4 KEYS TO GREATER VISION

1. GLANCE BACK BUT GAZE FORWARD

Rural Road from a CarHave you ever thought about why the windshield on your car is so much larger than the rearview mirror? I suppose it would be difficult to move forward if your vision was dominated by what is behind you. When driving, it is important to remember that we should glance back but gaze forward.

Imagine if you saw someone driving and they were staring into their rearview mirror the whole time. Unless they were driving in reverse, some bad things could happen. First, they could be so focused on what is behind them that they would gradually slow down and eventually stop. Second, while continuing to move forward, they most likely would not stay in their lane, and might even swerve off the road completely. Last, they may stay on course but never enjoy the view of what is ahead until it has already passed. Glance back but gaze forward.

Over the last decade, I have worked in four organizations that were each over 100 years old. I have observed that tradition and heritage are powerful and positive contributors that supply great wisdom. However, the past must be viewed with the proper perspective, or it can paralyze an organization and keep it from moving forward.

Are you glancing back and gazing forward?


2. REALIZE HOW MUCH IS AHEAD

AugF4LongRoadWhen you are young, it is easy to dream about all the things the future has for you. As we get older and have more life experiences, there are more things to think back on from our past. However, there is always much more ahead than behind for all of us. God is an infinite Being and has created us to be eternal. I like to think of infinite and eternal individually. An infinite Being has no beginning and no end, while an eternal being has a beginning but no end.

The gift of God is eternal life. Anyone who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ has received the free gift of eternal life and has tapped into the life that our Infinite God shares with us. God is life and we have life because He shares it with us. What is ahead of us is an unlimited and unending experience of living with and in God. There is more ahead than behind. Even for the unbeliever there is an eternity ahead; however, it is not connected to the living God.

As Christians we have a lot to look forward to. God has saved us from the penalty of sin (i.e. death), through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. He is now saving us from the power of sin in our lives as we conform to the character of Christ. However, all of that culminates when He will save us from the very presence of sin and we live with Him in an eternal glorified state, where there will be no more sickness and no more pain.

Do you realize how much is ahead?


3. HONOR YOUR PAST BY NOT LIVING IN IT

LIVE-IN-PASTSometimes Facebook gives me the option to “share a memory” and it often causes me to reminisce and feel nostalgic. These feelings also hit me when I hear an old song I listened to during a different season of life. More often than not, I will choose not to share the Facebook memory, but it usually stays with me for a while after I see it. I think Facebook does this because they understand how much we like to remember things from our past.

The past is powerful. For many of us there is a fear of moving forward in faith. When an organization or an individual begins to look and move forward, it may feel as though the past is not being honored. However, it is the past that has brought you to where you are and has prepared you to take the next step. The past prepares you for progress.

Our past was not designed to get us where we are. Our past was designed by God to get us where we are going. Moving forward in faith is uncomfortable because it requires change. But God is more concerned with our character development than our comfort level. He has plans for each of us and His plans involve change. It has been said, the only constant thing in this world is change. What got you here will not keep you here. God is the Unchanging Changer of all things. He is the Unmoved Mover of all things. He loves you enough to not leave you alone.

Are you honoring the past by not living in it?


4. ASK GOD FOR GREATER VISION

wisdom-large-3James 1:5-8

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” 

James, the half-brother of Jesus, delivers a powerful promise from God in this verse. Anyone who asks for wisdom will be given it but we would do well to understand the word wisdom in this context. Dr. Tom Constable writes: “James used the word ‘wisdom’ (Gr. sophia) in the sense in which the Old Testament wisdom literature used it. There it refers to what God has revealed about His will for human life. Wisdom is seeing life realistically from God’s perspective.”

There is no better vantage point to see what is happening in our lives than from God’s perspective. He is the ultimate gauge for both physical and spiritual things. God can see the future in the same way that we see the past and He has infinite knowledge of both actual and potential things to come. How awesome is it that this omniscient (all-knowing) Being has a plan for you and for me.

Have you asked God for greater vision?


To sum it all up…

  1. Glance back but gaze forward.
  2. Realize how much is ahead.
  3. Honor your past by not living in it.
  4. Ask God for greater vision.

 

 

FEAR IS OPTIONAL

DB4C5F26-C569-4CF3-B0E0-F50878B6C29BHave you been in a situation that drastically changed the way you think about life? This past weekend I was invited to speak at an event for parents. As part of my talk, I decided to share a personal story about our oldest daughter Madi.

I will never forget the feeling of fear that came over me on that cold December Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, NC. Madi was around three years old at the time and had been feeling a little sick all morning.  She was running a slight temperature, but her symptoms had not been serious. In a moment, that dramatically changed. My wife ran into the room with Madi in her arms screaming… “HELP! MADI HAS STOPPED BREATHING!”

I took Madi into my arms and urgently told my wife, Wendy, to call 911 while I tried to figure out what was happening. Madi was still not breathing, her face was beginning to turn blue, and her eyes rolled into the back of her head. I frantically laid her down on the ground and started to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation with hopes of stabilizing her until help came.

Nothing I did seemed to help. She laid there limp, and as time went by, I began to deal with the thought that she might die in front of me if she didn’t start breathing. It was just me and her there on the ground, and I was as powerless as she was. Realizing there was nothing I could do, I prayed and asked God to help “my” daughter.

It was at that moment a thought came into my mind, and a feeling entered into my heart that has stuck with me since. “My” daughter is God’s daughter first, and only He could control what happened next. I quickly realized this beautiful girl is only on loan to me. She is not mine. She has been entrusted to my care by God, who loves her, and only He is in control of her life. At that moment, I let go. I submitted and prepared for whatever the Father had for us in the moments to come. My love for God and His love for me overpowered my fear.

To make a long story short, everything in this story turned out okay. Madi made it to the emergency room and recovered sufficiently from what we found out was a significant febrile seizure. She is now twelve years old and in the 6th grade at Hyde Park Schools here in Austin, TX. As scary as that moment was, it continues to be a powerful reminder to me as a young parent that God is in control and that He loves me. The love I felt from Him at that moment was powerful. It was a love that overpowered my fear and helped me realize that fear is optional!

Once you have experienced God meeting you in a moment like that, you see things differently. When He walks with you in the valley, it gives you a clearer vision of faith. In all of the circumstances we experience in life, God’s love is intense and passionate to meet us before, through, and beyond our time of need.

FEAR IS OPTIONAL


1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Psalm 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Job 12:10
In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.

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