“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18
In the first article in this series we began exploring five tools for applying biblical principles to all of life, including how we approach work and economics.
Personal vision is the first of the five tools, or mental models, we want to discuss. It starts with understanding who God has created you to be, and what he has called you to do.
The Basis of Personal Vision
King David writes in Psalm 139:13-14, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
A closer look at the original Hebrew text for this passage tells us that we are created with great reverence, heart-felt interest and respect. We are unique, set apart and marvelous in God’s eyes.
The Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Not only are we uniquely made, but God has created and equipped each of us to do something very special. Our salvation is not just a bus ticket to heaven, but an invitation to participate in God’s redemptive plan to rescue humanity and the physical universe. N.T. Wright, in his book The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is, puts it this way:
Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion…The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology and even–heaven help us–biblical studies, a worldview that will mount the historically-rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and post-modernity, leading the way…with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom.
The Purpose of Personal Vision
Discovering your personal vision helps you understand who you are in Christ, your talents and your comparative advantages. It helps you know how to create the greatest value for yourself, your family, your church, your community and your work for the glory of God. A personal vision should do many things, including:
• Motivate us.
• Give us great purpose.
• Give us direction.
• Be something that matters to us.
• Lead us to the right strategy.
• Serve us and the common good.
Our personal vision is the clearest description of our calling, what God has made us to do in this life. It should constantly remind us of the unique way in which God has chosen us to fit into his great plan of redemption.
In fact, one of the great joys of being a Christian is that you have the confidence of knowing that you personally fit into this great plan. While the specifics of our lives and callings may vary, we share a common purpose: to bring the principles of God’s kingdom to bear in every area of life. Our personal vision ties us to this common scriptural goal.
Unfortunately, many Christians live lives devoid of a personal vision, or embrace one given to them by the culture – one that is incompatible with the call God has placed on their lives.
Without a vision from God we perish, as Proverbs 29:18 points out. We become fatigued in our walk with God and we become demoralized, living with no sense of purpose. Discovering and developing a personal vision for your life is an issue of great importance.
In my next article I will share some practical ideas to help you discover and develop your personal vision.
Five tools for thinking biblically about faith, work and economics
This article originally appeared on the website of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics.