“A blind man’s world is bounded by the limits of his touch; an ignorant man’s world by the limits of his knowledge: a great man’s world by the limits of his vision,” observed author and minister, E. Paul Hovey
Or as expressed by the often quoted author anonymous, “We are limited not by our abilities but by our vision.”
For the third time, Luke records Saul’s encounter with Christ on the Damascus road. We learn of his vision that ultimately led to his conversion and his new mission in life. As Paul explains his change to King Agrippa he says, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Ax 26:19).
Although Saul’s vision had an obvious miraculous component, and our vision comes from other means, there are several parallels that remind us of the power and potential of vision. The vision that inspires us to a noble purpose in life. A vision that is fortified by faith. Reinforced by hope. And pursued with passion.
Stopped by a Vision
Saul was stopped in his tracks by this heavenly vision. He saw both his position in God’s eyes and his future potential.
Saul saw that he was a blasphemer and sinner in the eyes of God. However he was exposed to his potential. What a drastic change from a sinner to a saint. From a Jew to a Christian. From a Pharisee to a Disciple. From a persecutor to a preacher.
When we see God’s vision for our lives through his revealed Word, we see ourselves as God sees us and as we really are. But we also see what He wants us to be. Who He wants us to be. How He wants us to live. And what we can become. We realize that our spiritual potential is more than we can ask or think through his power (Eph. 3:20-21).
Sent by a Vision
Saul who became the apostle Paul was sent on a mission that was the farthest thing from his mind. To be an apostle to the Gentiles. Fulfilling that vision through his missionary travels, powerful preaching, and inspiring epistles has changed countless lives.
To accomplish our spiritual goals and achieve our God-given potential for His Kingdom, we must realize we are sent with a divine purpose. Our ministry is not of human origin. Or to be directed by carnal means. Or motived by fleshly desires. It is heaven sent.
Strengthened by a Vision
Paul’s vision enabled him to endure hardships. Overcome opposition. Withstand persecution. And rise above physical impediments. (2 Cor. 11:12-33). Paul learned that God’s grace was sufficient to empower him. That Divine strength could be perfected even in His weaknesses. Thus, he could confidently affirm:
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
Likewise, God will provide for us strength to accept our calling, meet any challenge, and overcome any hardship, handicap, hindrance, or hurdle we encounter.
Stretched by a Vision
Paul’s vision stretched him to forget the past, reach forward to the future and “press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-15).
Preachers, pastors, churches and all Christians can do more than they previously thought possible (Eph 3:20-21), when they allow themselves to be stretched by spiritual goals, divine incentives, and heavenly rewards.
Satisfaction from the Vision
At the end of His life, Paul could find contentment and satisfaction in the fulfillment of his life’s mission. He reflected, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2Tim. 4:7).
John Maxwell, from whom I’ve derived the seed thoughts for this post, observed that truly happy people are people of vision. Who dream and give themselves to something bigger than themselves. In something for which they can lose their lives and find purpose to rise above their problems.
Isn’t there something bigger in your life than just watching TV? Or planning an annual vacation? Or enjoying a hobby? Or pursuing your personal pleasure? Or waiting for retirement?
Get a glimpse of God’s vision for your life. It will change who you are. How you live. And where you will spend eternity.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman