Wouldn’t it be awesome if you actually lived the life you want to live? Do the things you always wanted to do? In Ephesians 2:10 the Bible tells us that God created us with a particular purpose in mind:
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)
The dreams and visions we have of our future, of what we want to do in life, very often are a strong indicator of the purpose that God created us for. Our dreams are a tiny “seed” God planted inside us.
When we talk about ‘having a vision for your life’, what it means is putting those dreams inside of us into words. A vision describes the future we cannot yet see. When we write our vision, we may not know all the details, or how we will get there.
Scriptures on vision and purpose
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells us the Parable of the Talents. Three stewards were entrusted with different amounts of talents (i.e. money). Two invested and multiplied it. One dug a hole and buried his talent in the ground. He did not even try.
God also calls us to be good and faithful stewards of the purpose, gifts and talents he has given us. The future we envision will not just fall into our lap. Instead, we need to set goals, make plans and work diligently. This is exactly what the Bible says about vision. Let’s take a look.
Scriptures on the power of vision
Genesis 15:5 “Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (NLT)
Hebrews 11:9+10 “He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.“ (NIV)
There is power in having a vision! When Abraham looked at the sky, he had no children of his own and his wife was barren. God told him to take his eyes off his circumstances and look towards the future.
Looking towards the heavenly city empowered Abraham (as well as Isaac and Jacob) to stay in the Promised Land as a foreigner. All his life, he lived in tents. His safety and well-being was not certain, but he never returned to his father’s house.
These verses illustrates well the difference between physical sight (seeing “reality”) and spiritual sight (seeing God’s vision for our life). (Be sure to also read: The power of having a vision)
Scriptures on not having a vision
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is one who keeps the Law.” (NASB)
1 Samuel 3:1 “Now in those days messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.“ (NLT)
Ezekiel 7:26 “Calamity will follow calamity; rumor will follow rumor. They will look in vain for a vision from the prophets. They will receive no teaching from the priests and no counsel from the leaders.” (NLT)
Do you sometimes have the feeling that life is happening to you? That you are not in control? This is probably because you don’t have a vision for your life!
Without a vision we’ll end up doing things we don’t want to do. We get off the right track. Other people or circumstances make decisions on our behalf.
When the people of Israel experienced seasons without any vision or prophetic word, they found themselves in a hopeless situation. They got alienated from their God-given purpose, lacked direction and had no idea what to do when challenges came their way.
Scriptures on vision and trusting God
Genesis 12:1 “Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.’” (ESV)
Matthew 4:19-20 “And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.“ (ESV)
Philippians 4:13 “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (NLT)
James 1:5 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.“ (NLT)
The first time we have a sense of God’s calling on our life, we may not yet see the full picture. Abram left his father’s house to go into a land he did not know. Peter left his nets behind, followed Jesus and wondered: “what exactly is a fisher of men?”
We may not have the full picture, but unless we step out, we will never know. Think about a satnav, it will only give you directions, if you actually start driving. God will give you the strength and wisdom to face the challenges ahead of you, he will give you creative ideas and he will establish your steps.
Scriptures on writing a vision
Habakkuk 2:2-3 “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 30:2-3 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah. For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah…” (NLT)
Writing down your vision for your life means that you visualise, or verbalise, those dreams you have on your heart. You will have it right in front of you, to remind you of where you are going.
Scriptures on goal setting
Proverbs 21:15 “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” (NLT)
Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (ESV)
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (ESV)
Whatever you set out to do, count the cost and make a plan! Prayerfully start setting goals that help you move towards your vision. And trust God that he will establish your steps (i.e. make them firm).
Scriptures on hard work and diligence
Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” (ESV)
Philippians 2:12 “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Writing your vision, making your vision board and setting goals is not enough. Fulfilling the purpose you are called to is hard work. We need to invest our time, energy and probably also money.
The Israelites were given the Promised Land as an inheritance. But they had to take possession of it by fighting and winning battles. If you have a dream or a vision for your life, you’re the one who needs to do the work!
Scriptures about mixing your vision with faith
Romans 4:17 “As it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” (ESV)
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV)
2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (ESV)
Hebrews 3:18-19 “‘To whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” (ESV)
Having a vision is connected to having faith. Your current circumstances may look very different to the vision God has given you. But if this vision, these desires in your heart, are truly from him: you can believe him! (Be sure to also read: Turning a crisis into an opportunity)
Don’t forget: the reason for faith must always be the promises of God. There is no point in believing God for something that he has not promised!
Scriptures on social responsibility
Isaiah 32:8 “But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.” (NLT)
Proverbs 31:15+20 “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.” (ESV)
One aspect of good stewardship is looking out for others and advancing the Kingdom of God. Think about how you can invest your skills and your success into others and into the Kingdom. Serve in a church group, offer free advice, mentor others.
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Scriptures on letting go of the past
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
Luke 9:62 “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (NIV)
Isaiah 43:3 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (ESV)
Don’t let past mistakes or failures discourage you or hold you back. If you want to move forward, you need to forgive yourself and let go of the past.
Scriptures on making God your priority
Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (NLT)
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” (ESV)
James 4:13-15 “You who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring… Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (ESV)
Finally, we need to surrender our vision and all our plans to God. They must never become more important to us than God. God’s calling on our life, even if it is full-time ministry, is all about him!
When we surrender our vision to God, then he also has permission to modify our plans, send us on detours, allow us to wait and wait. Let’s be prepared for modifications as well as surprises: the outcome of our vision may not look exactly the way we anticipated!
Maybe Abraham thought the land God was leading him to, was empty! But no, there were other people living in it already. Peter thought, when Jesus had toppled the Romans, he would become his prime minister! But he learned eventually that God had greater plans!
Don’t make an idol out of your vision
And last but not least, a bonus verse for us all:
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)
I really want to emphasise this: Don’t be enslaved to your vision or your goals – no matter how noble or spiritual they may be! They must never dominate us. Jesus is our Lord, he is our master and his yoke is easy, his burden is light. Enjoy life, and enjoy the moment!
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