I spoke last week about vision and sight, how sight is simply seeing but vision occurs when we add understanding to our sight. Today we will talk about distorted vision and focus

It’s not enough to see, we must strive to understand and perceive what we see. This is true of our physical sight, but specially true of our spiritual vision.

Matthew 6:22-23 (ESV Strong's)

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

 

If we want to live in abundant life, we need to make sure our vision is healthy. Get our spiritual perspective right and life will go right.

 

VISION IS SEEING THINGS GOD’S WAY

True vision happens when we see things from God’s perspective, and

like mountain air on a clear day, His view is pure, unsoiled and He sees eternity. I remember once standing on a mountain and seeing 3 countries at once. I could stand in Bavaria in Germany, and look across Austria to Italy in the distance, like looking across the top of the world.

 

But how can you gain God’s perspective? Well, for years mankind has been trying to become more religious to gain a godlike view of life, but it doesn’t work. The world’s religions tell us that if we meditate more, or do certain rituals, or make certain sacrifices, we can start to see God’s perspective, but they fail miserably. Being more religious won’t help you see life and life’s troubles God’s way.

 

Matthew 13:15-16 (ESV Strong's)

For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes

and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

 

All the religion in the world doesn’t make you see things God’s way. The only way to have this true, eternal vision is to know God, really, truly know Him. And this can affect every aspect of your life… do you see angels or demons?

 

ANGELS DEMONS SLIDE

 

THE ILLUSIONS WE LIVE FOR

 

Much of modern life and advertising is to sell us things that aren’t real. We love escapism and illusions. A mirage is a phenomenon commonly seen across large flat areas, especially when it is hot. It’s an optical illusion, but when you see a mirage, you would absolutely swear on a stack of Bibles that water was out there. The closer you get to it, the further away it gets from you. You can never obtain it because it does not really exist.

 

MIRAGE SLIDE

 

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (ESV Strong's)

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

 

We must recognise that our enemy the devil loves illusions too, and is constantly trying to distort our vision, to convince us to strive towards things that ultimately disappoint, disillusion and often don’t exist. Fame, fortune, money and success seem like clearly visible goals, but they never satisfy. Try chasing a rainbow to get the pot of gold that is rumoured to be at the end of the rainbow. The closer you get, the further away it moves!

 

RAINBOW SLIDE

 

University of Sydney psychology professor Dianna Kenny studied 12,665 musicians and stars who died between 1950 and 2014, concluding the chances of famous musicians and rock stars dying from unnatural causes including at suicide are up to 10 times greater than the general population, and that they die up to 25 years younger than average people.

 

In life, if we chase fame, fortune and success they are like a mirage, and if we build our life on an illusion it is bound to collapse at some point. J D Rockefeller, the richest man in the world at the time, was asked how much money is enough and he replied, “just a little more!”

 

YOUR VISION AND FOCUS CAN BE DISTORTED

 

Even if we are striving for the right things in life, our vision can become distorted by things around us. The devil uses external factors to influence the way we see things, just like optical illusions can influence us to change we way we see things. So what kind of things distort our vision so we fail to see God’s truth?

 

1.      IGNORANT SEEING- LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

 

If you don’t have enough knowledge you cannot understand what you are seeing, and vision is not just seeing something but understanding it. Here’s an example

 

CHINESE SYMBOL… crisis, danger and opportunity

 

Now I would say I’m fairly intelligent, I hold a couple of Uni degrees and have 35 years experience as a medical professional, but I cannot tell you what this symbol means. Does that mean I’m dumb? No, I just don’t have the code. I cannot attach meaning to it because I lack essential knowledge.

 

Hosea 4:6 (ESV Strong's)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

 

Lack of knowledge destroys truth, and can ultimately destroy you. And the Knowledge to see things God’s way is not general knowledge obtained by researching man’s opinion on the internet, or watching TV or YouTube, and it’s not attained by a some spiritual encounter.

 

Knowledge to live by only comes from knowing God intimately, and you only get to know Him by reading His Word. That’s why I urge you to read the Word of God, every day, do the Bible reading plan because until you know Him you won’t have the necessary knowledge to live the life He destines for you. Unless you know Him, you don’t have the code.

