What happens when we are the ones who collapse and seem to be in handcuffs? Thank God, we still have one more weapon in our arsenal. It is called faith. It is the seemingly irrational response to the very worst of situations when we speak of a reality no one else seems to see or believe. There is a spiritual force that is always with us and gives us the power to whisper into the enemy’s ear, “You see that I am down, and it looks like I am out, but I am still winning in Jesus’ name! No weapon formed against me shall prosper, so do not start counting your chickens just yet. The vision God gave me will still come to pass!” Hebrews 11 gives us the incredible description of men and women of God who endured everything from mocking and scourging to bonds and imprisonment, stoning, sawing, temptations, and ultimately death, yet did not receive what they knew God had promised them. They went to their graves with faith that God had used them to pave the way for the fulfillment of His Word at a future date for a future generation. So ultimately, whether our vision is realized in our lifetime or in the lives of those we leave behind, we will pray and pursue our God-given vision with commitment, perseverance, will, and faith – in Jesus’ name and for His glory.
From, “Forward Magazine”/November-December 2008/Volume 39, Issue 6/page 14-15, by Granville McKenzie
This material is copyrighted and may be used to study & research purposes only