“Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18).
When You Discover Your Own Vision, You Do Not Need to be Jealous of Anyone Else!
Amen and Amen! It is good to be back, starting another week, enjoying, and sharing with you the goodness and the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the goal and the end of the matter each and every time we talk. In whatever we go through, we must never forget the importance of sharing things in our lives and looking forward to what is to come in the next few months. I pray that all is well with you and that you are not giving up what you started this year. It is important that as we go through, we learn from each other, and we learn to really trust God no matter what. Without further delay today, let’s look at finding wisdom through the trials and temptations we face in life.
Did you know that we are so in the habit of being afraid of the devil, that whenever any kind of trial or trouble comes along, we immediately assume it is a demonic attack. We earnestly pray to the Lord to deliver us without ever considering the possibility that the trial may have come for the purpose of strengthening our faith and helping us to grow toward spiritual maturity. We saw this in James, the brother of the Lord Jesus, who wrote in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and completed, not lacking anything.”
Now do the words in James 1 sound like someone who fears the enemy or someone who is getting ready to “skip town”, expecting to be taken out of the world at any moment? Well, of course not. These are the words of someone determined to occupy until the Lord comes (also see Luke 19:13 KJV). Those who do occupy and stand firm, a rich reward lies in store. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” What a very powerful statement from a man who had decided not to waiver.
Temptation is a fact of life in a fallen world. For the Kingdom citizens, however, temptation does not mean fear or failure, but can be the catalyst for strengthening and growth. Satan tempts with the intent to destroy, but the Kingdom citizen has an advantage not available to those outside the Kingdom - the King Himself places a limit on how much temptation He allows us to face.
Just as the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in the city of Corinth: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
So, if our faithful God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, that means that whatever temptations we do face, we can bear, as long as we do so in His strength rather than our own. Our Governor is always with us, and His strength is readily available to us. Therefore, we need not fear anything the devil tries to do to us. Our God is committed to the glory of His name, the growth of His Kingdom, and the good of His children, and He will do whatever is necessary to turn everything to serve His divine purpose - even the evil efforts of the enemy.
Remember this fact: temptation often comes wrapped in the form of something beautiful, something that appeals to our sense and desires. It is often necessary to think and pray twice before we can recognize that a beautiful object or goal is really sinful in disguise.
Remember that in wisdom, no man knows how bad he is until he has tried very hard to be good. Moreover, a man who gives into a temptation after the first couple of minutes simply does not know what it would have been like thirty minutes later. This is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. What happened is they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We tend to never find out the strength of the evil, because we give in so quickly.
Now, let’s turn our attention once again this week to vision.
What is said in the title about your own vision is very true. When you truly understand the difference between mission and vision, you will be protected from jealousy. You won’t become sidetracked from your purpose by constantly looking over your shoulder to see what others who share your mission are doing. When you’ve discovered your own vision, you do not need to be jealous of anyone because there’s no need for competition.
One day I was reading a story of a man who was the owner of a McDonald’s franchise. He was there at Pizza Hut to meet a friend who was the owner of a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. One of the local pastors just happened to be there also at Pizza Hut to eat some pizza. The Pastor asked one of the franchise owners, “So what brought you here today?” The man in return said, “Well, we are going to have lunch together.” So all three men went together to eat at the Pizza Hut! The Pastor sat at a table eating with them and observing them while they talked.
Finally, the Pastor asked, “Excuse me, gentlemen. Aren’t you competitors?” The two men look at each other and said, “Oh, no.” The Pastor asked, “What do you mean?” and was shocked at the answer: “We are good friends. We both do not sell what the other sells. How can we be in competition?”
Then the Pastor, again asked another question: “So why did you come here?” They replied, “We did not feel like eating burgers or chicken. Today, we felt like eating pizza.” Here we see that there is a place for all three establishments because each restaurant has its own specific vision. Why? Because each offers a different product in the overall mission of serving food.
