And if there’s one thing that I’m going to try to be with you every time, it is open and honest.
I am just feeling irritable. Do you ever get that way? You feel irritable, and then you tell yourself, “but I’m a Christian, I shouldn’t be feeling irritable. Everything should not be upsetting me.”
And that makes you just a little bit more irritable, right? It’s tough sometimes, isn’t it? But to me, that’s a part of being a Christian. It’s not that we are perfect and never get irritable.
It’s as we grow in Christ, it gives us the opportunity to take that extra minute or two in meditation, and in prayer, to calm down; to let God be back in control of our lives.
I have to let go of that irritability. And the funniest thing about me even talking about this is, that’s not what I’m going to talk about today; I just wanted to bring that up.
So I’m going to take a minute to pray and meditate, to ask for God’s vision for today’s episode again.
And if you want to, feel free to take some time, just pray, meditate. Let God’s will, God’s grace, God’s peace descend on you right now.
Okay, officially, welcome back to Episode 32 of the Simple Christians podcast.
This episode is about:
God wants us to create a vision. He has a plan for our lives, and we can learn about that plan by creating a vision while we pray and we meditate.
I believe that God gives us our vision in pieces because he doesn’t want to overwhelm us. When we’re beginning Christians, his vision for us might simply be to get to know him better. But there are consequences to unveiling that vision when we’re not ready.
And I think Jonah is a perfect example. We all know about Jonah being in the belly of the fish for three days. But why was he in the belly of that fish? Because God gave him a vision. God wanted him to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent, and Jonah said, Oh, No! I’m not going to do that. Nineveh is our enemy.
I’m recording this in March of 2022. That would be like God telling us, “okay, I want you to go to Putin, and tell him that God loves him, and he needs to repent.”
A lot of us really don’t want to do that, do we? Russia’s doing things that we don’t like right now. And so we may not want to do that. But that’s what God, I’m sure, would call someone to do. That might be a vision that God has for somebody.
For most of us, I think that God is going to do a much smaller vision, and do it in pieces. But we’re still not even going to know what that is unless we allow God to speak to us and we take time to hear it.
So the five steps to creating a strategic spiritual vision.
The only way to know that, of course, is to pray and to meditate on God’s word and listen for God’s reply. I’m going to pick on an excerpt from the book Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby. This is on page a page 86. You don’t want to create a vision just because, well, just because, and here’s a reason why.
“In 1924, George lay Mallory, a British school master and son of a British Lord, determined to ascend the as yet unconquered peak of Mount Everest. When a reporter asked why he intend to decline the formidable mountain he replied, Well, because it’s there. On June 8, and 38 year old father of three young children was last sighted trudging up Everest with his companion, Andrew Irvine. 75 years later, in 1999, an American climbing team discovered Mallory’s perfectly preserved body, Mallory sacrificed his life in an attempt to accomplish an unnecessary goal.”
So why is your vision important? Create a vision that is God-led. You may have a vision to be rich, you may have a vision to live in a beautiful house. And there’s no problem with that as long as it’s God-led.
God gave me a vision, he started giving me a vision about 10 years ago, about what where I would be now. And I’ll tell you that I was tempted to run away when he started giving me my vision.
Two or three years ago, he started giving me the vision of that he wanted me to do something like this podcast. And even then, I pushed against it I waited two years before I would do it. I’ve been doing this podcast about a year now. But I even pushed against that, because who wants to listen to what I have to say?
Seriously, that’s what I thought. Just like Moses thought the exact same thing when God told him to go speak to Pharaoh. We never know God’s plans for our lives. But if we are willing to pray and meditate over God’s will for our lives, God will show us that vision.
When do you want to have this accomplished by? Think about it, whatever that vision might be. Let’s say you’re a business person and you want to have 30% more business by… When do you want it by? tomorrow? Do you want it within five years? Do you want it within 12 months? What’s it going to be?
What do you want your end date to be? It’s important to pick an end date. Now, that doesn’t mean the end date isn’t going to change. But you do want to pick an actual end date.
But there’s two ways to do that. You could say, “Okay, today, I am here at step one, what is step two going to look like?” In order to get to that, let’s say you have a promotion that you want to have at work, and you want to get that promotion within 12 months, we’ll say, and you’ve prayed over it. And it feels like it’s something where God wants you to be there as well.
What’s your first step to getting that promotion? Maybe it’s just staying at work an extra half hour each day to get a little bit extra work done. Maybe it’s working with the manager on skills that you might need for that next level, whatever it might be.
Now remember, I said that there are two ways to do this; you could start with step one and go to step two through however many.
Or you could say, “Okay, step 10, is I have the promotion. Now let’s work backwards from the promotion. And what do I need to do from there and go backwards to step one?”
Some people work better going from one to 10, some people are better at 10 to one. Maybe you’ll start in the middle of go both ways, I don’t know. But think about what steps it will actually take to accomplish that goal.
It should be a goal, a vision that will stretch you. Let’s say you feel that you are 30 pounds overweight, I consider myself to be 30 pounds overweight right now and I’m working on i. I have a goal to lose that. You don’t want your goal to lose one pound over the next five years because that’s not going to stretch you.
