The Apostle Paul had a vision and lived his life under the heavenly vision. We need to also become persons with a vision, those who see God’s economy concerning Christ and the church, and do everything being governed by this vision.
As believers in Christ we are children of God, citizens of the kingdom of God, God-men, and servants of God; as such, we need to be persons with a heavenly vision. In serving the Lord and in doing everything in our Christian life and church life we need to be governed by the heavenly vision.
If we do not see the heavenly vision yet we do our best to live the Christian life and be in the church life, we will bring in a lot of things of our self, our opinions, our feelings, our preferences, and our disposition, and these things will damage others and damage the church. But when we have a heavenly vision and do everything according to this vision, we will not bring any earthly or worldly practices into the church but rather serve God according to the heavenly vision.
The vision of Christ and the church needs to govern our daily life and our church life. If we see God’s economy, everything we do will be for ministering Christ to others that they may become building materials for the church, and we will seek to be built up and help others be built up in the Body of Christ.
But how can we receive this vision? How can we have a heavenly vision that governs us and directs us to do everything one with the Lord for His economy? Only the Father can give us such a vision, and on our side we need to be pure in heart, having a heart turned to the Lord, and we need to be willing to let go of worthless things, wait on the Lord, and be open to Him.
The Lord wants to appear to us in glory and show us a vision of His economy, but we need to have a pure heart turned to Him, we need to let go of anything that would hinder our seeing, and we need to wait on the Lord by being open to Him.
Every Believer Must be a Person with a Vision
All those who serve the Lord must be persons with a vision, and all believers are those who serve the Lord. We were saved to serve God, and we serve Him as slaves in spirit under the heavenly vision.
How do we serve God? By having a vision of His economy and by not bringing anything of ourselves or our background into the church but by cooperating with the Lord for God to work Himself into others for the Body of Christ. The heavenly vision stops us from using earthly or worldly methods and practices, and adjusts us when we want to bring in our own “flavor” into the church.
When we have a heavenly vision as believers in Christ we will realize that we need to experience Christ as life so that we may grow in life, and we need to live in the church life by ministering Christ to others for the building up of the church.
The vision of God’s economy is the vision of Christ and the church, and this vision is the goal of our service, shining like a bright lamp for us to walk in its light. If we see the vision of God’s economy even our helping with the children will be with the view of helping them become materials for the building up of the church.
If we have the vision of Christ and the church then our visiting the saints, caring for the young people, cooking meals for the Christian students, cleaning the meeting hall, giving hospitality, giving the saints a ride home or to the meeting, and anything we do in the church life will be with the view to help others receive Christ as life so that they may become proper materials to be built up in the church.
All believers need to have a vision of God’s economy, Christ and the church. The most important matter for one who serves the Lord is that he has a vision and serves God with a vision, as the Apostle Paul and the apostles also did (see Acts 26:19; 9:3-5, 10, 12, 15-16, 20, 22).
For our daily Christian life, church life, family life, work life, and normal human life we need to have the heavenly vision and do everything under this vision. In choosing a spouse we need to make sure we tell him/her about our vision and we are one in this vision.
The vision is the most important factor in our serving the Lord, and this vision will keep us in oneness with the Lord and with the saints. We need to become persons with a vision (see Acts 26:19; Gal. 1:15-16).
How do we Receive a Vision from God?
According to the principle set forth in Matt. 16:16-18, only God the Father can give us a vision – these don’t depend on our self, our desire to receive vision, or on our seeking. It pleased God to reveal His Son in Paul, and this became the vision that governed him (see Gal. 1:15-16).
We need to as the Lord to grant us a vision that will govern us in our Christian life and service. In His time and in His way, He will show us a vision of His economy.
Also, we need to bear in mind that not every believer receives a direct vision from God. The apostle Paul received a vision directly from God, but Timothy received a vision through Paul and through the word of God (see Acts 22:14; 2 Tim. 3:14-15).
In other words, if we are open to the Lord, He may not show us things directly but indirectly through other members of the Body. I have to admit that much of what I have seen, what I am writing on this blog, and what I am sharing in the church life is not received directly from God but came through laboring with much prayer on the word of God and in the ministry of the age, particularly from the ministry of brothers Witness Lee and Watchman Nee.
