I was recently in a bible study group where the topic of discussion was the vision of the particular church the group attended. After the group discussed the vision, a question was raised, which I will discuss in this blog. The question was: “does each church have its own vision or do we all, as individuals and members of Christ’s body, have one vision?”
With regards to vision, a commonly mentioned verse is Proverbs 29:18: “where there is no vision, the people perish.” The ‘vision’ referred to here is synonymous with the spiritual capacity to see or know the plan of God. The word ‘vision’ in the original Hebrew refers to seeing, perceiving, beholding, and to have revelation. Therefore, Prov. 29:18 is not refereeing to mere statements of spiritual mandate but the spiritual capacity to perceive. However, we are accustomed to the term ‘vision’ as mainly referring to the specific purpose of the particular church or ministry.
In line with this, we have come to see many churches and ministries declare and proudly display their particular vision and mandate. We see diversities of visions guiding the focus of the teachings and activities of these churches. Some contend for revivals, gifts, signs and wonders, while others emphasize outreach and winning souls, some teach on prosperity while still others stress helping the poor and destitute, while some contend for building the Kingdom by ascending social, economic and political ladders in society. Space does not permit me to list the countless vision statements that various churches emphasize. These differences may seem like a blessing, however, instead of building up the body of Christ towards unity, they produce division due to the multiplicities of ideas, missions, and teachings.
This was a condition that started early in the church in Corinth, where Paul states: “each of you say: ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas’ or ‘I am of Christ’” (1 Corinth. 1:12). Notice Paul says: “each of you.” Individualism and self-seeking had penetrated the hearts of the believers who affiliated with specific leaders in the church. As in Paul’s time, we see many saying today: I am Pentecostal, Charismatic, Apostolic, word of faith, Baptist, Anglican, Presbyterian and on and on. This is in no way a blessing but a product of religion resulting in denominationalism and sectarianism. The word ‘di-vision’ itself indicates multiple views or differences in vision.
Paul tells us that the root cause of the division in Corinth was carnality. He states: “for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and division among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” Self-seeking is a paramount indicator of carnality. It is from the selfish motives of the carnal mind that envy, strife and all kinds of divisions emanate. Therefore, what many church leaders have done by declaring visions for their churches is the very manifestation of carnality disguised with seemingly spiritual and well-intentioned causes.
The subtlety and set-back of the numerous visions declared by the churches is that it distracts and diverts believers from knowing the paramount vision of God. It presents countless plans and activities suppressing the definitive will of God from taking root in the believer. Ask believers what the vision of God is and you will get a multitude of answers depending on who you ask. The multiplicity of visions has so preoccupied the body of Christ that many fail to grasp the vision of God. This may be a harsh statement, but the church at large does not yet have a full revelation of the vision of God for the ages. Of course knowing the vision of God is of great importance. Knowing the vision of God is recognizing and walking in agreement with the destiny for which God apprehended us. The vision of God is the will of God and the will of God is the plan of God. One cannot please the Father without walking in His will and according to His plan.
The Vision & the Seed
In getting hold of the vision of God we have to establish that the vision of God is tied to His Seed. The Seed is in each of us and that Seed is Christ. Similarly, every promise of God is to the Seed and not to man. God’s promise was to Abraham’s Seed. “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘and to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). The promise of God is ONLY to His Seed. Similarly, the vision of God is tied to His Seed. In fact everything God has ordained to establish is tied to His Seed. The world itself was made for Him for “all things were created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).
Let us establish in our hearts that the plan of God is to consummate all things in Christ. A wonderful verse that sums up the vision of God is found in Ephesians 1:10. For it is the purpose of the Father that “in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him” (Eph. 1:10). It is the plan of God to reconcile all things in Christ until God becomes all and in all (1 Corinth. 15:28). It is the Father’s good pleasure that through the many membered Christ He would fill everything everywhere with Himself (Eph. 1:23 Amp). God is now accelerating this divine vision to manifest Christ in us.
This vision was the driving passion of Paul’s ministry. His relentless labor in his life and the life of the saints was that the mind of Christ would have unhindered preeminence. He knew that the Christ in us was the only hope of glory. We were all called with this hope of our calling; to be in union with and to manifest the indwelling Christ. Therefore, Him alone we declare and preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:28-29). Like Paul, to this end, all should labor. All other visions are fruitless.
Being acquainted with the vision of God is not only knowing the ultimate agenda of God but knowing how God plans to bring this vision to culmination. It’s absolutely wonderful to receive the revelation that God will reconcile all things in Christ and ultimately be “all in all.” But to receive the revelation of the process by which God has planned to bring to fruition this glorious plan is a great mystery which God is opening our eyes to perceive. God is now revealing this wonderful plan to His sons, to the first fruit company of overcomers whom God has apprehended. It is for these manifested sons that creation waits in eager expectation, for creation itself will be liberated from the corruption in which it is under bondage (Rom. 8:19, 21).
Dear saint, the paramount vision of God for your life is that you would become mature and perfect in Christ. That you would permit the in-working of the Spirit of God to nurture the indwelling Christ to be so developed in you that you move and live and have your being in Him. This is the only way God can get glory out of your life. Let this be the paramount vision of your life for it is the vision which God has predestined from the foundation of the world. Let Christ be your vision.