 

That’s what optical illusions are about. They use knowledge that you do have, and some that you don’t have, to trick you into thinking something exists when it really doesn’t … let me show you…

 

SLIDES

 

2.      REVERSE SEEING

 

You cannot drive a car looking only in the rear view mirror, and you cannot live your life looking back all the time, and letting past hurts, criticisms and pain affect you.

 

Learning is a product of what you see plus your experience, which gives meaning to what you see. Our ability to see and understand is greatly influenced by our past experiences, but if we rely only on our past experiences, good and bad, the enemy can often convince us of things that don’t even exist.

 

OPTICAL ILLUSIONS

 

For many of us, our sight today is affected by what has happened in the past, our experience. I touched on this last week when I said that you are not an accident, you are precious and special, created by God and He knows you best.

 

No matter what has been said about you in the past, no matter what your reputation, what you’ve done, what others think of you, even what you think of you. You have to learn what God thinks, not what you think based on your past. He says…

 

Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV Strong's)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

 

Jeremiah was destined for his God appointed ministry from before he was born. This is why Fiona and I started Lily House, to save babies we believe God has a destiny for every person.

 

Some of you have been deeply hurt by past experiences and words spoken over you, and we need to break that curse, because God sees you as a person of destiny. When you think of things that happened in your past, you give them a power they no longer have.  It’s time for the past to become past at last.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV Strong's)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

When you come to Jesus, when you ask Him into your life, you become a new creation. The old has gone, the old sin has lost its hold on you, the old criticisms have no power, the old life, the old reputation, the old addictions can be overcome because you are brand new. We must live it.

 

Psalms 138:8 (ESV Strong's)

The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

 

3.      POLLUTED SEEING- FOCUS ON THE WRONG THING

 

External things can affect how we see, and if we allow stuff into our heads that distorts vision we have no one else to blame for what we permit into our heads except ourselves!

 

Psalms 101:2-3 (ESV Strong's)

I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.

 

We can choose what we watch, but whatever we watch has the power to distort our vision. Garbage in, garbage out. If we let rubbish TV, trashy reality shows, over sexualised music, extreme violence in movies and games or pornography into our minds, we open our vision up to distortion.

 

Romans 12:2 (ESV Strong's)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,

 

Putting trashy stuff into your head ruins your spiritual vision. So be careful with what TV shows and movies you watch and what internet sites you hit. If you watch angry, violent movies or play violent video games, you will be a more angry person. If you watch pornography, you begin to see a sexualised image of women you meet.

 

The Bible, worship songs, great teaching and coming to church renews your mind. It keeps your thoughts positive and godly, pure and wholesome, and it makes you a better husband or wife, a better mother or father, and better human being.

 

Philippians 4:8 (ESV Strong's)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

 

4.      NEGATIVE SEEING

 

In optometry we have a phenomenon called a negative after image, where the retinal photoreceptors, the rods and cones, adapt to overstimulation and thus lose sensitivity. The photopigment is bleached out of them…

 

Many people are perpetually negative, and they project this negativity on all kinds of situations, and people. They have had so many previous negative experiences, they project these on everything and everyone. You might describe yourself as glass half empty kinda person, but you will never rise above the cares of this world and you will never reach your God appointed destiny if you are constantly negative.  Whatever your past experience, it’s time to change from your stinking thinking to positive, life giving thinking…

 

2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV Strong's)

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

 

So when you have a negative thought, don’t invite it in, don’t make a bed for it is the spare room, take it captive a neutralise it, and do it fast, because negativity is infectious and will ruin you spiritual vision!

 

Let’s look at some negative afterimages…

 

NEGATIVE AFTER IMAGES

 

5.      SELECTIVE SEEING

 

All of us have blind spots in our vision. Some are obvious, others subtle.

 

Mums and dads often have a blind spot when it comes to their kids. They see their kids as little angels, despite an obvious trail of destruction.

