The Value of a Vision

Bible Book: Proverbs  29 : 18
Subject: Vision; Purpose; Meaning in Life; God's Will


Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Ediitor,

Proverbs 29:18

If someone asked you today what the purpose of First Baptist Church, would you be able to tell them? I mean, could you give them specific, detailed information concerning that which God has shown us is His purpose for us in this particular church at this point in history? If someone, asked you that about your own life, could you articulate God's purpose in specific, detailed terms for your life? Do we have a vision of what God is seeking to make of us as individuals and of us as a congregation? Unless we do, we could face some serious problems. In fact, God says it could mean "death". Look with me at Proverbs 29:18.

The words "cast off restraint" are translated as "death" in the Authorized Version of the Bible. The word "perish" means death. It does not necessarily mean physical death, but it can mean "death" in the sense of uselessness. That is why it is translated differently in some versions of the Bible. There are many members of the church who are dead as far as their usefulness to God is concerned. They have cast off restraint. They do not submit to God's will and are not following God's directives for life. You don't necessarily have to be outside the fellowship of the church for this to be the case either. I heard about a church that had a worship service that was very dead. It was so dead that once a man suffered a heart attack and died right in the worship service. Someone rushed out and called 911. When the paramedics arrived they carried out 12 people before they got the one who was dead! That of course is a joke! But, it might just apply to some church members.

I want us to look at what causes a people to become useless to the cause of Christ, so useless that the Bible calls it "perishing" or "casting off restraint". The thing that creates this peril is for the people to be without a vision or revelation from God. This is a common problem for God's people and it is a dangerous one.

We might add by way of contrast, that a person or fellowship with God's vision has a great future and wonderful potential. The opposite of "perish" is "live". The opposite of "cast off restraint" is "walk with God and follow His directions for success". To have God's vision for your life and to follow Him it is to walk in the path of success, joy, energy, peace, power and abundant life. Only a person with a psychological problem would want to cast away success, joy, energy, peace, power and an abundant life. Perhaps the most ignored subject of the Bible is that of getting God's vision and striving to see it fulfilled. Note some very important points on this subject.


We must define what we mean by vision, since this has become a misused term in our day. The New Age Movement uses this term and by it they mean that you can imagine anything you want to imagine and by the power of your mind you can make it come true. You may have heard about the teenage boy who heard that you will become what you think about all day long. He said he knew that was not true, for if it was true he would have turned into a girl a long time ago.

To understand what God means by the term "revelation" or "vision" we must know what it does not mean. It does not mean just using the human imagination to conjure up things you would like for God to have in your future. Neither does it mean to experience some weird, strange apparition. It is not like a child seeing shadows or ghosts on the wall in the night. In fact, the translators of the New International Version actually used the word "revelation" instead of the word "vision". Perhaps they thought the word "vision" would be misunderstood in our day. I personally think the word "vision" should be retained! It speaks far more clearly concerning that which God intended in this passage.

Just what does the word "vision" mean? A vision from God is a word from God for a purpose, time, place, or people. It means that God shows someone His will. Every believer has had a "vision" from God. Let me explain. When you were saved you not only heard the Word and acted upon it, in your heart you could "see" what the preacher or witness was saying to you. Your mind conceived the truth of the words being spoken. That is why John Newton penned,

"Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I SEE!"

He did not just hear, he SAW. Have you ever tried to learn something new and you just couldn’t grasp it? Suddenly a window of knowledge opened to you. You exclaimed, "Oh, now I SEE." That is a revelation of educational knowledge. In the same way, God has a knowledge that He can and will make available to His servants and the process by which He does that is called a spiritual revelation or VISION.

Every minister called to preach the gospel has had a vision. It is not something he saw with his eyes or simply heard with his ears. It is clearer than that and louder than that! He comes to see what God meant for him to do with his life. He SEES it in his soul! Just as God calls a pastor to preach the Word of God, He also calls him to pastor a particular church at a certain time in history. Furthermore, He gives that pastor a vision of where that church should go and what that church should be doing. If a pastor does not have such a vision, he does not know where the church should go or what it should do!. This will lead to a church perishing. Such a church will die to the full purpose and mission of God.

Now follow me very closely at this point. God also has a vision, an image if you please, of all that He wants you to be individually. Not to know what your role in the kingdom work at this time in history is to be sure to fail to fulfill God's purpose for your life! You are not just called to be saved, you are called to serve. What service are you to render? You need to know that which God desires of you as an individual! "Where there is no vision, the people perish".

So here is a definition of VISION: A divine revelation of God's purpose and plan which the receiver can visualize and accomplish by taking intermediate steps to follow God to fulfillment.

Note, it is a divine revelation. It may come from reading the Scripture, hearing a sermon, praying or from sitting down to use certain criteria to help you discover God's revelation for your life. It may be for you as an individual or it could be for an organization which God has called you to lead. He has a will and purpose for both. It may be progressive, with God revealing part of His purpose and then enlarging it and giving specifics as you follow Him faithfully.


