I pray 2014 will become “the year of clarity” for all of us!
This is what I believe and expect personally‚ as well as for the Body of Christ.
The Biblical wisdom tells us that “where there’s no vision‚ the people perish” (Prov. 29:18) It’s also possible to have a vision and yet lack the clarity needed to advance God’s vision into the complex human experience we call “life”.
I will attempt to answer the following two questions: 1) What does it mean to have a vision? 2) What does it mean to have clarity‚ specifically in relation to having vision?
What does it mean to have a vision? Let’s first answer this question in brief‚ before going into more detail. You can read more about having a vision from God here.
When it comes to the Bible‚ to receive a vision from God literally means for God to show you something in the realm of the Spirit. It May be while in prayer that a picture or a series of pictures will unfold before you. Or it May be in a dream or series of dreams. Such visions need to be submitted in prayer to God and further understanding must be sought as to what they mean.
Visions and dreams from God are never in disagreement with the written Word of God.
Variations and nuances of what it means “to have a vision” Years ago a newer generation of preachers began to preach on what it means to “have a vision”. Most of this teaching came from the Church in the United States. Dr. David Yongi Cho from South Korea has also been a strong voice in this area.
After many years of studying this subject‚ I’ve come to realize this kind of teaching was good but fell short of “the full counsel of God”‚ if we are to use the language of the apostle Paul in Acts 20:27 The first problem our modern “have a vision” paradigm has‚ comes from the actual word “vision” and how it was used in Scripture.
If we examine the biblical usage of the word‚ we will notice that it’s used mostly to describe not just setting a goal for yourself but to have an actual‚ definite‚ spiritual experience in which God reveals to someone in spiritual vision His word or purpose. One of many examples is the way Isaiah describes it the beginning of his book (See Isaiah 1:1) The western concept of “having a vision” has much in common with the positive thinking movement of the 20th century. It this context‚ to “have a vision” has to do more with developing a mental picture of what one wants to become or what one wants to achieve. This was a good teaching to come to the Church and help Christians to realize they don’t have to be too mystical about making things happen in this world. It’s a liberating thought to realize that God has given us already the faculties to learn about ourselves‚ the world around us and to achieve various goals in life.
What does it mean to have clarity? It’s one thing to have a vision from God‚ it’s an entirely different thing to have spiritual clarity. The Biblical term is “discernment”. Not only is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit the gift of discernment of spirits‚ the Holy Spirit himself is the Spirit of Truth. Truth doesn’t just mean “the right doctrine”. It means also “actual reality”. One of the problems we all have is that even when God speaks to us and shows us in a vision how He wants us to move with Him in the earth‚ this still doesn’t mean we have clarity. The greatest problem is our soul which can alter quite a bit the true purpose of what God shows us. A vision from God can conflict greatly with our intellectual‚ emotional or traditional make up.
Many of us already have received a vision from God. What we don’t have is clarity.
Many of us don’t quite have clear understanding of what the vision means‚ how does it fit everything else that’s going on‚ etc.
a) Moral clarity One of the greatest concerns today is the fact that we live in a generation that lacks moral clarity. Before we talk about any other kind of clarity‚ we need to address the elephant in the room. The reason so many Christians are abandoning the faith today is because so many people feel like they can set up their own moral standards. This ends up being mostly “situational” morality‚ in which something is wrong or right “depending on the situation”. Bringing moral clarity to this generation doesn’t mean we have to condemn and be religiously nasty and fanatical. However‚ it does mean we must be a people who have convictions and know how to live with integrity‚ i.e. our lives to measure up to our convictions. This year‚ May we continue to be a bulwark of God’s truth in this generation – we owe it to Him who died for us on the cross and we owe to those who are lost and need him‚ even if they don’t demonstrate or realize their need at all times.
b) Humility brings clarity To humble ourselves is up to us‚ not to God. God will do his part and show us things when we seek him. We humble ourselves by accepting we’re only part of God’s greater Kingdom work and purpose‚ by reminding ourselves we alone can never fulfill God’s vision and by being willing to submit our visions to others and allow them to have their input. We humble ourselves in fasting and prayer. We humble ourselves when we take a step back and we choose to see controversial situations from the vantage point of someone else‚ May be even our “enemy” or simply someone we disagree with. We humble ourselves when release grace instead of judgement‚ to those who hinder our progress and feel like a burden to our development.
c) Removing assumptions brings clarity It has been said that the greatest lesson Aristotle taught Alexander the Great was: “Don’t assume anything!” Most of us assume too much most of the time. We assume that if God showed us something‚ it’s a guarantee it will work out well and easy. We assume people will understand it‚ rejoice and support us in it. We assume we know how to go about doing what God has told us. We assume we have or will have the resources needed. In reality‚ none of this May be true. God showing us a vision is only an invitation for us to seek him and get clear on what is really going on and how we can be part of it. When we remove assumptions‚ we develop the boldness to see things for what they are and the picture might be scary and overwhelming. We May find ourselves on “ground zero” of our life with God and it May take months to remove all the assumptions to be able to see a matter for what it is. However‚ in this place of “reality” is where God will give us His true grace to accomplish His goal.
d) History and the Word of God bring clarity We need to learn how to reconcile our vision with the historical and Biblical truth. We can’t be so arrogant as to think that just because God is giving us a vision to advance his Kingdom‚ this has never been done before. The Biblical‚ as well as the historic record probably have much to speak to what we see as new‚ exciting or challenging. People who rush into changing the world without learning from the world’s history‚ might end up in the same traps that besieged countless others before them. We can’t be naive and foolish about the past. It holds the keys to our present and future. I pray this year to become a year of clarity for us as believers. For us to remove the assumptions and see clearly the true state of what is going on around us. For us to be more humble and learn how to submit our vision to others who also know the Lord and be willing and open to receive their impartation. For us to once and for all become students of God’s Word and history and eliminate the arrogance that our generation is so smart and we know so much just because we have smartphones in our pockets and at the click of button we get access to information previously accessible only in university libraries. We desperately need to hear from God. We need to get clear on what is really going on.
We need to learn how to move as one in the Body of Christ‚ if we are serious about demonstrating God’s Kingdom in the earth.
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