Figure out a feasible goal, a practical goal. What is practical for this goal? What is a goal that will stretch you but not break you? Pray and think on Philippians 4:13 With this goal. This is a very popular verse. A lot of people love the first part and don’t think about the second part quite as much because
Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through Him (through Christ) who strengthens me.
A friend of mine actually admitted once that she emphasizes the part: “I can do all things.” I can do all things; I can do it. Whatever it is, I can do it. God’s got my back. I can do it.
Well, if it’s not God led, maybe we can’t do it. That’s why you have to take the whole verse of Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him, through Christ.
It’s Christ who strengthens us. We don’t rely on our own strength, we rely on Christ’ strength to get this done.
Is it practical? Is it something that will stretch you? Is it a God led something that will stretch you through Christ but not break you?
Can you realistically get it done in the timeframe that you want? Is it realistic? Is it something that is going to stretch and not break you?
Being practical and realistic is very close. But realistic also depends on others because most goals aren’t just going to be about you. You don’t have to be a leader to do a vision, you can do your own vision.
But even your own vision is probably not going to be just about you. What other people, what other processes, what other resources do you need to accomplish? And do you have the ability to get them? Is God going to provide them for you? Of course, God will provide anything you need, if it truly is a God led goal. But God might provide you the need to accomplish it yourself, maybe to learn new skills, or will bring someone into your life.
But I also believe this; and feel free to tell me if I’m wrong. My belief has always been that God wants us to do 100% of what we can do. And once we’re at 100%, he takes over and does all the rest.
Now, not at 100% like “I can do all things so I can do anything. I don’t need God.”
We’re in 100% of what we can do. When I was a beginning, Christian, 100%, might have been to memorize two Bible verses.
Well, now I’ve read the Bible through and through probably five or six times. And I still don’t have every verse memorized (I don’t have most verses memorized). But I can find verses very easily. I can talk about the Bible, and I can read the Bible. I can do Bible study groups and such.
There is no way I could have done that when I first became a Christian,.
But is it realistic for where you are right now?
Think about it. This is one thing, when people create a vision, that they really don’t think about. Most books that talk about creating a vision don’t talk about this either. But it’s so important because there are going to be obstacles; life has obstacles and there are a lot of obstacles to being a Christian.
We become Christians, we get targets on our back, don’t we? The devil doesn’t go against us when we’re not Christians because we’re not doing anything against him.
Now that we’re Christians, he’s throwing everything at us he can. Sometimes it seems like it’s almost overwhelming. But that’s a good thing, because it’s teaching us to rely on God so much more.
And here’s another great place to pray. What obstacles do I need to overcome to achieve this?
Pray for God’s guidance to show you things that you can’t see. James 4:13-15 is a great example of this. It says:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
I love that part in James, partly because I’m a businessman myself. But really, if it’s God’s will, it is going to happen. You might say, “well, if it’s God’s will, I don’t need a vision.” Remember, again, this is just my belief. But I do believe that God wants us to do 100% of what we can, then He will fill in the gap. Whether that gap takes us to 101%, or 1,000% it’s whatever is needed, after we’ve done everything we can do. Because that’s how God helps us to grow.
You’re not going to grow if you don’t do anything and rely on God to do everything. Growing means we have to stretch, we have to learn more. And we have to do everything that we can do so that we can learn then what we don’t know.
Those are the five steps to creating a strategic spiritual vision.
Know why your vision is important.
What’s your timeframe?
What’s your timeframe?
Determine your steps.
Figure out if it’s practical
Is it realistic?
And of course the bonus: What obstacles do I need to overcome to achieve this?
Now the final part of this is also the most important because this is a spiritual vision.
Our minds will accomplish whatever it sees most clearly, which is why you want to stop negative feelings and negative thinking as soon as possible.
Just like at the beginning of this episode, when I was feeling irritable. Well, I feel irritable because of negative thinking. I had to get that negative thinking out of my mind before I did this episode, or this episode wouldn’t have been very good.
I had to pray to God, I had to meditate and listen to God’s reply and just feel God’s love and God’s peace to send on me so I could calm down and do my best for you in this episode.
Let’s say your vision is: In two years, you’re going to own your own home. What’s that home look like? Where’s it going to be located? And you don’t have to be exact. You don’t have to have a street name. But what color is it going to be? How many stories is it going to have? What’s the property look like that it is sitting on? What are your neighbors going to be like?
And of course, you do this through prayer and meditation to make sure that it’s God’s will as well. But it is God’s will do for the best of us, God wants us to have great things. He doesn’t want us to be poor. He just doesn’t want us to love money more than we love him.
Maybe your vision is to have your own church. What does that look like? Where is it that you want your church to grow? How many people do you want to minister to? And when do you want it to be that number of people by?
Envision your church, maybe completely full packed, people standing in the back. Or maybe you don’t want that because then you’ll be busting the seams where you’ll have to add another service and maybe you can’t, maybe you see 80% of the seats filled.
Again, see it, envision it. This is a vision, so envision it as being done. The more you envision it being done, the more likely it will actually happen.