The Truth about Guilt Meditations: 36. Guilt of Blindness – to Vision
Prov 29:18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish
Prov 29:18 (NIV) Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint
Continuing: In Study No.26, introducing the concept of guilt through blindness, we talked about how children tend to be focused on their own little world, often shielded by their parent, so they are not aware of the problems their family may be experiencing. But there is another expression of this childish way of seeing – or not seeing – and it is the concept that only gradually grows, of time, of the passing of time, of the length of time, and this takes on a significance when it comes to thinking about the future. Little children think little about the realities of growing up, the possibilities of what might be, the things needed to be done to prepare for the future. Career counselling tends not to be given until mid-teens. Little children have no real vision of the future, what might be coming, what they might be able to achieve in the future.
Future Uncertainties: Remember, this is all about ‘falling short’ of God’s plans. John Wimber used to teach on five-year church planning, but some people say we should never do this and refer to James’ teaching: “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (Jas 4:13-15) Yet the truth is, that in normal living (pre-Pandemic experience) we do plan. We make dental appointments, say, for a week’s time, or book a hotel or conference or holiday, weeks or months in advance. The 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic brought that sort of planning to an end during the period of lock-down. So these things may have a large degree of uncertainty about them, but can we not look into the future more specifically?
General Christian Vision: Vision is being able to see ahead, its possibilities, alert to God’s calling and God’s goals. It is perhaps, first of all, simply being able to see the basics of the way ahead when we come to Christ, things we’ve already considered in some measure – our salvation (daily living), sanctification (gradual changing), and glorification (future with God). We may not be able to see all the details of how that will work out for us as individuals, but as we read the New Testament, we can sense the big picture or the general direction.
Personal Vision: Vision may be limited by personal circumstances, we tend to think. A young mother says, “I’m too busy with raising my baby to be concerned for anything else,” and that may be true – for a while. An old person may say, “Surely you don’t expect me at my time of life to be launching off in new ventures?” It depends on the ventures and the physical and mental state. Vision will also be linked to gifting, the specific abilities that God has given me, the individual. Vision can also be linked to personal burdens we find heavy on our heart, specific needs in the community perhaps, maybe things God has put on your heart. Vision is swamped or diluted by personal cares, personal worries, personal desires, the things that make us inward looking, because vision is all about looking outwards.
The Costs: Some of us fear this line of thinking and thus we fall short of what could be in God’s economy. Let’s not argue whether or not this is sin, but simply wonder, when we come face to face with the Lord, how will we answer if He asks, “Child did you use all I gave you, did you take every opportunity I put before you, did you heed my prompting to bless me and my world, or were you too taken up with your own selfish affairs?” I’m sorry, it’s an uncomfortable question so let’s put it in a more gentle form with two other questions: first, are you at peace before the Lord knowing you are doing the things He’s called you to do, and, second, are you open for Him to put other things on your heart where he could bless you and use you?
Possibilities: I think I have probably spoken before of one of my favourite TV programmes, Grand Designs. It is about people who have had the vision to build a new big (and they tend to be big) house. The main commonalities of each programme are that each couple (it is mostly couples) get a piece of land and a vision of the sort of building they want, time stretches out, delays are often caused by the weather or other unforeseen circumstances, they run short of money, and nearly come to the end of themselves – and yet they persevere. However, at the end of the programme, there is a beautiful building and an incredible sense of achievement. How often do we have such a sense of achievement and if the answer is, “Never,” or “Rarely,” perhaps it is because we have never caught God’s vision of what we could be achieving. Yes, it may cost time, effort, even finances, but the fruit at the end of it – or even during the process – is wonderful. And So: Our starter verse, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” implies that vision is God’s tool to bring salvation, blessing, and order to His world. Do we have such vision, a sense of purpose and direction that means our lives are going somewhere to achieve something meaningful? Is this something we should be bringing to the Lord in prayer to fill in a gap in the road that prepares the way for Him to come in a new way to bless people you know – or perhaps don’t know yet?