Summary: Whether or not a church has a God-given vision for how it is to partner with God in its work is eternally important.
In the first part of Proverbs 29:18, we find a familiar portion of Scripture. Most Christians are familiar with the quote from the KJV: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The translation in the NIV gives us insight as to why people with no vision perish: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.”
In other words, where there is no vision, no revelation, no direction from God, people will “do their own thing” and “go their own way,” which always leads to disaster, as we are told in Proverbs 16:25 (CEV): “Sometimes what seems right is really a road to death.”
God’s desire is to lead us to life, not death. That is why He is not silent, but is actively seeking to make clear to us His will and direction for our lives. God wants to give to us a revelation of His will, so that we might live life to the full!
The Bible tells us that God has a plan for the life of each of His children. Generally speaking, of course, God’s will for each of us is that we be witnesses for Him, that we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus, that we serve Him gladly, that we worship Him daily, that we benefit from fellowship with other believers, and that we experience to the fullest the joy of our salvation.
But beyond that, I believe that God has a specific plan for each of our lives as individuals.
“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” – Ephesians 2:10 (Amplified)
“. . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Each of us has a “race marked out for us,” and “good works to do that God has prepared us to perform” during the course of our life while here on earth. That’s why I must daily seek the Lord and His guidance for my life.
Additionally, however, I need to understand that God not only has a plan for my individual life, but He often calls me to see that plan fulfilled alongside other believers. That is what the church is all about.
You see, the pastor isn’t the only one who is called to a church. Every person who is a member of our church should be a member because at some point in time, they felt that this local body of believers was where God was calling them to be a part of His work.
Since this is so, the question we must then seek an answer to is “why has God led us to come together at this point in time in history as a local body of believers?” The answer to that question is what the Bible is referring to when it speaks of a “vision” or a “revelation” from God.
What we are to be and do as a congregation is something that comes, not from the pastor, the deacons, or any other human being. It is something that comes only from God.
“Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” – Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)
God has a plan for WHAT our lives are to look like, HOW that is to happen, and WHEN these things should take place. How do we “get in on” what God has envisioned for each of us? How do we “get in on” what God has in mind for us as a church?
Two principles taught here:
A. What I delight in will determine my desires – v. 4
B. What I depend on will determine my destiny – v. 5
God wants His children to understand who they are in Christ. He wants us to live our lives with a sense of identity. That’s why He calls us to delight in Him and our unique relationship with Him through faith in Christ. He wants us to know WHO we are and WHOSE we are! As we grow in this understanding, we can than live our lives with a sense of destiny. God has not called us to twiddle our thumbs, but to be part of His great redemptive work in this world! His desire is to plant within our hearts desires, dreams, and visions concerning what our participation in His redemptive work is to look like. God desires that we live our lives with a realization of the high calling that is ours in Christ!