As an Optometrist, I feel uniquely qualified to speak on vision. Vision is the dominant sense we have, and most of us rely on our vision to live our lives and move ahead correctly.
We all saw 2020 as a year of vision, but it was more like a chance to reset our vision. The term 2020 is the American term, here we use 6/6, because 6 m is 20 feet. It is not excellent vision but average good vision, and the numbers imply that at a testing distance of 20 feet you can see what the average person sees at 20 feet.
But if 2020 reset the vision, I believe that 2021 is our chance to pursue the vision God gives us, both as His servants and together as His church. So let’s examine vision in the Bible, and get ready to pursue the right thing in 2021.
NONE SO BLIND…
The old saying is still true, there’s none so blind as those who cannot, or will not see.
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.”
You can have your eyes open but not see. You can see the physical world around you, but miss the spiritual world. You can even see exactly the same thing as someone else but get a completely different meaning.
Matthew 13:14-15 (ESV Strong’s). JESUS SAID…
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 they missed the entire point!
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.
WITHOUT A VISION
Proverbs 29:18 (ESV Strong’s)
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
Does this mean blind people go to hell? Of course not! What is it saying?
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 COVID free 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 their 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, of they just float along in life achieving nothing of eternal value. They can be rich or look successful, but achieve nothing of value eternally.
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 will drive 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 God sees you and the plans He has for you to prosper and not harm you, most people stunt their potential and eventually destroy themselves or waste their life.
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.
And I’m praying for a spiritual revelation for you this morning, that starting today you might see the world in 2021 differently, see in the spirit, and see an eternal perspective. Just like Elisha’s servant, who saw only the Syrian army standing against them, until Elisha prayed…
2 Kings 6:16-17 (ESV)
He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 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.
Lord give us that perspective today as we face 2021. Let us see Jesus not satan. SLIDE
WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR VISION?
Your vision is affected by many things, because vision is not sight. Vision is the product of what you see plus your past, your influences, even your beliefs. Let’s look at 6 things that influence your vision in 2021
- HOW YOU SEE GOD?
How do you envision God? Is He angry and vindictive, Distant and disengaged or right here loving, leading and guiding your vision?
Matthew 5:8 (ESV Strong’s)
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
A pure heart enables you to see God properly. 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.
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.
If you decide to ignore God, if you don’t listen to His directions and go your own way, why should He bother prospering you into the life you’ve always dreamed of? How can He even do this, if you never run towards Him but always run away from Him?
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, and some have not been walking closely with God, then 2021 is the time to 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.
How you perceive God affects everything. Many people blame God for things they do to themselves. In their perception they see God as doing things He never did. Look at these slides and you’ll see movement induced by your perception that isn’t really there…
- HOW YOU SEE YOURSELF
Most people don’t really like what they see in themselves. Our view of ourselves is shaped by what we have experienced, and words that have been spoken over us,
Perhaps 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 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.
- The average human body contains enough sulphur to kill all the fleas on the average dog, enough carbon to make 900 pencils, enough potassium to fire a toy cannon, enough fat to make seven bars of soap and enough water to fill a 50-litre barrel.
- The human brain has a memory capacity which is the equivalent of more than four terabytes of hard drive.
- Nerve impulses in the human body move at about 90 m/s.
- 100,000 chemical reactions occur in the human brain every second.
- 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
You are fearfully and wonderfully made, not an accident, someone of purpose, destiny and value. But if you don’t see yourself as valuable you can distort God’s image.
DISTORTED CIRCLES AND LINES
- HOW YOU SEE OTHER PEOPLE
When you see God correctly, and yourself correctly as His beloved creation, then you start to see others in their proper perspective.
As humans we are naturally self centred and selfish. You don’t have to teach a child to be bad or selfish, it’s a natural skill. We all tend to put ourselves number one, and often 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. I try to be a Godly man, mostly, but lose that mantle when I get behind the wheel of a car.
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, PERSPECTIVE SLIDES
The right 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.”
- HOW YOU SEE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
The more we see the power of heaven, the less we shall fear the troubles of earth. When you have the right 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.
No matter what you face, no matter what life throws up at you in 2021, 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 changes, from everlasting to everlasting He is God,
Malachi 3:6 (ESV Strong’s)
“For I the Lord do not change;
What does change 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 circumstances can influence how we see things.
SLIDE OF EXTERNAL FACTORS AFFECTING OUR VISION
5. HOW YOU SEE YOUR PAST
Because vision is not simply sight, because it is every experience we have had factored into our sight, past experiences influence how we see right now.
Have you done things you’re ashamed of? Do you still feel guilt? The Bible says that when you come to Jesus
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
It’s a fresh start. In the same way, 2020 with its COVID shenanigans, wiped the slate clean, enabling many of us to reset and start again. What we need to do right now is listen to the Lord and obey Him, and not carry the baggage of the past into the future. But often we imprint our past failures onto our current situation…
- HOW YOU SEE YOUR FUTURE
How we see our circumstances also affects how we see our future. Many of us experience fear as we face struggles, face difficulties, face 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.
With Christ you can face anything if you have the right vision. You can put up with any pain, any trial, and sickness, any temptation, if your eyes are fixed on Jesus.
You can choose what you see, just as the 10 spies chose to see giants in the land. They first said this…
Numbers 13:27 (ESV)
“We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit…. But just 4 verses later it morphed into this
Numbers 13:32 (ESV)
The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height.
You see, 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.
Don’t let your view of the future be affected by the experiences of the past.
PERSPECTIVE PHOTOS AND WORD GAMES
GOD WEAVES YOUR FUTURE
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 skilful 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.
EYES TO SEE
As Christians, we have to develop 2 sets of eyes. We have to keep looking at life, and the world we live in, but we also need to see God’s perspective, because that changes everything.
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 simultaneously.
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!
Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
IN 2021, WHAT WE FOCUS ON DETERMINES HOW WE PERCEIVE
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.” Or as this slides shows us,
2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV)
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.
FOCUS SLIDE, JESUS AFTER IMAGE
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
All you need, the great things God wants you to have in life, for each of us and for us as a church, they are ours if we focus on the right thing. If we seek God not all those desires we crave.
So what are you focusing on in 2021?
Some say seeing is believing, but that’s not true, because your eyes can be fooled. The more accurate quote is believing is seeing, because when you focus on Jesus everything else comes into perspective.
Lord, give me eyes to see what you have in my destiny in 2021.
What is your vision for your life in 2021?
What is your vision for Ignite in 2021? Where would you like to see the church headed?
What can you do to see these visions come to pass?