 

Years ago, my brothers-in-law’s daughter use to hit and hurt my girls, and we had told them not to retaliate. I gently mentioned it to him, and he told me I was bringing up weakling princesses and that they should toughen up. My daughters begged me to let them defend themselves, so we agreed, just this once. Next minute the dad was at me accusing me of raising a brood of thugs!

 

BLIND SPOT

 

In the eye everybody has a blind spot at the point in their visual field where the optic disk is situated. It’s normal. And in our lives, we all have blind spots.

 

Matthew 7:4-5 (ESV Strong's)

how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

 

We often find faults in others in areas of life that are in reality our own faults.

 

6.      FOGGED SEEING

 

Fiona and I once visited a high mountain for a view across the Alps, and after €40 and several cable car rides, we reached the top and saw this…

 

FOGGY ALPS

 

We’re the mountains still there? Of course, but the fog had rolled in and we could not see them. And sometimes the truth is there, right in front of you, but mist and cloud obscures its presence. The enemy is really good at this, and typically he uses the media to cloud our vision.

 

2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV Strong's)

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

If he can blow enough smoke or doublespeak people will be blinded to truth, and even the vision of believers can be fogged. Our society is expert in renaming things and changing people’s perception.

Instead of adultery we talk about having an affair. Instead of homosexual marriage we talk of marriage equality. Everyone wants equality, right? Instead of referring to an unborn baby as a baby or a person, they talk of a foetus, they dehumanise the child, trying to obscure the fact that the number one cause of death in Australia is not heart disease, suicide or car crash it’s abortion!

 

Christians, guard carefully what you believe, and be wary of the smoke and fog that the media throws into your face, or otherwise you will find yourself being convinced of things that are not true, or unable to live, think and behave the way God wants you to.

 

MEANING SLIDES… (even the way you think!)

 

Pray and seek God about moral issues, don’t fall for the popular ideas. It can affect how you see important things in life, and obscure the truth behind a sea of foggy issues.

 

WHAT YOU FOCUS ON…

 

But there is a simple way you can begin to live the life you dream of, and the life God has planned for you.

 

George Lucas the director of Star Wars once said, “Your focus determines your reality.” When you focus on problems, you get more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you have more opportunities. When yOi focus I’m what you want, you become selfish. And when you focus on Jesus, you can live a significant, godly and righteous life. Focus is like the edge of a knife. The narrower it is, the sharper it cuts. So what you focus on in life, and every day, day after day, truly matters in the long run.

 

The human eye is an amazing thing, and it is plugged into a brain that is even more amazing. We’ve looked at all the pressures that distort our true spiritual vision, those from inside of us and those from outside of us, and after this you might find yourself confused or discouraged by the state your life is in.

 

Colossians 3:2 (ESV Strong's)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

 

The Greek word for “set your mind” is PHRONEO, which means set your mind, direct it towards, exercise it, seek and strive for. A fair translation would be to focus your mind in things above, on God’s view, not your own, not the world, not your past and not what others say or think… God’s view.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV-WS)

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

The message puts it this way…

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 (MSG)

It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

 

Graham Cooke said, “What we focus on we give power to,” and he is right.  If you focus on your problems, your inadequacies or how difficult your lot in life is, these ruin your eternal vision. But if you focus on Jesus, the things of this earth seem to grow, dare I say it, strangely dim.  Look at this…

 

PERIPHERY IMAGE AND FOCUS

 

We previously talked about negative after images, those negatives we project onto everything, but we can also talk about positive after images. If you turn your eyes upon Jesus, if you fix your eyes on Him, if you are so focussed on Him so that nothing else matters, then everything changes… forever.

 

Matthew 6:33 (ESV Strong's)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

JESUS AFTER IMAGE SLIDE

 

If you do not know this Jesus, I want to give you the chance to know Him right now. If you’ve drifted far from Him, maybe it’s time to refocus on Jesus.

 

As we move forward I want to call you to project Jesus not every situation as we face our future together.

Vision 1- Eternal Vision

Wouldn’t it be great to have X-Ray vision. Or to see so far ahead you could see into eternity?

Of course we cannot do this, but God can do this. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have the eyes of God installed into our heads, so we could see like He does? The great news is that we can have this spiritual transplant, we can begin to see as He sees, and when this starts to happen it’s a game changer… it champagnes everything.