What is the point here? Well, businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals can learn the true nature of vision from the example of these two men. Do not try to imitate anyone else. Be your own self and learn that imitating others won’t be fulfilling the specific purpose and vision God has given to you and me. If we do that, then we no longer have the full blessings of God. He says in effect, “I am not going to bless what you create.” What He is saying is, “I am going to bless what I create.” The question we need to continue to ask ourselves is, “Am I doing what God told me to do, or am I trying to live what He told someone else?”
The last point for this week that I want to share with you is, when people aren’t specific about their visions, they are caught in a trap of wishful thinking. Their dreaming doesn’t go beyond vague ideas of what they would like to do “someday”. Dreaming is only the beginning of vision.
We should have wills rather than mere wishes. To put it in other words, instead of wishing that things would get better, we must always make concrete resolutions. What we have to say is, “Things must get better, and here, specifically, is what I am going to do about it.”
In closing today, take for example, instead of saying, “I wish I could go to college”, you need to sit down today, and write specific colleges with requests for applications. When they arrive, start filling them out.
Instead of saying, “I wish I could lose weight”, go and see your doctor first and go on a specific weight-loss plan. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop having that wishful thinking. What you need to do is make a decision, and then take a first step.
You should have wills rather than mere wishes. Stop looking at those who have been giving you false hope because of what you see from them when you are watching them on the TV. People’s success or failure in life is not dependent on the color of their skin. Here is the truth: you can be black, white, brown, yellow, red, or any other color you feel like you want to be today - that won’t affect the fulfillment of your vision.
You know, the real problem is the color of some people’s lives; it is that their lives are what I call ‘gray’. These people do not have a precise way of living. They are just here, and they drift along, allowing life to just happen to them. That is why God does not want anyone to live in a gray zone. Let me give you an example. When a person is living in the gray, that means this person is not saying yes or even no, but he says “maybe” all the time, and never quite settles on one thing in his heart.
Today, there are millions of people who still aren’t sure who they are, what they are about, or what they are doing. Those people are living in the gray. They have no real intention of doing anything with their lives. What a depressing reality. God has invested so much in us. He hates to see us wasting our lives in wishful thinking. He wants us to place our feet on the solid ground of vision.
Think about this word this week and meditate in it. There are many people’s visions that never take a specific shape because they can’t make up their minds on what they want to do in life. That is a sad thing for many, but it is true.
You see, prolonged indecisiveness is a vision-killer, and it also drains the joy out of life. In life, I have noticed that the most miserable people in the world are those who never make a decision. They will say things like, “You decide!” If you are that man or that woman, I encourage you to move away from that kind of mindset.
Here is what the Bible expresses about their situation very well: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Indecisiveness carries over into all areas of life. A person who is indecisive is unsettled; he is on shaky ground.
Until next time!
My prayer for you: Father, we come again to the throne of grace, meeting with You once again, expressing our feelings and thoughts of how awesome Your love and Your grace is toward us. As we live each and every day, we know that You never say that life will be easy, but with You all things are possible. Therefore, we continue to have our faith and trust in You, relying on the finished work of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for reminding us that without faith, it is impossible to please You. With that faith You instill in our hearts and soul, we can say let our vision be for what You purposed us to do. We settle our thoughts in what You have given us in Your Word. In this life we are living, we are sure that all of Your promises are Yes and Amen. As we read Your Word today, You continue to remind us that a double minded man is unstable in his own ways. Let us not be that man or that woman. Let our hearts be settled today, knowing that there is nothing that can separate us from Your love for us. If Your Son says it is finished, that means it is finished. Our doubt must be gone. We believe in Your healing, and it is our portion today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives. As we believe in You for favor in all aspects of life, stir in us the want that is Yours and not ours, so we can live with Your “want to” attitude. May we always find favor in You. Let Your Holy Spirit be our guide now and forever more. Moreover, let us be in tune with heaven in everything that we do. In our walk and our talk. Bless Your people today as they begin their week. Guard them in whatever they do. Let Your favor be in the midst of their goings, and may Your presence go with them always. Thank You for being so faithful in everything You do for us. We love You! In Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen and Amen.
Thought: We do not need to be jealous of anyone!
Living Large to Dream