What do you picture yourself accomplishing in this New Year? Do you see yourself coming one step closer to achieving your dreams, or do you expect difficulty to continue in your life?
What you see yourself doing in this year has a great impact on what will actually happen. Habakkuk 2:2 says:
And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (KJV)
The Bible uses another term almost synonymously with the word vision: imagination. Imagination refers to the capacity of your mind given to you by God to mentally image what your future holds in store for you. Imagination generates momentum and direction in each of our lives.
Look what happened in Genesis 11:6 when the people of the earth were building the tower of Babel.
And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (KJV)
This was an unregenerate people, and they were doing something that was not consistent with God’s will or purpose; yet God said that nothing they imagined would be restrained from them. When you see it with your mind’s eye, it generates direction and momentum accordingly in your life.
Paint Positive Pictures
Too often people use their imaginations to paint pictures of negative outcomes on the mental screen of their minds. They imagine losing a job or their business failing. They imagine a failing marriage or the degradation of their body’s health.
Because our imagination gives us momentum toward what we think about, negative imaginations point and propel our lives in a negative direction.
On the other hand, the Word paints a positive picture of our future probabilities. If you’ll receive what God says as a revelation of truth, then His Word can begin to shape your expectation of the future accordingly. You’ll begin to see your year in a different light.
Discovering His Vision
How do we get this Word on the inside of us? It comes through two ways.
As you’ve heard me mention before, the general will of God for believers of all ages comes through the Bible. The specific will of God for each of our lives is revealed to us by the Holy Ghost. These things combine to give you a view of what God says is His will for you. They also become the basis for your long-term and short-term vision.
Philippians 3:14 says:
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (KJV)
The high calling of God is the ultimate, long-range plan of God as defined by the Bible and the Holy Spirit’s word to you. Notice, though, that Paul doesn’t press toward the high calling. He presses toward something he calls a “mark.” “Marks” are short-term goals or objectives that walk us down the path toward our high calling.
Let me show you what I mean. God has called all believers to walk in love. This long-term goal won’t be reached overnight, but each of us can create short-term goals that will bring us closer to it. Maybe a goal for this year would be to be nice to that annoying coworker or to show more love to your family.
Another example would be if God has given you the desire to start a successful business, maybe your goal for this year would be to go back to school so you are fully equipped in that area.
Once you’ve identified what your goals are, you do what Paul did: you “press.” That word press in the Strong’s Concordance actually means “to pursue.” Commentaries add the idea of “best effort” and “consistency”—not just on Mondays and Fridays but all week long.
For many people, the idea of consistently pursuing a goal is overwhelming and impossible. Thankfully, though, we don’t do this on our own. Paul said he pressed “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.”
Did you catch that? You pursue God’s plan while “in Christ Jesus.” Christ isn’t Jesus’ last name. Christ is a reference to the anointing that He has brought into the earth that we can experience. By the anointing and grace that is available to us in Christ Jesus, we can come into the high calling or perfect will of God.
We press toward our goals—walking in love, becoming smoke free, educational goals, health and wellness, whatever it is—by His grace.
God-given goals are achievable for you, not because you’re smart or cool, but because Jesus paid the price for you to rise to a level of performance you would never attain on your own. In Christ Jesus, you can accomplish these things. All you have to do is release your faith in the ability that you have in Christ to supersede normal human effort. His grace creates the ability and consistency within you to arrive—and stay—there.
So when you’re holding back sarcastic comments from the person you don’t like or you don’t have any desire to study for your business classes, that’s the time for you to say, “Lord, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He will give you the ability to sustain that effort, and you will arrive at that mark.
Life Is a Journey
Probably the most common question regarding the high calling is, “It’s so far out there. How in the world am I ever going to reach it?”
The old cliché is right: one step at a time. We’d like to snap our fingers and say, “Lord, if you love me, do it now.” He loves you, but you are going to have to make the choices that will take your life down that path.
Setting and pursuing intermediate goals and objectives takes you in that direction; it also helps you measure your progress in a meaningful way. When you’ve arrived at one mark, you set another one a little further down the road. Eventually, you’ll arrive at the high calling of God.
It’s important as you pursue these short-term goals that you keep the long-range vision God has given you in the forefront of your mind. Imagine what life will be like when you reach that goal.
My long-range vision is what sustains the impetus in my direction, day in and day out. Not one day passes that I don’t spend time sharpening my focus and imagining it as reality. This prepares me for when adversity comes. A clear picture of the high calling of God generates enough momentum for me to go through any obstacle I face. It keeps my heart lifted up and filled with anticipation about what God has for me.
The same can be true for you too. As you spend time imagining the long-range vision God has given you, the more it becomes clear in your heart. The clearer it is, the more it stabilizes your life and propels you in the direction God wants you to go.
So I encourage you to pray about the high calling God has placed on your life. Write down what He shows you so you have a clear vision in front of you. Ask God what goals He wants you to set for this year that will propel you in the direction of your high calling, and then ask for His grace to pursue those goals on a daily basis.
As you accomplish these things, you’ll come closer and closer to walking in the high calling of God on your life.
You Are a World Changer
There’s one final thing to say about the calling God has placed on each of our lives. It’s stated in one of my favorite verses in the Bible.
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV)
God has prepared a year for you that is mind blowing and eye popping. Eye hasn’t seen it and ear hasn’t heard it. You are a world changer waiting to happen. Get excited about what God has in store for you and realize that His grace is what enables you to pursue every step He gives you.
This year will be a good year, and Lynne and I are grateful to be connected with world changers like you. We are excited to watch God continue His work in this ministry and your lives.