And because vision does something incredible not only in our heads but also in our hearts, I wanted to do a series on vision, and as an Optometrist, who better to speak on it, right?

 

VISION IS NOT JUST SEEING

 

Matthew 13:14-15 (ESV Strong's)

In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

 

Jesus talked about a people, His people, who were seeing the truths of God but not perceiving them. They were religious, pious and dedicated, but hey missed the entire point!

 

Helen Keller once said, “I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light but who see nothing. They see nothing in the woods or sky, nothing in sports, nothing on the street. Their soul’s voyage through this enchanted world is a barren waste.”

 

The difference between sight and vision might seems slight, but it can be an enormous gulf. Vision moves beyond just seeing something, it is understanding it. Perception is not simply the act of seeing, it is making sense of what we see. It adds meaning to what our physical eyes see.

 

COW PICTURE

 

We all see the same things, but we do not all have understanding of what we are seeing.

 

ETERNAL VISION… THE VISION OF FAITH

 

Ecclesiastes 12:8 (NIV)

Meaningless, meaningless, says the teacher, everything is meaningless.

 

Life without faith, without vision, is meaningless. When you ask Jesus into your life suddenly many of the things that seemed meaningless in life now have meaning, because you know that God has a higher purpose for you.

 

Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV Strong's)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

We see many things around us, but truly inspirational people, whether they know Jesus or not, seem to see more than others. Great leaders, great business people, great sportsmen always have a vision. A vision not of what they physically see, but of what might become.

 

The truest vision is the vision of faith. The world says, “Seeing is believing”; the Gospel says, “Believing is seeing.” And the deeper your faith, the closer your walk with God, the more you start to make sense of the world around us.

 

DALMATIAN SLIDE, FROG HORSE SLIDE, LIAR SLIDE

 

There is a great spiritual world that we’ve never seen with our physical eyes. It’s there, we just cannot perceive it, but if we could perceive it it would change the way we live, what’s important to us and how we spend our time, money and effort.

 

Remember Elisha and his servant. Surrounded by Syrian troops the servant panicked, but

 

2 Kings 6:17 (ESV Strong's)

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

 

SHOULD WE HAVE TWO SETS OF EYES?

 

As Christians, we have the opportunity to develop 2 sets of eyes.

 

There is a little fish called “Four Eyes,” in the Amazon, which features large, bulging eyes on top of his head.  This fish can cruise just under the top of the water, with the upper half of each eye above the surface. The top half of his eyes has a different lens, which amounts to a set of bifocals, giving the fish the ability to see both above the water and beneath it.

 

That’s the kind of vision we need as Christians. We need to have our eyes fixed on the needs of those around us and be aware of the snares of the enemy; but at the same time, we should have eyes that look up into a different atmosphere, fixing our eyes on Jesus and eternity!

 

As we sang today: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.”

 

When we have the vision of faith it affects how we perceive many things…

 

1.      HOW DO YOU SEE GOD?

 

Many people see God as angry and vindictive, out to ruin their life and ruin their fun, but nothing could be further from the truth!

 

Matthew 5:8 (ESV Strong's)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

 

God loves you. He is not vindictive, He is not angry at you, He is not trying to ruin your fun or your life, He actually has a plan for you. But if you ignore Him, if you don’t listen to His directions, why should He prosper you into the life you’ve always dreamed of? How can He ever do this, if you never run towards Him but always run away from Him?

 

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV Strong's)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

 

When you have the right perception, you will see God as who He truly is… a loving, caring Father who wants the best for you, and is on your side! And when you seek Him, He promises you’ll find Him.

