“Where there is no vision, the people perish/cast off restraint” Proverbs 29:18a.
This month I have been meditating on the importance of vision. Vision provides an important motivation, a direction in which to head, a goal to pursue. On a personal level, this can be easily demonstrated by a teenager who graduates from high school with absolutely no plans; he might wind up in some very interesting places, say McDonald’s or Burger King, but he is virtually guaranteed to never be a medical doctor or the president of the United States as long as he lives life without any vision. Anything worth attaining requires vision, and the Bible recognizes this reality. As Solomon contemplated life, he said that “where there is no vision, the people perish” or, depending on the translation, “cast off restraint.” It turns out that in the spiritual world as well as in the material one, important accomplishments do not happen by simply ambling off in whatever random direction you feel like going. This is true on an individual level but it is also true on an organizational level. Organizations without vision ultimately struggle to find a reason to exist; they may look to and fro or try this and that but they will never go anywhere or achieve much of anything.
In the secular world, a vision may simply be an organization’s determined direction and culture or an individual's goals and dreams; they make them up for their own purposes and strive towards them in their own strength. However, in the Christian world, vision must be God-inspired; a merely human vision will not accomplish God’s purpose. Human visions reflect human dreams and factor in human resources. But believers in Christ are meant for much more than that. The vision we are seeking is not ours but Christ's and is not accomplishable with merely human resources, it requires divine power.
Scripture warns us that to be lacking a Godly vision will lead to our casting off restraint. I have seen many Christians and some churches in this condition. It can manifest itself in sliding standards and church lethargy or in petty squabbles and larger church fights. When you know where you are headed, it is relatively easy to figure out when a certain idea or behavior is counter productive to the vision and call for a change. But when there is no vision almost anything goes and the church begins to look a lot like a body that is trying to pull itself apart or like one that is comatose. Ultimately, a lack of a God-given vision results in people perishing, both those inside the church (through behaviors that are destructive and ultimately disconnect them from God) and those outside the church (who are left without a Godly witness to invite them to know Him).
This month I would like to invite you to join me in seeking God’s vision, both on a personal level and corporately. We need a God-given vision that can only come by prayerfully seeking His will and can only be fulfilled through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s dream God’s dreams!