Back to School (Know Where You Are Going)
God gives us vision to bring clarity to the destination.
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people”. Rev. 21:1-3
What is Vision?
“Vision is a mental picture of the future. It is an idea of what the future can hold but has not yet happened. Vision is the thing inside of us that guides us. It creates a desire to grow and improve.
A clear vision of what you want helps you to see opportunities and possibilities around you. It guides you in figuring out what you want to do and what actions and activities you need to do to accomplish your objective.” - Chantal Bechervaise
In Exodus 6:6-9, in the gospel preached to Israel, God gave them the vision and set them on the course to reach their destination. When God wants to move you, he gives you a vision of the location, but does not fully disclose the route that you will take. For Israel, it was the promise land.
Therefore, say to the children of Israel: “I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.”
For the disciples of Christ, we read in John 14:1-4 “I go to prepare a place for you and if I go I will come again”. John saw the vision in the book of Revelation chapter 21. The city of gold with its twelve foundations. Heaven! The physical destination is New Jerusalem, the place of promise. For we are looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.
However, before we reach the city, there is another place we must reach first.
The passage in Exodus 6 declares a physical destination, but if we pause for a moment we can see a spiritual destination.
In the vision given to Israel, their first destination was to become part of God, (God-likeness). One translation reads " I will bring you to Myself". To be brought to God is to experience a oneness with God as Jesus experienced " I and my Father are one" (John 10:30) and make them one as we are one (John 17:21-23).
Spiritual destination takes us into the heart and character of God himself. Paul describes how this oneness happens in I Cor. 2:9-10.
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
With our natural eyes we cannot see what God has in store for us, but it is revealed to us by His Spirit. What we see and hear preached about is the city of God, New Jerusalem, but there is one step that takes place before we enter the city. That step is- becoming a member of God’s family.
God want us to possess the riches of His wealth. The very things that makes Him Glorious. He wants to share His glory with us, and the only way that is possible is to bring us closer and closer to Himself. His desire is that the glow of His life would radiated through our lives, as with Moses reflecting the glory of God on the mountain.
God revealed to Moses the riches of His glory as seen in Exodus 34:6-7:
Mercy and grace, compassion, endlessly patience—abounding in love, so deeply true, faithful, right doings—loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. Yet still, he doesn’t ignore sin.
The passage reveals that the weight and wealth of God is demonstrated best in His Character.
So, before we get to the physical destination we must move in the direction of the spiritual destination,
which is the glory of God, the wealth of God, found in the character of God.
Jesus talks about a different destination. “the kingdom is in your midst.” Meaning that the authority and power of the kingdom is present today through Jesus Christ. The elements and glory of the kingdom is a present-day reality.
The apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3 that “Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus called us by his glory and goodness. Through these he gave us the very great and precious promises. With these gifts you can share in God’s nature…
The following passages of scriptures emphasize the destination of God likeness.
Psalm 82:6 (NKJV):I said, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High”.
John 10:34–38 (KJV): Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him”.
1 John 3:2–3 (KJV): Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Romans 9:8 (KJV): That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Galatians 4:6–7 (KJV): And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Romans 8:16–17 (NKJV): The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
The journey to Godlikeness is the most difficult journey because it fights against our natural human instincts. Love for our enemies is not our first response, nor is giving up something we want or desire for the need of another. We are reluctant to make room for others when riding on a plane hoping I can get the set next to me for myself.
However, we want the things that God offers, Godlikeness, and eternal life, but we want to take shortcuts to get us there.
There are several dangers in taking short cuts makes the distance longer.
Shortcuts will get you lost
What comes easy won’t last, and what lasts won’t come easy
Shortcuts are deceptions that seeks to convince us that by taking it, you can avoid the discomfort of the journey.
The greatest lessons in life have come from the discomfort of the journey.
Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
Oprah Winfrey, at the age of 22, was fired from her job as a television reporter because she was ‘unfit for TV.”
Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school, not once…not twice…but three times.
Short cuts are optical illusions that don’t necessarily trick our eyes—they trick our brains. Optical illusions take advantage of these shortcuts and fool our brains so that our perception of an image doesn’t necessarily match reality. Short cuts never work.
Satan offered Jesus a short cut to redeem the world. It was an optical illusion.
To reach the destination safely, we must not diminish the vision God has given us by short-circuiting the vision and taking short cuts along the way.
Today, we would not dare go in unfamiliar cities with our GPS device either in our cars or on our phones. There is something comforting and secure about having a pleasant voice saying, “Turn right in 300 feet” or “you need to make a legal U-turn or recalculating (because you didn’t follow my directions). If we are not careful we would fail to reach our destination. The GPS’s are so sophisticated that it can identify an accident along the route and redirect to avoid hazardous road conditions
Remember that it is God is the one who carries us to our destination. He is our Global Positioning System (GPS). He navigates our lives through the hazardous road conditions to arrive safely.
