The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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What is your vision?

In Hebrews 11:9-10, we read about Abraham:

Hebrews 11:9-10
“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (NKJV-KJV)

I have specially marked verse 10 as it gives us Abraham’s vision, what he was after. Before we see this in more detail though, let’s have a look at what vision is. We use the word vision in the physical level for the ability to see. Having vision in this realm means I’m able to see with my eyes. We say a blind man has lost his vision i.e. he cannot see with his eyes. In a similar way, the word vision is used for “seeing” the future too, for what is not presently seen in the physical realm but we envision it with our mind as the-future-to-be situation. It is like having it in front of our eyes and going after it in order to achieve it. Like this, vision is a very strong motivating factor as it defines our destination, where we see ourselves to be in the future. Without this kind of vision all that is left to somebody is the here and now and we could call such a person blind too: he may not be blind in the physical realm, yet he is blind as he cannot see anything beyond the today.

Returning to Abraham now, this was not his case. For he was a man full of vision. A vision that GOD gave him. And this is the other thing about the vision… is the vision we have a self-made, self-serving vision or a vision that God gave? And we will see God has given to all of us a vision. Abraham left his country and sojourned in the land of promise. He was stranger and was living in tabernacles, following the promise that God had made to him. He took all this pain for the following reason: “For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

Abraham’s vision was not to get a bigger, “better” life here and now. He didn’t care where he lived. He didn’t even care that he left his family behind to follow through the promise of God and move as a stranger and sojourner in the promised land. Here and now was not his care. His vision was the city whose builder and maker was GOD. This city, the heavenly city of God, was in front of his eyes and it was there where he wanted to be. And not only he but also the others that followed him: Sarah, Isaac, Jacob. As Hebrews 11 again tells us:

Hebrews 11:13-16
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Abraham and the others didn’t care to return to the country from which they had come from. They had a vision, a vision of another country, a vision of the city God had prepared for them, and not for them only but for us too! Their vision is the vision God gave to us too, for we too are going to the same city. See what the Word says:

Hebrews 13:14
“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”

Ephesians 2:19
“Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”

Philippians 3:20
“For our citizenship is in heaven…”

1 Peter 2:11
“Dearly beloved, I beg you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”

We have no city here! Like Abraham we are looking for the one to come, the same city he was looking for. Like him, we too are strangers and pilgrims here. See also the contrast between Ephesians 2:19 and I Peter 2:11. By believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and his resurrection, the Father “delivered us from the power of darkness, and has conveyed us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). At the same time this made us “strangers and pilgrims” in this world (I Peter 2:11) and “fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). We are citizens of heaven! Citizens of the same country, members of the same city that was the vision of Abraham! Abraham’s life was motivated fully by this vision. To use a phrase from R. T. Kendall, “he was going to heaven - to this city God had prepared - and he knew it”. It was no more the here and now for him but this vision that God had given him: the city in heaven. This is our final destination too. There must be no Christian that walks visionless or one that walks with a wrong vision. Our vision brothers is not the here and now. It is not the poor things of this passing world. We will leave this world too. The vision of the Christian is the heavenly city God has prepared for him. We are people who are on our way to heaven. We are citizens of heaven! How sad that we many times forget this. That many times our focus is the here and now, the things of this life. In the parable of the sower the Lord explained that there are 4 categories of those who hear the Word:

Mark 4:14-20
“The sower sows the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan comes immediately, and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these likewise are the ones sown on stony ground, who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time: afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are the ones which are sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

The second and third categories that received the Word but fell away or ended up fruitless are categories that didn’t keep the vision. Though they received the Word, they eventually became again focused on the here and now. The second category endured for a time but when affliction or persecution came, they immediately retreated. Vision is what motivates you to move ahead, regardless the cost, looking at what you know is your destination. Obviously this didn’t happen with this category. When persecution arose because of the Word, their focus became again the here and now, and by doing so they “withered away” (Mark 4:6). Similarly for the third category. Their focus was not the correct one. The cares of this word and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things made the Word unfruitful. Both categories failed because their vision was not the heaven and the city that had God as builder but the here and now. And though God is a God of the here and now too, the here and now is not to be our focus. I Corinthians tells us:

1 Corinthians 15:19
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

Reading the verses that precede this one, you will see that there were among the Corinthians some that supported that there is no resurrection of the dead. In other words, they were teaching that the only thing that has somebody is the here and now. If, Paul says, it was like this and thus we have hope in Christ only in this life, only for the here and now, then we are of all men the most miserable. See the word “only”. It is not that we will not have hope in Christ in this life. But not ONLY in this life. If our focus is the here and now ONLY (I trust in God so that he gives me a better job, find me a spouse, give me health etc) then we are of all men most miserable. Because we are missing the vision, the bigger picture. We will definitely give our needs to the Lord, cast our cares to him, open our hearts with our thoughts and troubles, knock and we will find, but our main focus is to be the heaven, the big picture, the vision, the city that God has prepared for us.

Matthew 6:25-33
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? And why do you worry about raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin: And yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, What shall we wear ? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

“Take NO THOUGHT for your life” and its cares, says the Word. God knows all our needs and He will fully cover them all. We don’t need to be focused on these. Our focus, our vision, what must be in front of our eyes is not cares, riches and other things but the kingdom of God, the city God has prepared for us and to which we are going, our true country. As Hebrews says:

Hebrews 12:18-22
“For you have not come to the mount that may be touched and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice those who heard begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore…..But you have come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem….

“You have come”. We are already there! God counts us in already! We are fellowcitizens of the saints. We have been raised from the dead and sat in the heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6). We are on our way to heaven, to the city God has prepared for us!

Revelation 21:2-4
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away."

Is this your vision, fellow brother in Christ? Is this what you are looking for? Or you are burdened with cares and have lost the focus. Take courage, look at His Word and see it: we are not belonging to the here and now. Don’t be too much focused on it. Here we are strangers and pilgrims looking for a new country, for a new city, the one that GOD and not man, has prepared for us. For indeed he has prepared a city for you and me and we are going there!

John 14:2-3
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Anastasios Kioulachoglou