Enlarge our Vision
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
As spiritual leaders, we need to have biblical vision and insight for the task of following the Lord as well as leading others to do likewise! I trust this simple outline will aid and encourage you along that path!
Jabez was the head of the clan of Judah…known for their closeness to God.
1. Any successful endeavor requires a vision…
a. The word “vision”:
1) Literally means the ability to see things that are visible
2) But it also used to mean the ability to see other things
a) “unusual competence in discernment or perception; intelligent foresight” (American Heritage Dictionary)
b) “Vision is the art of seeing things invisible” (Jonathan Swift)
b. Business or politics require “men of vision”
1) Companies require CEOs with vision, countries require leaders
2) Without the ability to visualize worthy goals and how these
can be realized, very little of importance is achieved
2. In the Lord's work, we desperately need an elevated vision of what
it is all about…
a. We need greater goals (what can be done) and greater objectives
(how it can be done)
b. Jesus certainly had a great vision: the saving of souls!
c. We need to have visions that are worthy of the “King of kings and
Lord of lords”
A vision is enlarged by…
I. Focusing on Duties
A. Prayer (Nehemiah 1:5-10)
Prayer is critical to vision development. Why? Because we see what we are looking for, and often miss what we don’t expect to see.
Prayer keeps us looking.
It keeps our eyes and our hearts in the expectant mode.
When God begins to move, we are only going to see it if we are ready and watching.
Notice that Nehemiah did not pray for God to rebuild the wall.
He prayed for an opportunity to go rebuild it himself.
That is the difference between a dreamer and a visionary.
Dreamers dream about things being different.
Visionaries envision themselves making a difference.
Dreamers think about how nice it would be for something to be done.
Visionaries look for an opportunity to do something.
—Visionary Praying Involves Praise –v.5
Nehemiah begins his prayer by exalting the Lord.
He praises God for His Superiority, His Strength, His Sovereignty, His Sacredness and His Sincerity.
Matt. 6:9 “Hallowed be thy name”
Psa. 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
—Visionary Praying Involves Perseverance –v.6a
Nehemiah prayed “day and night”.
The kind of prayer that goes to God and stays before God until it has what it came after.
Luke 18:1 “…men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”
Prayer that is born out of a genuine burden cannot be satisfied until it is answered!
—Visionary Praying Involves Penitence –v.6b-7
Confessing sins…we see here is a man with a repentant heart.
Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”
Nehemiah was not just interested in talking about where others had gone wrong, he was also willing to see where he, himself, had missed the boat with God. Repentance is about me getting my heart right with God!
—Visionary Praying Involves Promises –v.8-10
Nehemiah begins to remind God of the promises He had made to Israel.
When prayer is based squarely in the Word of God and founded upon the promises of God, the one praying can be sure that he will have the things he prayers for.
Bible vision is different than what the ‘world’ calls vision…
- In Gen. 15:1 – vision is “the word of the LORD”
- In Num. 12:6 – vision is “I the LORD …. will speak unto him”
- In Num. 24:4 – vision is “heard the words of God”
- In Num. 24:16 – vision is “heard the words of God” and “knew the knowledge of the most high”
- In 1 Sam. 3:1 – vision is “the word of the LORD”
- In 2 Sam. 7:4-17 – vision is “the word of the LORD”
- In 2 Chron. 32:32 – vision is “Isaiah” and “the book of the kings”
- In Psa. 89:19 – vision is “then thou spakest”
- In our disputed text of Pro. 29:18 – vision is “the law”
- In Lam. 2:9 – vision is “the law”
- The prophets, such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Obadiah, and Habakkuk, referred to their heavenly message as a “vision”.
- In the New Testament, where the word “vision” is used 15 times, each verse deals with a heavenly message. Consider, for example, Acts 10:3 (Cornelius) and 10:17 (Peter), both visions were a message from God. Also, Paul, in Acts 26:19, testified to King Agrippa that he had not disobeyed the “heavenly vision”.
Simply put; a BIBLICAL vision is: “A Word from God”
Bible vision is not all about “seeing the big picture” and “dreaming big”…It’s about getting a message from God through His Book.
Makes more sense with Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish”
Instead of encouraging people from this verse to “dream big and work hard”––how about, Get in the BOOK and read It and head It!
(We can see how a lack of Bible preaching, teaching, and heading can result in perishing.)
There are ‘visionaries’ in the Bible, no doubt; but we must also stress the importance of having not only “Contemporary Vision” but also “Bible Vision”
II. Forgoing Discouragement –Nehemiah 1:1-4
—Visionaries Understand the importance of opposition
It is through ‘struggle’ that we grow.
Difficulties provide us the joy of seeing God do only what God can do.
—Visionaries Understand the importance of mentors
Nehemiah & Ezra were contemporaries.
No man is an island unto himself.
Humble yourself and find someone you can fellowship with.
—Visionaries Understand the importance of people
For those that have the ‘type A’ personality; it is easy to only see the ‘vision’ and view people as obstacles to get there.
Ministry is People! Without people you are not a LEADER––you are a LONER.
—Visionaries Understand the importance of seeing life through Heaven’s eyes
We hold the end results loosely…knowing “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Phil 2:13
III. Forming Daily Plans
Though the church is an organism, it must be organized or it will die.
Pray for opportunities and plan as if you expect God to answer you.
When God has given us a vision, we need to go ahead and start developing a plan.
The problem is that many of us fail to pray and fail to plan.
As we pray about and plan for the vision, it seems overwhelming and impossible. When God puts something on our hearts, it always seems out of reach (because it is). God ordained visions are always too big for us to handle.
There are always more questions than answers and more obstacles than solutions.
God open the doors…maybe He’s waiting for you to get ready for Him to!
Assuming you had the resources, what would you do?
Assuming you had the time, what would you do first?
Assuming you had the people, how would organize it?
Nehemiah laid out steps of how to pursue this vision.
He made sure that if he got an opportunity to present his vision to the king, he was ready.
I pray the Lord will help us as Christian leaders to not just be “dreamers” but to be “visionaries”!