We are continuing from yesterday to think about the vision God gave Abram, soon to have his name changed to Abraham. It was about the future of his descendants, that they would become a great nation. When God calls a man or woman to a particular task, often He will give them a vision. Leaders are often given an image in his or her mind's eye of how the future will look. After getting a vision, one must prayerfully plan how he or she is to bring the image into reality. As I write, I remember more than 40 years ago the thoughts God put in my heart for my future. It is not the same method for every person. Stay open to God and be alert to His promptings. God’s vision to Abraham was to look up at the stars in the night sky:
“Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:5-6).
God used various things in my life to give me a vision for what I was to do. Shortly after God called me from my career as a commercial fisherman, I worked for a while as a window cleaner, and as a painter and decorator. During this time, I had a passion for leading a small group in our home, along with my wife, Sandy. At one point, I worked in a print shop for a Christian printing organization called Cornerstone Print and Design. This small printing company served missionary agencies as well as other churches and Christian organizations in England by printing all kinds of literature that would help them to reach the world for Christ. I remember they had a sign on the wall that said: "A drop of ink will make a million think!" The sign on the wall grabbed my attention. God used my time at that printing agency to give me a vision for spreading His Word to others, even in other countries. I could see the need for Christian tracts, and God began to stir my heart for the needs of other nations that had little resources to learn of the Lord. God began to show me His vision to reach the world, and that is what I am still seeking to fulfill today. God can use the everyday things in life to speak to your heart about His goal for your life.
What is a vision? I have heard it described as "foresight with insight based on hindsight." We ought to look into the future and begin to see with the eyes of faith what God wants us to do. Vision also focuses on one's present circumstances and asks the question: "how do I get there from here?" Also, vision takes into account the learning that one has accumulated from the past. A vision is a clear mental image of a preferable future given to a man or woman of God, to enable him or her to work toward that particular goal that he or she has seen. When a person has obtained a clear vision of what God wants to do, then the man or woman of God goes to the Lord in prayer for practical steps to reach that goal or vision. Without concrete steps toward the preferable future, there is difficulty in stretching beyond the present reality. Abram was shown a picture in his mind's eye of the future that he was waiting for and holding onto in faith.
How does God envision us? What methods does He use today? How can you tell if a vision is from God? God will often use His Word, or a message through a dream, through song, encouragement from another, a mentor, or someone who inspires us to do what they are doing—maybe even this short meditation! It can also be a need which we want to meet, or a strong desire to do something that will right a wrong. It can be as simple as a natural God-given talent mixed with strong desire.
If a vision is from God, it will always be in line with Scripture. Test your vision to see if it matches up with the Word of God. Ask God to give you the first step in understanding how to bring your vision into reality. Be ready to take steps of faith. Often, there is an excitement that comes when we see what God has for us to do. Paul the apostle writes: “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). What vision sustains you while you wait for God's promises to be fulfilled? If the vision is not clear before you, go to the Lord and ask Him to show you His plan and purposes for your life. Keith Thomas