The following is a guest post by Eric Mason. Dr. Eric Mason is co-founder and lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pa. In addition to his role there, he serves as president of Thriving, a ministry dedicated to aiding ethnic minorities to be resourced and trained for ministry to the urban context.
Are you one of those people who attempts to put things together without using the instructions? You realize that says something very telling about you, right?
Manuals typically begin by instructing you to verify that you have all of the parts and tools necessary to complete the project. They recommend that you read the entire plan before beginning. They tend to feature step-by-step images so that you can visualize where you are and what needs to happen next to finish the piece.
If this sounds like a metaphor for life, that is because it is. A vision is a picture of where you want to be. It’s the ultimate goal statement. Churches, corporations, and organizations all have vision statements that communicate their mission and their values. Even individuals and families can have vision statements that illustrate their commitment, purpose, and life goals.
A good vision statement should govern decisions. It is the first filter for any choice that a company, church, or individual Christian must use. If an option isn’t in keeping with the vision, nor helps further the cause of achieving it, the answer is clear. Vision directs decision.
Many Christians are crippled today when it comes to making decisions. Their view of God’s leadership in their lives forces them to sit idly on the sidelines waiting for specific revelation in every area of life before making any sort of decision at all. What they fail to realize is that God doesn’t desire to give us every answer, but instead to grow in us godly wisdom so that we make wise decisions.
God’s plan for us includes maturity. Spiritual maturity includes the ability to discern, decide, and ultimately make the wise choice. Giving you wisdom is different than giving you answers.
Vision requires wisdom and wisdom comes from the Lord. It is yours for the asking (see James 1:5). Scripture says that without vision, people run wild (see Proverbs 29:18). This reference is about prophetic vision, which, in this case, is about instruction from the Lord. Without it, people lose. We need God’s Word in order to live godly lives. God’s plan is to grant us the wisdom and discernment necessary to develop a vision motivated by faith, hope, and love. No one said this journey would be easy. It will, however, be rewarding.
Following God’s plan for your life doesn’t mean you get a step-by-step blue-print, but it does mean you are blessed with an incredible picture of the end goal. It means you are endowed with the tools to cast a vision and build a life modeled after God’s design.