Why you need to stay focused on the dream God has given you
Human beings are mysterious creatures who are powerfully affected by vision. We are designed in such a way that we will move in the direction of what we see. Your vision is your future, and your vision is your imagination. You need an imagination inspired by the promises of God. You need the eye of the eagle. The eagle builds its nest high atop a mountain or tall rock. From there, “it spies out the prey; its eyes observe from afar” (Job 39:27-29).
God has not called you to be a chicken pecking around in the barnyard of the status quo, never seeing anything but the dust of Old MacDonald’s farm. God has called you to mount up on eagles’ wings of faith and soar above the storms (Is. 40:30-31).
I have found that I remain excited about life as long as I hold on to the vision that hope can create. As I live in the realm of hopeful vision, I find I can begin each new day with fresh energy and enthusiasm.
If you ask a man living an empty, dead-end life if he wishes he had a better life, he would certainly say yes. But he has no vision for it. He wishes things were better, but as he peers into his future, all he sees is more of the same. He’s like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, living the same day over and over. Your vision is not merely your wants, wishes and desires. Your vision is what you see. Your vision is your future.
From the Old Testament prophets we see that God is very interested in a person’s capacity for vision. Repeatedly in Scripture God asks people this question: “What do you see?” By saturating your mind in Scripture, your capacity for vision will be enhanced. Disciplined reading of Scripture is reading God’s thoughts after Him, and it expands your capacity to think the God thoughts necessary to transcend convention and move beyond present limitation.
Georgian Banov, a close friend of mine, plays guitar and piano and is a classically trained violinist. He grew up in Bulgaria in the 1960s when the communist officials kept a tight rein on music and the arts. One day Georgian heard the Beatles singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” It changed his life. He formed a rock band, and they were an instant sensation—until the state police deemed their music as a corrupting, capitalist excess and pulled the plug on them in the middle of a concert. Georgian escaped to West Germany, later winding up in California during the Jesus Movement where he became a Christian and formed the band Silverwind.
One time, Georgian and I were talking in my study, and he asked me about my vision. As I began to share it, a passion rose up in me and the words poured out. It seemed like a holy moment. Suddenly, Georgian jumped up, poked me in the chest and said: “Keep your mind on your vision. Make a decision! Keep your mind on your vision. Make a provision! Keep your mind on your vision. Tell all distractions goodbye.”
I have never forgotten those words. “Keep your mind on your vision!” You will never go further than your vision, and if you have moles’ eyes instead of eagles’ eyes you will be very limited. In my life and ministry there have been times when I attempted new things that seemed risky at the time. But I had seen something, and I was going to be daring enough to move in the new direction of a new vision. This doesn’t mean that everything I have attempted has been successful, but one thing is certain: without a new vision, you will never have anything new.
Brian Zahnd is pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Mo., and the author of Unconditional?, which released this year, and What to Do on the Worst Day of Your Life.