Habakkuk 2:3 – For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
Last week I shared a story that is all too real to myself and well-known by those who love me. It was the transformation into the person you see today. The person who is less angry and more filled with passion than ever before.
But to move from anger into passion requires the ability to lead yourself.
I’ve led people all my life. I’ve managed up to 110 restaurants at a time across 26 states. I’ve designed and built well over 100 restaurants or retail establishments in my 47 years of life. I started, and subsequently sold, a company. I’ve led several ministries in church, taking them to the point of handing them off to the professionals.
God birthed in me a leader.
I don’t say that to brag. I say that with all humility because I know the judgment on leaders is harsher than on those who don’t lead. I also know that not everyone whom I lead wants to be led. Sometimes that includes family, friends, co-workers, and those with which I am in ministry.
The key to leadership is to hear all of those voices of dissention, but focus on the one singular voice that causes the wind to stop, the water to part, and heavens to shake and the sun to stop. If God is attempting to convict a leader to change direction, then it will come from God and there will be much more than a singular voice or two of dissension.
But the leading I want to talk about this week is about leading myself.
We can lead all the ministries, organizations, or businesses in the world, but if a leader doesn’t know how to lead himself then he won’t be leader for long.
The Christian journey is a personal one. We are never called to lead large churches, non-profits, ministries, businesses, or the like. We are called to lead a life that changes because of God’s impact in it.
Proverbs 29:18 – Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
When a life begins to be led, it always starts by following a vision from the leader.
In ministry and business circles we call it “vision-casting.”
The leader casts a vision that he has had and the congregation or the business all surround that leader’s vision and make it happen.
After my anger melted away and turned to passion, God was given a black box theatre to cast his vision in my life.
And cast He did.
As I emerged from my transformation, God showed me a vision of what my life should look like for Him. It included working in ministry at my home church, going to seminary and getting my Master’s degree, and leading a future family as well as my biological one.
That was a HUGE vision!
People can, and will, say, “But Fred, those seem tiny. People get remarried all the time. What makes yours a vision from God? People lead a ministry all the time, what makes YOU so different? And people go back to school all the time, that doesn’t mean you are living out a vision.”
When looked at in light of the world, those items seem pretty small. And there are even many days that I feel like I have strayed from what I believe God’s vision should have been rather than staying in the vision He cast for me.
But coming out of divorce and a carnal, anger-filled lifestyle, the transformation in a single person is nothing short of miraculous.
Yes, many people come out of divorce and get remarried. But the majority find that their hearts are so hard that the divorce rate among second marriages is not any better than first. God had to transform my heart, head and soul before I was ready to remarry so that I was sure to treat the wife He provided for me the way a princess and daughter of the King deserves to be treated.
And, yes, many people go back to school. But that education is used to get better paying jobs with amazing perks and quality of life. Admittedly, when I went to seminary I had dreams of pastoring a megachurch that was doing amazing things across the globe. And, who knows, maybe that will happen yet. There don’t seem to be any churches out there willing to hire a divorced, 47 year old who recently graduated seminary. And therein lies an issue that I still hold onto. Bitterness. I still feel bitter because of the lack of moving into vocational ministry. I still have a lot of refining to do. But that degree has been put to good use. God has used it to lead others to Christ. Even more so, God has used it to deepen my love for Him as I am able to trace the history that God has used to bring about His glory. I need to move past myself and lose the bitterness and stay in God’s vision.
So, while the visions seem small, the impact is huge.
What was the Father’s vision for Jesus?
Pour your life into 12 men so that they will go on to turn the world upside down.
Yes, the death and resurrection of Christ is the pivotal moment of Christianity and I never want to belittle it, but ultimately, it was the work that Jesus did with those 12 men that transformed all of humanity. It transformed those who follow God into overtly evangelical.
It was that vision that led to action.
James 1:23-25 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
And the vision that God gave me, as my anger transformed to passion, was turned into action.
Because of it, my life is done only in light of the risen Christ.
Because of His vision for my life, I am able to pour into family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors with a love that can only come through knowing Christ.
Are you at a point that lacks vision in your life? Are you angry and without passion?
Then it is time to reach out to Christ.
If you don’t know how to take that first step, leave a comment here with a way to contact you. I will be happy to reach out to you either by email or phone.
It is time to be filled with a passion for the one, true Life and the vision to see it come to life in you.