 

So if you are distant from God right now, turn to Him!  Most people ignore God, ignore His direction, go their own selfish way, satisfy their own selfish whims, then when it all fails, they blame not themselves and their own foolish decisions, but God…

 

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV Strong's)

When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

 

But God is there, and if you have eyes to see, you’ll see His hand everywhere…

 

CLOUD SLIDE

 

2.      HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF?

 

Most people are selfish, but they most often don’t like themselves.  Look in the mirror, do you like hat you see? Maybe you’ve been put down by a parent or partner, told you are worthless and you’ll never amount to anything. And maybe your life so far has become a self fulfilling prophecy. But when you get eternal vision, you see things properly, when you gain vision instead of just sight, you start to believe God who says you are precious and special… David writes,

 

Psalms 139:13-14 (ESV Strong's)

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

- Babies in the womb grow 8,000 brain cells per second
- You have a unique smell (that’s how your dog knows who you are)
- You have 300 million capillaries in your lungs. Stretched out tip to tip they would stretch from Townsville to Melbourne
- If all your arteries, veins and capillaries were laid end to end they would reach around the world 2 ½ times
- Your bones are 4 times stronger than concrete. So strong a matchbox size piece of bone can support 9 tonnes of weight
- You are so hot, in 30 minutes your body produces enough heat to boil 2 litres of water
- Your brain has 70,000 thoughts per day, and can recognise and remember 50,000 different scents
-If your eye was a digital camera it would be 576 megapixels and distinguish 10 million different colours
- If uncoiled, the DNA in all the cells of your body stretches from here to Pluto and back again (10 billion miles).

 

So start seeing yourself as God does… fearfully and wonderfully made, someone of purpose, destiny and value.

 

3.      HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE?

 

Eternal vision affects how we see people. Most people see other people as commodities, asking “What can I get from this person? What can this person do for me?” Even when we come to Christ, we still are basically selfish and often see others as servants to our end or our causes.

 

But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, your vision starts to change. You begin to see other people, all other people, as precious, as valuable, and as lost without Jesus. Black or white, rich or poor, gay or straight, every person has value in God’s eyes. The Holy Spirit can help you see people as God does, and so you are able to look behind the behaviour, the tantrums, the selfishness, the deception and the anger to see the pain, the hurt and the fear that drives this behaviour.

 

Start seeing with God’s eyes and you see people differently…

 

PEOPLE SLIDE

 

Eternal vision allows you to see the heart of people, and to love them unconditionally.

 

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV Strong's)

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

4.      HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES?

 

The clearer sight we have of the power of heaven, the less we shall fear the troubles of earth. When you have eternal vision, you realise the truth that circumstances don’t determine your destiny, choices do.

 

Psalms 112:6-7 (ESV Strong's)

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

 

As Ps Bill shared last week, no matter what you face, no matter what life throws up at you, if you know God and you trust Him, you have nothing to fear. God is a good God, on your best day and also your worst day. He never changed, from everlasting to everlasting He is God,

 

Malachi 3:6 (ESV Strong's)

“For I the Lord do not change;

 

What changes is us, when we look at the circumstances. Like Peter walking on water until he looked around and saw the wind and the waves, and began to sink. We shouldn’t be just getting by under the circumstances, we should be living above the circumstances! Outside influences affect how we see things.

 

SLIDE OF EXTERNAL FACTORS AFFECTING OUR VISION

 

 

5.      HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR FUTURE?

 

How we see our circumstances also affects how we see our future. Many of us face struggles, face difficulties, face fears, sickness, lack of money, conflict, shame. Yet this morning, God would say look beyond what is happening now in your life to the future I have for you!

 

Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong's)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

You can face anything if you have vision for eternity. You can put up with any pain, any trial, and sickness, any temptation, if your eyes are fixed on Jesus. It’s not about sight, because we all see the same thing. It’s about vision, seeing things God’s way, it’s about how we understand and interpret the things we see, all from God’s point of view.

 

The Weaving

 

My life is but a weaving Between my God and me.

I cannot choose the colors He weaveth steadily.

 

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow; And I in foolish pride

Forget He sees the upper And I the underside.

 

Not ’til the loom is silent And the shuttles cease to fly

Will God unroll the canvas And reveal the reason why.

 

The dark threads are as needful In the weaver’s skillful hand

As the threads of gold and silver In the pattern He has planned

 

He knows, He loves, He cares; Nothing this truth can dim.

He gives the very best to those Who leave the choice to Him.