In Acts we see the same principle: mainly Paul and Peter received a vision directly from God, but the rest of the believers received the vision through the apostles and those who preached the gospel to them.
Today we don’t receive the vision directly but through the ones who went before us, through the word of God, and through the ministry; once we are established in what we have seen in the word and in the ministry, we may go on and see more. It is risky to try to see something by yourself without first being constituted with the vision you have already inherited from those who went before you.
When it comes to receiving the vision, we need to humble ourselves, open to the Lord, and let others who have seen more minister to us, and the Lord will speak to us, bring us into a heavenly vision, and grant us a vision of His economy. Also, we bear the responsibility to do certain practical things which relate to us and prepare us to receive a vision, such as,
- We need to turn our heart to the Lord and be pure in heart (2 Cor. 3:16; Matt. 5:8). Whenever our heart is turned to the Lord, the veil is taken away, and we can see the Lord clearly. If we are pure in heart, if we cooperate with the Lord for any sin or impurity to be removed under His light, we shall see God.
- We need to be willing to let go of worthless things (Jer. 15:19; 2 Tim. 2:21). We cannot advance in the vision if we still hold on to things that, admittedly, are precious to us and even from God, and yet these things are NOT GOD. Compared to God everything is worthless, and compared to the new light He shines on us everything else fades away. Do we care for our health, job, family, etc more than caring for the Triune God? In order for us to see the heavenly vision we need to let go of anything that is not God Himself.
- We need to wait on the Lord (Dan. 10:2-3; Isaiah 40:31). We may want to receive the vision RIGHT NOW, but God may not give us a blinding awesome vision when we want it. God chooses to keep us waiting on Him, and this reduces us, kills us, and prepares us to receive the vision. We may wait and expect the Lord to do something for us, but what He wants us to do is wait on Him. He is the center, and the heavenly vision is of Christ and the church (the increase of Christ).
- We need to be open to the Lord and be willing to obey Him (John 7:17). The Lord knows when we are open to Him. He knows how stubborn we are and how unwilling to receive something new and fresh from Him we can be. His vision as a shining light may be right on the horizon to break through in you, but a lot depends on the attitude of your heart.
The Lord will touch what occupies us and what is in us – many things of which we don’t even know. Are you open to the Lord? Are you willing to see the vision? Are you willing to obey the vision once you see it? We need to receive the mercy to tell the Lord,
Lord, I am willing to obey whatever You show me. Lord, make me willing to see the heavenly vision. I turn my heart to You. I leave all things behind. Lord, You are the most precious One. I am waiting on You. Show me a fresh vision of Your economy. Make me willing to let go of anything that hinders the seeing of the vision. Lord, make me willing to pay the price to see and enter into this vision. Make me a person with a vision, a believer who lives and serves You under the heavenly vision!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my Christian experience, bro. Ron Kangas’ sharing in the message for this week, and portions from, Our Vision – Christ and the Church (pp. 7-13), as quoted in, the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Heavenly Vision, week 1 / msg 1, The Governing and Controlling Vision—the Vision of God’s Economy (you can buy this morning revival book here).
- Recommended reading: see ch. 1 in, The Vision, Ministry, and Leading of the Lord’s Serving Ones (by Witness Lee).
- Hymns on this topic:
# Lord, I love You: / Lord, take my heart. / Lord, saturate me. / Fill every part with Your life divine. / Lord, I now surrender all to You. / Keep me turning to You every day. / Until I’m expressing only You always. / Until I’m expressing only You. (Song on Opening to the Lord)
# Lord Jesus, soften us; / You know the source from which we came. / By calling on Your name, / Lord, let no earth unturned nor rocks remain— / Lord Jesus, grow in us. (Song on Dealing with our Heart)
# When God wants to move, / He must gain an instrument; / Overcomers separated from the current age. / They have joined themselves / Through His word to His desire. / Overcomers constituted with the Holy Word. (Song on Being Joined to the Lord through His Word)
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