Whenever someone speaks about VISION, there’s one go-to verse that nearly always comes up:
Where there is no vision – the people perish – Proverbs 29:18
Another translation of this verse says “Without a vision, the people cast off restraint” – Proverbs 29:18. Whichever version you read, it’s clear that vision is important. Without a strong sense of the future and a clear reason for being, it’s only a matter of time before even the greatest things start to die. People will commit to huge constraints on their time, money and energy when they believe in a vision that’s yet to come to pass – but without that vision, the burdens seem pointless and apathy easily sets in.
Walking The Land
In Genesis 12, we see something interesting played out in the life of Abraham. God calls him to leave the land he’s been living in and go to a new land that he will be shown. But Abraham doesn’t go and just stand on a hill and look over the land – he walks right through it:
When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negev – Genesis 12:6-9
The same can be seen in the life of Joshua. He rallied the people to walk into the land that God had promised them and God said to Joshua:
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses – Joshua 1:3
So Abraham WALKED throughout the land. Everywhere that Joshua PUT HIS FEET, the land was given to him.
But I think there is more to this than just ‘prayer-walking’. In both situations, as Abraham and Joshua travelled through their promise they EXPERIENCED what God was giving them. They didn’t just see the vision from afar, but they took the time to walk through the vision, to become accustomed to it, to touch it themselves.
It wasn’t just about where their feet walked, it also about what their EYES saw while their feet were walking.
Experiencing The Vision
When I was young there were empty lots down the end of the road I lived on. They were just grass sections with not much happening on them. But then one day construction began and eventually brand new houses were built on the sections.
Long before those houses ever appeared in the ‘real world’, they were visions inside the mind of an architect. While everyone else saw an empty lot, the architect saw the completed house that would sit on the lot. They saw the bedrooms, the kitchen, the lounge rooms, the garage. Maybe they saw as far as the light fittings, the bench top and the tapware.
What started as a vision inside their head grew and developed through plans and detailed drawings. Eventually it was clear enough to pass on to a team of people who together would build the house.
The most compelling visions are more than just a statement or a few lines on a piece of paper. They’re strong pictures held in the heart and mind, realities that we’ve seen by faith that don’t exist yet in the world – but that God wants to bring to pass. It’s different from visualisation because visualisation is simply creating what WE want to see happen in the future. True vision is comprehending and seeing what God has planned. One is a fantasy, the other has SUBSTANCE!
See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain – Exodus 25:40
When Moses constructed the tabernacle, he made something no one had ever seen before. But he already had a plan that he was building to…. that which was ‘shown to him on the mountain’. He then built what he had seen, what he had experienced.
The clearer as leaders that we can SEE what God is wanting to do, the more familiar we become with it – the better we are at being able to articulate it to others. We can pass the plans on to the leaders and teams around us and they can begin to build with confidence.
The Authority To Speak
It stands to reason that the more time that leaders spend seeing the vision that God wants to release through them, the better they will be able to pass that vision on to others. There comes an authority when they speak that those who have merely had a good idea one day can’t come close to.
When Jesus spoke on the kingdom of heaven, he was able to speak with great detail and great authority. Why? Not because He’d heard someone talk about it once, or He’d woken up with a good idea one morning – it’s because He’d EXPERIENCED it. He knew the kingdom of Heaven not just intellectually but experientially.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. – 1 John 1:1
The apostles were able to communicate such a clear picture of Jesus because they had seen him, beheld him, their hands had touched his wounds. They’d experienced Him. So what they were communicating wasn’t just some good thoughts, but a reality.
In many ways, Vision and Faith are very similar. True vision is about seeing something that God wants to do but hasn’t done yet, and co-labouring with Him to bring it about. Faith, too, is being certain of ‘what we do not see’. Maybe we don’t see it with our physical eyes, but when faith’s involved it’s clear as day to our hearts!
Now It’s Our Turn!
So what has God shown you about the future? What’s that thing that exists on the inside that He’s calling you to build on the outside? Take the time to EXPERIENCE it – walk through it and feel what it’s like, take in every element. The clearer we see what God wants us to do, the easier it becomes to bring it into the here and now on the earth.