Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…
Without vision, the people perish…
When Jesus walked this earth, He lived life with a vision. The vision of the extraordinary act that would make a way for all of mankind to be saved. The vision of Him returning to the Father in heaven victorious. The vision of him returning to earth, to His bride, to reconcile all of His church to Him. As he went through rejection, temptation, loneliness, heartache, grief, His heart was focused on the vision that God gave Him for His life. His purpose was much too great to sacrifice.
Luke 6:23 tells us that “great is our reward in heaven” when we are hated, insulted, or rejected. Some of us take verses like this lightly. “Great is our reward in heaven” –sure, what exactly does that mean? God is not a man that He should lie, and His word is truth. What he considers to be “great” is wonderful beyond our comprehension. James and Paul both talked about earning a crown in heaven. In Revelations 4, it mentions that the 24 elders were wearing white robes and gold victor’s crowns on their heads. We should go through this life constantly considering earning the victorious crown from Christ, our God in Heaven. Entering heaven, not only “saved”, but also victorious.
Living a victorious life means living a life of denial. It means crucifying yourself and your desires daily. Jesus said that anyone that wants to pursue him must take up his cross.
Mark 8:34-35 (New International Version)
34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Have you ever wondered why God picked crucifixion as the way Jesus would meet his end? Jesus uses this term when he is explaining denying your desires. It’s as though denying your desires is excruciating. Isn’t it sometimes, though? It’s humiliating at times. How humiliating is it when you have to confess a lie that you told to someone who loves and trusts you? Or to your enemy? I feel as if I might as well be standing there naked in front of them. Or when conversations and friendships slowly dwindle because people realize that you are not like them? What does that loneliness feel like?
Christ was able to have vision beyond the cross. His vision was as far reaching as eternity. Millions of years in the future, He saw the one that His heart loves and longs for crowned with a golden crown. He saw you and me denying our desires by the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of almighty God. He saw the Church fasting and praying calling for His return with longing. He saw people like you and me living radical lives wholly devoted to Him, giving up everything for the vision that He has planted in our hearts.
Without vision, we perish. Our souls grow faint, and we can’t complete what He asks of us. The vision must be eternal. It must come from the One who is Eternal. If we do not have this eternal perspective, we will not crucify ourselves daily; therefore we will not follow him. As we crucify ourselves daily, we become more like Jesus Christ-the Holy one of Israel. And with the mind of Christ, we too can have that GREAT and wonderful vision revealed to us daily. In turn, we WILL be victorious.
You are our great reward. In you, there is only good. Amazing in every way, I seek you. And as I seek you, Father, I ask that you reveal the eternal vision. Please open my capacity to visualize the eternal reward of serving you in a victorious way. Make me more like Christ. Give me grace to overcome temptation and my own desires. I ask that you remove anything that keeps me from following you whole-heartedly, and with all my mind, strength, and soul. When I see you face to face, I you to be proud of my decisions, my sacrifices. Do not let me attached to treasures and visions of success on this earth because only in heaven is my treasure safe. As Paul did, I want to run this race to win an eternal crown. Help me to walk with boldness and always…always heed your voice and direction in my life. Forgive me where I have not listened to your voice and responded immediately with action. Let your name be glorified in my life. I love you. It is in Jesus name, authority, and character that I pray. Amen.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”