Restoring our vision to align with the vision of the Father.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).”
In most instances when I hear this verse being quoted, those quoting most often only quote the beginning of the verse. What Solomon and those quoting this verse are conveying is the need to have vision in walking through this life. We should express forethought in our lives as to how we are directing the choices we make in the present in order to positively affect the future. Our lives should be a process of continual growth and learning. If we stop growing, if we stop learning, we stagnate in the blindness of comfort. The blindness of comfort being the complacency of allowing the present condition to govern our very being. Too often we settle and accept our circumstances out of comfort. Our tendency toward complacency lulls us to reject actively fulfilling the call of God to those who place their faith in Him.
I do believe we need to have diligent vision directing our lives. We should look at life through spiritual lenses knowing that this life is temporary; it is a shell of a greater reality awaiting us in the promises of God. Our vision should be directing us to make choices that help us come into alignment with this greater reality. Rather than having vision to cope with and make adjustment to meet the challenges we see on the horizon, we often just blankly stare ahead and await the coming of those challenges. The vision that Solomon speaks of is the vision to know what is on the horizon and adjust our lives to overcome the difficulties that we face.
Not only should our vision be looking ahead, our vision should also peer into the past. Our vision should expose us to the foundation of our beliefs. This vision cannot be limited to the traditions of our own doctrinal understanding, but our focus should be seeking the standard of Biblical truth. We should seek to pierce the veil of the cultural traditions that cloud the historical and spiritual heritage of our faith.
To then complete the thought that Solomon put forth in Proverbs 29, those who have vision should find rest on the foundation set forth by the Most High God. It is essential that there is also an anchor to ground our vision. Without this anchor, vision becomes relative to the individual. In this vision there can be no common ground as we all are like sheep who “have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:6 KJV).” Sheep without a shepherd are lost because there is no one to guide their vision. They will be distracted by every blade of grass further down the field that flickers in the light of curiosity. Solomon warns that vision must have a standard from which to find structure.
Our faith as Believers in Messiah should be driven by vision but at the same time, our faith should be anchored to our heritage. The heritage of the church is not the Roman political construct developed early on as a means to quell the people to submission to the state. Our heritage is in the heritage of God. The heritage of the people of God whom He brought out of slavery in order to establish an everlasting covenant. Our heritage is Hebraic. Our heritage is in the Hebraic account of God’s people as written in the Holy Scriptures. Our Heritage is God’s Word starting at “In the beginning,” Our truth must be derived from this council. Our vision must originate and be guided by this understanding and recognition.
If we simply take a quick survey of the landscape of the church in our day, we see division and confusion. There are countless divisions within the faith. Even within specific individual denominations there are divisions of doctrine and tradition. There is confusion in how we aree to appropriately interpret the Word of God. Do we take the Word literally, seriously, as a suggestion, as a moral allegory, or maybe even just as a story. In this state of confusion, our vision has no foundation. Without a foundation, the whims of the sin nature are able to run rampant on the desires of men. Sin then sets us free in our captivity to be bound to directionless, fruitless vision.
Paul writes of the difference between the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. He gives a clear distinction between the two as a means of discernment. Paul addresses this topic in order to give substance to our vision. Paul writes:
“But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law (Galatians 5:15-23 NASB).”
We can easily see that many in the church have not chosen to be led by the Spirit. This has caused the church to suffer many divisions and to stand upon a weak and ever shifting foundation, as we can see today manifested in the unprecedented tolerance of sin. Our vision truly is bound to the slavery of our sin nature.
Paul writes of two types of fruit. He first describes the fruit of the flesh. Paul describes this fruit as producing, what I think we can all agree, as being negative, harmful, angry results of division. This fruit divides, causes jealousy and impurity to rise, which undoubtedly leads to a lascivious lifestyle. The fruit of the flesh will always seek to please itself by causing its rot to permeate the whole being. Feelings of negativity fester and thrive within those driven by the spirit of the flesh.
Paul exhorts those who have faith to be aware of the fruit that they are producing. We are to consider the fruit that comes out of the choices that we make. If we are producing anger, discord and jealousy, we are acting in ways that are according to our sinful nature. If left unchecked, sin will permeate the whole person. Sin will consume the person like a cancer causing the infected individual to become increasingly preoccupied by that which the sin produces. We close in to ourselves and our vision is limited only to the things that will feed the ravenous sin dominating our lives.
As Believers, we are to be aware of our fruit. Our behaviors should be aligned with producing the Fruit of the Spirit. The choices we make, the words we use and the behavior we exhibit to others should contribute to the production of God’s Spiritual fruit. This fruit builds relationships. This fruit strengthens the faith of both the individual and those whom they come into contact with, and ultimately, this fruit draws us closer to God. Our character comes into agreement with the character of God that dwells within our hearts. The Spirit of God will be given opportunity to manifest outwardly as a witness.
I ask, where do we find the fruit that is produced on a tree?
The fruit is on the outside, hanging from the branches full and vibrance. This fruit finds nourishment from the root. In turn, heathy fruit gives nourishment to those in need. Healthy fruit contributes to the lives of those within the environment. Healthy trees drink from the source of water in its environment. The water must be living and alive. The root system of the tree must be firmly planted on the foundation of soil. The tree must work to draw the water up, through the foundation, this effort produces the abundance we see as fruit.
We, as those of faith in God Most High, should be like this tree. We need to be firmly planted in the foundation of our faith. We need to rely on the Word of God to direct our thought and actions. When we fail, we need to go to God to seek forgiveness, for this will produce a healthy root system by which we are able to drink from the Living Water. We, as Believers, must put in the effort to draw the Water up from the foundation and distribute it throughout the rest of our body. We need to allow the Water to refresh us and redeem us unto our Heavenly Father. This Water brings life and restores us to a right relationship with The One who created all that is seen and unseen. Without this redeemed relationship, we are bound to the sin nature and destined to produce rotten fruit.
Be Diligent! Be determined, my brothers and sisters, to draw from the Living Water. Allow the Source of Truth to enable you to produce good fruit. Inspect the fruit that you produce and compare it to what Paul describes as the Fruit of the Spirit. If this fruit is healthy, allow it to nourish others. If you encounter bad fruit, seek to discover the source of the contamination in your life. Prune the negative influence so that the sin will not taint the rest of the crop. Use your good fruit to bless others. Be an encouragement and seek to build the faith in those with whom you come into contact. Allow your life to be a source of nourishment, a source of good fruit.
In summary, the lesson is to have vision grounded in the Word. To produce fruit that is of the Spirit which will bring harmony and peace. Our vision should be in alignment with God’s vision. His vision is for His children to be a community of servants seeking to plant His grace within the fields of the hearts of mankind.
The Words of Jesus: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33 NASB).”
My friends, seek to be known as a good tree.
This Blog Post is Courtesy of Philia Contributor Corby Shuey Becoming Bereans Ministries https://www.becomingbereans.com
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