Friday, February 15, 2008

The Cost of Vision

"You shall be witnesses to me..." (Acts 1:8, NIV)

"Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall..." (2 Peter 1:10, NIV)

Pursuing the vision God has given us may cost us the love and support of family and friends. When we make the decision to stand and serve the Lord we find opposition where we least expect it. Those you would expect to agree with you and help you achieve your vision oftentimes are the ones who question your sanity and ability.

Taking up my cross and following Jesus comes with a cost that I do not fully understand until I take that first step of faith. I may be a little to a lot fearful in the endeavor, but out of devotion and love for my Lord, I have to answer His call. The shock, heartache and pain that comes from our loved ones' responses to our endeavors can cause us to stumble. Our only hope is in the Lord.

When I think about my journey with the Lord and the process of preparation that He is taking me through, I try to remember the Apostle Paul. He went through much more than I have and yet he persevered. He loved the Lord so much and was so grateful for his salvation that he did not allow anything or anyone to sway him. As Oswald Chambers says in his book, My Utmost For His Highest, "Nothing other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God." Keeping our eyes on Jesus is the only way to achieve the vision given to us.

Dr. Myles Munroe wrote The Principles and Power of Vision. It is a great book that clarifies what it takes to pursue God's call on our lives and helps to map out a plan to achieve the vision. He asked questions that made me laugh because I know myself well enough to know what my answers would be if I were not madly, deeply in love with the Lord. For example, if you knew beforehand what being a witness for Jesus meant would you do it? Would you press on if you knew that it may cost you the love of family and friends? If you knew God was going to take you through dark and lonely places, would you step out or would you run in the opposite direction? These are good questions to ponder and I can say that having gone through dark and lonely places, living through family ridicule and falling often I will still press on for the love of God. The unspeakable joy of His Presence and His love for me far outway what I have been through.

In my walk, I have learned that even though God has given me a vision of greatness, I cannot run ahead of Him and make it happen. Oswald Chambers says that after God gives us His vision, He then has to take us into the valley to mold and shape us into that vision. Our trials, tribulations, and darkness are times of preparation and the building of a solid foundation in the Lord. This is the time where God wants us to get to know Him and Him alone. This is the time where we consistently read His Word, pray without ceasing, delight in His Presence and learn to walk by faith, not by sight. This is when His Word comes alive. It becomes a part of us until the day we realize that we have been living the vision all along. What God wants us to see is that the vision cannot be accomplished without Him. We can't run ahead of Him, but we can run beside Him. So holding us back, making us wait and even allowing us to fail teach us that we are nothing without Him.

If you are questioning your abilities and decision to serve the Lord, I encourage you to take a deep breath and embrace the vision burning in your heart. It is your gift from God, your birthright. Just because others don't see what you see doesn't mean it will not come to pass. Stay focused on the vision and the One Who created it. Trust and believe that it will happen just as you have been shown. Our God doesn't tease us with dreams, but faithfully gives us all things for His purposes.

Be encouraged, strong and courageous. He will never leave you nor forsake you. You can do this. As a matter of fact, you already are!

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