On this unpredictable journey of life, let us stay close to our (GPS) God Positioning System.
I ask you two simple questions:
Can you see the destination God has for you?
Will you stay on course despite the occasional discomfort?
Character of God
Crown of Life Study Guide
Alertness vs. Unawareness Being aware of that which is taking place around me so I can have the right response to it (Mark 14:38)
Attentiveness vs. Unconcern Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his words and emotions (Hebrews 2:1)
Availability vs. Self-centeredness Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving (Philippians 2:20–21)
Boldness vs. Fearfulness Confidence that what I have to say or do is true and right and just in the sight of God (Acts 4:29)
Cautiousness vs. Rashness Knowing how important right timing is in accomplishing right actions (Proverbs 19:2)
Compassion vs. Indifference Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others (I John 3:17)
Contentment vs. Covetousness Realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness (I Timothy 6:8)
Creativity vs. Underachievement Approaching a need, a task, an idea from a new perspective (Romans 12:2)
Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness The ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God (James 1:5)
Deference vs. Rudeness Limiting my freedom in order not offend the tastes of those whom God has called me to serve (Romans 14:21)
Dependability vs. Inconsistency Fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice (Psalm 15:4)
Determination vs. Faintheartedness Purposing to accomplish God’s goals in God’s time regardless of the opposition (II Timothy 4:7–8)
Dligence vs. Slothfulness Visualizing each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to accomplish it (Colossians 3:23)
Discernment vs. Judgment The God-given ability to understand why things happen (I Samuel 16:7)
Discretion vs. Simplemindedness The ability to avoid words, actions, and attitudes which could result in undesirable consequences (Proverbs 22:3)
Endurance vs. Giving up The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best (Galatians 6:9)
Enthusiasm vs. Apathy Expressing with my soul the joy of my spirit (I Thessalonians 5:16,19)
Faith vs. Presumption Visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it (Hebrews 11:1)
Flexibility vs. Resistance Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others (Colossians 3:2)
Forgiveness vs. Rejection Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and allowing God to love them through me (Ephesians 4:32)
Generosity vs. Stinginess Realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes (II Corinthians 9:6)
Gentleness vs. Harshness Showing personal care and concern in meeting the need of others (I Thessalonians 2:7)
Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness Making known to God and others in what ways they have benefited my life (I Corinthians 4:7)
Hospitality vs. Loneliness Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those whom God brings into my life (Hebrews 13:2)
Humility vs. Pride Recognizing that it is actually God and others who are responsible for the achievements in my life (James 4:6)
Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it (Romans 12:21)
Joyfulness vs. Self-pity The spontaneous enthusiasm of my spirit when my soul is in fellowship with the Lord (Psalm 16:11)
Justice vs. Fairness Personal responsibility to God’s unchanging laws (Micah 6:8)
Love vs. Selfishness Giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward (I Corinthians 13:3)
Loyalty vs. Unfaithfulness Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those whom He has called me to serve (John 15:13)
Meekness vs. Anger Yielding my personal rights and expectations to God (Psalm 62:5)
Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Obedience vs. Willfulness Freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority (II Corinthians 10:5)
Orderliness vs. Disorganization Preparing myself and my surroundings so I will achieve the greatest efficiency (I Corinthians 14:40)
Patience vs. Restlessness Accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it (Romans 5:3–4)
Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks (II Timothy 2:24)
Punctuality vs. Tardiness Showing high esteem for other people and their time (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Resourcefulness vs. Wastefulness Wise use of that which others would normally overlook or discard (Luke 16:10)
Responsibility vs. Unreliability Knowing and doing what both God and others are expecting from me (Romans 14:12)
Reverence vs. Disrespect Awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me (Proverbs 23:17–18)
Security vs. Anxiety Structuring my life around that which is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away (John 6:27)
Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence Instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:24–25)
Sensitivity vs. Callousness Exercising my senses so I can perceive the true spirit and emotions of those around me (Romans 12:15)
Sincerity vs. Hypocrisy Eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives (I Peter 1:22)
Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected (Proverbs 18:15)
Thriftiness vs. Extravagance Not letting myself or others spend that which is not necessary (Luke 16:11)
Tolerance vs. Prejudice Acceptance of others as unique expressions of specific character qualities in varying degrees of maturity (Philippians 2:2)
Truthfulness vs. Deception Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts (Ephesians 4:25)
Virtue vs. Impurity The moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word (II Peter 1:3)
Wisdom vs. Natural Inclinations Seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference (Proverbs 9:10)