“Vision leaks.” It’s a bucket with holes in it. As you guide yourself and others toward a goal you must constantly refresh the vision.
When asked, “What do you wish was easier about the Christian life?” many name the challenge of vision:
- How can I keep Jesus at the center of my life?
- How can I renew my passion for Him?
- How can I filter out all the distractions?
The answer: Set your mind on who Jesus actually is, according to Scripture. Instead of reverting to the guesses of our imagination (2 Corinthians 10:5), we need to look at what the Bible says about Him.
Unfortunately, the modern praise and worship movement offers almost no help in this. A song may fail to point out a single fact about the character of Jesus. Take, for instance “Jesus at the Center” by Israel Houghton:
Jesus at the center of it all
From beginning to the end
It will always be, it’s always been You
Nothing else matters,
Nothing in this world will do
‘Cause Jesus You’re the center,
Everything revolves around You
At the center of it all,
At the center of it all
While there is a place for simple and tender songs such as this one, these should not be the bulk of our praise. By themselves, these do little to help us refill the bucket of vision. They tell us too little about Jesus. If we were to substitute the name of Allah or Buddha into this song it would still make logical sense. To refill the bucket, we need a vision more specific.
Fortunately, we have such a vision in Revelation 1:12-18:
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Jesus is the Almighty. When was the last time you sang about Jesus as:
- Bearing the keys of hell and death?
He calls the church to hold fast to its first love, to repent, and to do the first works, or else He will come quickly and remove it (Revelation 2:4-5).
Does your vision of Jesus focus on His righteous plan to bring death and judgment upon His enemies? Jesus will be revealed, and in flaming fire He will take vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey His gospel. He will punish them with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
A great part of the glory of Jesus is, in fact, that He judges with righteousness for the sake of His own glory and pleasure (2 Thessalonians 1:10, Revelation 4:11). A red-eyed ruler heads our way, ready to put all enemies under His brass feet. When this is your vision of Jesus, it’s not hard to keep your eyes set on Him.
The best way to keep Jesus at the center of your mind is to realize that He is already at the center of your fate. Your own well-being, for good or bad, depends entirely on His judgment of you. He expects you to overcome. For those who can accept this vision of Jesus, let me offer seven ways to keep Him in your vision:
1. Envision the tree of life that Jesus will give you.
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Revelation 2:7b).
2. Envision Jesus overcoming the second death.
He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death (Revelation 2:11b).
3. Envision Jesus giving you hidden manna and a secret new name.
I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written (Revelation 2:17b).
4. Envision Jesus giving you power over the nations.
To him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father (Revelation 2:26b-27).
5. Envision Jesus giving you white clothes and a place in the book of life.
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life (Revelation 3:5a).
6. Envision becoming a pillar in God’s temple with God’s name written on you.
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God. (Revelation 3:12a).
7. Envision Jesus granting you to sit on His very throne.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne (Revelation 3:21).
Do you need your vision refilled? Cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Jesus is the fierce, just, flame-eyed, sword bearing rewarder of those who seek His will. He looks for those who overcome. He is coming.
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Points for discussion:
- Does this vision of Jesus come easily to your mind?
- Does your pastor convey this vision?
- Do your worship songs convey this vision?
- Do other Christians uphold this vision?