Note: God's vision for your life or that of your church will never contradict or deviate from the light God has already given in the Scripture. Anything God ever tells you to do will square fully with what His Word teaches.


What exactly does a vision do for a Christian? Since God has told us that to fail to have a vision means that the people will perish, it must work in a very dynamic way. Indeed it does.

A. Motives

A God-given vision maintains correct MOTIVES. We will do the right thing for the right reason when we are driven by a God-given vision. Look at Paul - Once the people wanted to worship him but in no way would he allow that. He motives remain pure and true because he maintained the vision which God had given him.

B. Motivation

A God-given vision maintains a compelling MOTIVATION. We don’t ever want to give up, not matter how difficult the way may become, when we are driven by a God-given vision.

Why did Paul not give up when he was treated so badly? He was fulfilling God's vision and image for his life and it drove him to go on till God had completed that mission.

Even Jesus was motivated in this way. Look at Hebrews 12:1-3! He saw the joy set before Him and endured the cross.

C. Mental Attitude

A God-given vision maintains a positive MENTAL ATTITUDE. Look at the spies that went into Egypt! Ten of them saw the giants in the land and could not see God giving it to them. The other two, Joshua and Caleb, saw the giants but saw one greater than the giants. Look at Numbers 13:8, "He will lead us into the land...and give it to us."

Listen to Paul when he says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." What confidence. This is not self-confidence, this is God-confidence. He saw that God had a purpose for him and thus kept a positive, dedicated mental attitude.

D. Mastery

A God-given vision maintains a sure Mastery. When propelled by a God-given vision we grow more in ability and stability in God's work.

Look at Nehemiah as an example. See Nehemiah 2:11-12; 2:17 and 6:15-16. The enemies of Nehemiah lost their self-confidence because Nehemiah did not lose the vision God had given him. He became victorious because his mental attitude was divine and was thus spiriually sound.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one retaining a sound mind! We become victorious when the divine vision compels us. In essence, when we serve God through His vision for our lives, we are not working for the Lord, we are following the Lord and have access to His power. We have a mastery over the situations at hand when we are following God's vision!

The people saw the wall around Jericho and said, "No, we can't". Joshua had God's revelation, God's vision, and he said, "Yes, GOD can."

The people looked at Goliath and said, "No we can't, because Goliath is too big." David had God's vision and said, "Yes God can, because Goliath is too big to miss!"

Ten spies saw the giants in Canaan and said, "No, we can't." Moses, Joshua, and Caleb said, "Yes, GOD can."

The way to have mastery over the enemy is to know you have God's vision, God's Word, on a matter. Once God speaks on it, it is settled!


We must desire a vision. To fail to have God's vision is sure death. "Where there is no vision, the people perish!" Look at Lamentations 2:9:

“Her gates have sunk into the ground;
He has destroyed and broken her bars.
Her king and her princes are among the nations;
The Law is no more,
And her prophets find no vision from the Lord.”

 Contrast that with Ephesians 3:8-12:

“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”

Wow! God is ready to open the mysteries of the kingdom to those who are ready to go where He sends, do what He commands, and be what He has determined.

Without God’s vision, wisdom, directions, and Word, we perish. Perish? Yes, we can be lost, as though dead to the purposes of God. Even a saved person can be dead to the full intent of God’s purpose in this life. A church can be dead to the real goals and purposes which God has determined for it.

It can be so in our church – unless we seek God’s direction. It can be so in our marriages – unless we seek God’s wisdom. It can be so in our lives – unless we seek God’s will. Oh, let us desire a vision from the Lord! Let us desire that God would reveal His purposes in our lives and in our fellowship! God has great things planned for us. We will never accomplish them unless we can "see" what He wants and then follow after it.

Paul came to the end of his life saying, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, and not for me only but for all those who love his appearing." Paul could not know that he had finished the course, unless he knew what the course was, where it started and where it was to end. That is our need - to follow God's course - God's viions for our lives. If we do not seek His will and direction, we will be destroyed for a lack of knowledge, as stated in Hosea 4:6.


There was a church some years ago that had Proverbs 29:18 as its motto. As time passed, the church became lethargic and lazy. Sadly, the sign out front with the motto upon had grown old and had not been updated in a number of years. The members failed to notice that the “W” had dropped off one of the words, thus the motto read, “here there is the no vision, the people perish.”

Let that never be said of you as a Christian or of us as a church. We can make a new commitment to the Lord today – a commitment to follow His vision.

Every person in this place today who is saved has had vision from God. Somewhere and at some point you heard the story of Jesus and the way to salvation. Just then, you had a vision of your need – of your sins – of Christ as Lord. Obeying the vision, you came by faith to trust Him and you were saved. That one vision changed your life and your eternity. Just as Christ calls us to be saved, He calls us to keep moving toward His complete will for our lives.