20/20 vision

20/20 vision indicates that we are able to see the same line of letters that a normal person can, at a distance of 20 feet. When a person is unable to see clearly, there is a need for a correction, often through the use of spectacles.

As Christians, we can easily get distracted from the main issues of life and focus on things or issues of interest to us and are unable to focus on things that are in God’s heart. There are many legitimate issues that vie for our attention and often succeed, sometimes to the detriment of our souls. 20/20 vision for the Christian is to see things as God sees them, to focus on things that he focuses on, to prioritise that which He prioritises.

I was drawn to three instances in the Word where we find a focus on things that are not in God’s heart and God’s gentle correction.

1. Mark 9:2-7 In this passage, Jesus takes three of his disciples and goes up a high mountain and was transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appear and speak with Jesus. The disciples are in such awe at the sight that they propose to make three tabernacles – one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah and to stay there. Immediately, a cloud overshadowed them and God spoke to them saying “This is my beloved son, listen to him“. God gently helps them to see that his desire for them was not to build the tabernacles, but to listen to Jesus. Similarly, as Christians, we can have so many plans either for our own lives or for the church and desire to get into projects that seem right and often get bogged down by them, when all that God wants of us is to listen to Jesus. Listening to Jesus and doing as he directs is what God wants of you.

2. John 21:21,22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” When Jesus met with some disciples at the seashore after his resurrection, he was speaking to Peter. During this conversation, Peter asks Jesus about John, saying “what about him?” Jesus then gently showed him that it was not necessary for him to be concerned about God’s plans for John, rather Peter was to focus on one thing – to follow Jesus. God’s plan for us is to follow Jesus – “to follow the lamb wherever he goes”. Following Jesus’ leading and plans for our lives will bring the greatest satisfaction. He has a plan for your life and will lead you to fulfill that plan. We need not worry about others and God’s plans for others, what is needed is for us to follow Jesus.  The path that God has ordained for us is unique, one that is designed just for us and it will do us immense good to be where God wants us to be.

3. Acts 1:6-8 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And he said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” In our day, we find such interest with regard to the second coming of Christ and the signs and prophecy, often to the point of being plain silly – when every change in our natural or political environment becomes a sign that the world is going to end. Well, the disciples were concerned about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. Jesus corrected them, telling them to focus rather on what was absolutely critical – the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the receiving of spiritual power with the aim of being witnesses to Christ. Today, too the Lord wants you to focus on what is necessary, the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stop the unnecessary focus on things that are not necessary or sometimes detrimental to your growth. Do not get into projects that seem right or even into ministry that seems right because of the need, just listen to Jesus. Jesus was not driven by human need, he did what His Father told him to do. There were a multitude of sick people lying at the pool of Bethesda but Jesus healed only one – the paralytic. Make it a point to listen to Jesus. Learn to hear and obey.

You do not have to worry or be envious of God’s plan for someone else – you just follow Jesus. Don’t worry about whether other denominations or churches are as fundamental in doctrine as your church is. God has a wonderful plan for your life and He is committed to fulfill that plan. Be content to just follow Jesus. He is your role model, take his yoke upon you and follow him.

Turn your focus away from too much involvement in the future or in prophecy or in peripheral matters, you focus on being filled with all the fullness of God, on the power of the Holy Spirit. I am not saying that we should not study prophecy or the end times, just warning about an inordinate focus on them. 1 John2 says that if we abide in Him, we will have confidence when he appears and will not shrink back from him in shame. I have noticed that often, it is our lack of power that is such a misrepresentation of Jesus to unbelievers. Seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit and you will receive power to be a witness for Jesus.

20/20 vision. Let us see as God sees.

The ear of the learned

Isaiah 50: 4-5
“The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned that I may know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens me morning by morning, he awakens my ear to hear as the learned.
The Lord God has opened my ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.”

Before you can obtain the tongue of the learned to speak a word in season to him who is weary, you need to obtain the “ear of the learned” that you may listen to what he says.

Many people run with a message and claim to have a word in season; but not all have first waited in God’s presence to hear what he has to say. It is only when we have heard God can we have a message, for the message must originate from God. It is his church, his word, his Spirit and so the message must be from him. Preacher, the church does not need to hear what you have to say, they need to hear what God has to say, for “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Waiting on God to hear what “the Spirit says to the church” is imperative if our words are to be “words in season to him who is weary.”

God complained through the prophet Jeremiah in 23:21-22, “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel and caused my people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.”

Have you been hearing God of late? Do you know that he still speaks to his people – to all his people and not just to a chosen few. Jesus said, “my sheep hear my voice and they follow me”. I believe God loves to speak to us; its just that we don’t take the time to sit and listen.

May I encourage you today – wait upon God, listen to what he has to say. Once he speaks, live by it; then run with the message. There is a needy church that is desperate to hear what God has to say. You be the person who has the ear of the learned so that you can hear him, then you will receive the tongue of the learned so that you can speak a word in season to him who is weary.