How Can We Pursue God’s Life-Changing Vision for Our Lives?
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).
According to the psalmist, vision is the key to living a happy and blessed life.
The reasons are many. When you and I have no vision for our lives, we will have no drive or discipline; we don’t know what to aim for, or direction to take. We don’t know how to focus our talents and energies and abilities to achieve a goal. Without vision, we lack significant purpose, are indecisive, and simply aimless.
Without vision, we may exist, but we never actually live. We may go through the motions of life but never experience the joy of achievement and success.
But if “vision” is key to having a happy life, we should ask ourselves: what is vision?
What Is Vision?
“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed” (Proverbs 29:18, MSG).
Notice instead of using the word “vision,” the Message version of Proverbs 29:18 uses the phrase “what God is doing” and what God “reveals.” Real vision is all about what God tells you He wants for your life.
Who cares what the naysayers and haters say, or what family and friends prefer for your life – that is not what creates a happy and blessed life. All that matters is what God wants for your life, and what He wants for you is good.
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:16-17).
Seeing Farther Than the Eyes Can Look
Vision is an ability to “see” farther than the natural eyes can look. It’s holding a picture of what God wants for your life in your mind. It’s an image for your future that you can vividly see with your own imagination. It gives you a goal to pursue, and encourages you to focus as you journey through life.
Vision is something you see in your mind’s eye that is so real it becomes a guiding force in your life. And it’s more powerful than obstacles we see, because our natural sight is limited and can ultimately be deceiving. That is, our eyes can mislead us.
For example, if we see “broke” and “lack” in our lives, we can be misled into thinking God wants “broke” and “lack” for our destiny. If we see “illness” in our bodies, we can be misled into thinking God wants that for us. Or maybe we see unfaithfulness in a spouse, abuse by a parent, failure of a business, closed doors of opportunity, or dysfunction in society. In just about everything, our natural eyes can mislead us. But if we have vision, we will be able to see what God wants in the situation and act accordingly.
Having an Inner Picture
The word vision comes from the Hebrew word chazon, and it essentially means to see something which has yet to come into being. You do see it, but it is on the inside, in your mind’s eye, in your spirit where God communicates with us. As Johnathan Swift once said – vision is the art of seeing things invisible.
It’s a Spirit-to-spirit communication – exploding and illuminating a vivid picture of what He wants for our lives in high definition. And that inner picture from Him becomes a road map in life telling us what to do, where to go, what to focus on, what to invest in, and ultimately how to be blessed.
As Helen Keller once said, the saddest thing on earth is not the man or woman without sight. It’s the person without vision! So get a vision – without it, life is aimless; with it, life is blessed!
How to Get a Life-Changing Vision
How do you change the unchangeable? Fix the unfixable? Alter the impossible?
How can you go from stuck, broke, trapped, sick and depressed, to freed and blessed and released and healthy and happy? You get a vision!
And what better way is there to study vision than by looking at the account of blind Bartimaeus – a man who couldn’t see, but had incredible vision.
1. Connect with Christ
“Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.’ And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ The blind man said to Him, ‘Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road” (Mark 10:46-52).
All Bartimaeus knew was a life of begging. He’d grown accustomed to begging, was comfortable with begging, and resigned to begging. His lot in life had been sealed: sitting by the roadside waiting for someone to put something in his cup. But Bartimaeus’ whole life changed when he got a vision of what God wanted for him.
Notice it says when he heard that Jesus was passing by, “he cried out.” Not a cry of desperation, but from inspiration – a cry of hope because of the renewed vision that he’s received because of what he’d heard about Jesus.
He’s heard that Jesus walked on water, healed lepers, unstopped deaf ears. He’s heard that Jesus changed water into wine and healed the lame and withered.
And because of such testimony to God’s love and power, Bartimaeus got a vision of what God wanted for his life – a vision he had never even hoped for. He started to get an inner picture of what his life could be.
He started to see further than his eyes could look when he made a connection to the love of God in Christ Jesus.
2. Want a Change Desperately!
While the Bible doesn’t say how long Bart was sitting by the roadside begging, the implication seems to be all of his life up until that point. Day after day, night after night… sitting by the road side begging, along with all the other beggars. Then Jesus came by and everything changed.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Some may have thought it was the cry of a crazy man, an outburst of a person who had lost his mind and needed to be put away from society and hushed.
But clearly Jesus recognized it was the cry of someone who desperately wanted a change in his life, and to get God’s vision for something better.
It is the same for us. Godly vision comes when we are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and are desperate for different results.
3. Step Away from the Crowd
“Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called to the blind man, ‘cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you’” (Mark 10:49).
Bartimaeus wasn’t the only beggar by the roadside. There were many others gathered to beg for their provision and survival. In fact, it was a custom and norm of the day. But in this account, Bartimaeus took a leap of faith, driven by desperation, stepped away from the crowd of other beggars, and made his way toward Jesus.
That’s also how we get vision.
We cannot get vision by being in the middle of the crowd, always listening to other voices. In order to hear what God says, we’ve got to step away from the noise and get still!
“Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10).
In a world of constant noise (TV and radio, traffic, people pulling us this way and that), there still remains one tried and true way of hearing the voice of God: step away from the crowd, get into a place of solitude and listen for the voice of our Creator.
4. Let Go of the Old
Now, some of you might say, Pastor, this passage doesn’t mention once that Bart got a new vision for his life, and you made a whole teaching out of it!
Oh, but I would argue it does.
“And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:50).
As vision began to form on the inside of Bartimaeus, enabling him to see farther than his eyes could look, Jesus called him to come. Now he had to get up and walk toward Jesus.
It’s an easy enough task for most people, but not so simple for someone who cannot see. But even though the walk itself took courage, it paled in comparison to what the walk represented. In order for Bartimaeus to leave his roadside spot as a beggar and walk toward a new space in life, he had to throw off his coat and leave it behind.
His coat identified him as a beggar. It represented who he was in society, how he survived, and defined his old way of doing things. And he had to let go as he walked in faith toward the newness of life that Jesus could provide.
If we are to receive God’s vision for our lives, we must also throw aside anything that defines the old ungodly way of seeing and believing.
Let it go – it’s not worth missing the good things our Father has in store. God’s got something better!
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Sergey Tinyakov
Frank Santora is Lead Pastor of Faith Church, a multi-site church with locations in Connecticut and New York. Pastor Frank hosts a weekly television show, “Destined to Win,” which airs weekly on the Hillsong Channel and TBN. He has authored thirteen books, including the most recent, Modern Day Psalms and Good Good Father. To learn more about Pastor Frank and this ministry, please visit www.franksantora.cc. Photo by Michele Roman.