 

WITHOUT A VISION PEOPLE PERISH

 

The most famous verse in the Bible on vision, oft quoted, is this…

 

Proverbs 29:18 (ESV Strong's)

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,

but blessed is he who keeps the law.

 

The Hebrew word for vision is HAZON, which means a revelation, dream or oracle from God. The word for perish is PARA, meaning cut loose, throw off restraint, to rebel, neglect and perish. It means to self destruct, and if you look around our coast, that’s what you see people doing. Whether it’s self destructing in drugs or alcohol, whether it’s sleeping around, or following worthless ideas, whether it’s just sitting in front of the TV wasting your one life.

 

People without a God given, Holy Spirit inspired, eternal vision for their life often self destruct! Even if things go well, for them they seem to find a way to sabotage it.

 

If their vision is on themselves, their lack of ability, their adverse circumstances, their fears of the future, whatever they face can conquer them because they do not have eyes that see the big picture, the long term goal.

 

Vision is what drives you forward when all around is dark. We have a vision here at Ignite, to see our church reach our community for Jesus, to see lives changed, and so this vision gives us a purpose, and drives us to move to a different location, to invest more time, more money, more energy.

 

Without a God given vision in your life, without a revelation of how He sees you and the plans He has for you to prosper and not harm you, most people stunt their potential and eventually destroy themselves, sometimes rapidly in an drug overdose or car crash, but many times slowly over years, fading away into drab insignificance. God doesn’t want that for you. God has big plans for your life, because you are precious and special and full of destiny and potential, if only you’d see yourself as He sees you, and listen and obey.

 

LIFE DESTROYS DREAMS AND VISION

 

For most people, the longer you live the more your visions and dreams die.  Remember as a kid growing up, you could imagine yourself being anything. A doctor, a lawyer, a world class footballer, a rock star. Someone famous, someone important, someone rich and successful and beautiful. Someone of significance in the world.

 

But then you go to school, where perhaps less than stellar marks roll in. Some dreams die, but some survive to graduate school, maybe Uni or your first job. You get married maybe, and you think as a couple the world is your oyster, you have dreams of the perfect life, the perfect family. Then somebody, somewhere, somehow along the way, straightens you up and brings you back down to earth. A few mundane jobs, a few fights with relatives, a loss of something or someone you hold dear, and more dreams die.

 

Today is the day we open our eternal eyes and see again the vision God has for our lives, our futures, our hopes! Seeing things His way puts shattered dreams back together.

 

HABAKKUK- THE PROPHET WITH ETERNAL VISION

 

As an Optometrist , I can give you glasses that will help you see clearer, but I can’t give you you eternal vision, vision to understand life’s challenges. Only God can.

 

Habakkuk was a prophet in the Bible who was watching the nation he loved fall apart. They faced invasion and enslavement by a cruel people, the Babylonians, and they were taken into exile, without a future and utterly without hope. He questioned God’s love for them, and His justice, and God have him a vision…

 

Habakkuk 2:2-3 (ESV Strong's)

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

 

Having eternal, Holy Spirit inspired, Jesus focused vision gives you a hope and a purpose and a destiny that drives you on, though the best of times and the worst of times, even if the vision seems delayed. Habakkuk wrote the vision down, studied it, cherished it, drew inspiration and hope from it.

 

And when his world fell to bits, when he was tired and flat and uninspired, when life seemed to just be an endless grinding on of misery and trouble, he not only started to see things God’s way, but he actually began to rejoice. His eternal vision caused him to rejoice in the face of complete disaster, to see goodness and joy and light in the darkest of places. See with God’s eyes, and you too will have this incredible power to rejoice in the face of disaster, pain and loss.

 

And that is the challenge to you today. What ever you are going through, whether you are at the top or the bottom, having good days or bad, will you covenant to see with the top part of the bifocal, to see eternity God’s way, to focus on Jesus and not on your circumstances, and see joy even in the tough times… Will you say with the prophet,

 

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (ESV Strong's)

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

 

If you are facing daunting challenges today, if you feel overwhelmed and feel like it’s just so hard to focus on things eternal, come to Jesus.

 

2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV Strong's)

as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.