1385. Casting Off Restraint

Why Vision Casting must be must be based on God’s vision

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

CASTING OFF RESTRAINT

Last week we looked at revelation as the best way to determine truth. Today we will apply this principle to our ministries and our churches. Whenever we must make a major decision, we need to know the truth about our situation. To do this, the truth must be revealed to us. We desperately need a word from God. After all, His plans are not our plans, and His ways are not our ways. We should have learned that God is always planning His work (the ways of God) and working His plan (see John 5:17-19). He knows what He is about to do and how He intends on doing it. He doesn’t need our help or suggestions. He wants us to join Him in what He is already doing.

We can interfere with His plans when we get caught up in our own visions for our future. If we have received a revelation from God regarding the future He has planned for our ministry or church, vision casting can be a good thing. It gives us a clear goal, which can get people excited. If, however, the vision is ours, we can be certain that God will not be in it. It doesn’t matter how great the idea seems. If it’s not God’s idea, the results will be limited to the best man can do.

AS I SEE IT

It doesn’t matter how much sense our plans make to us or to those to whom we have explained them. It’s not about what makes sense. Marching around Jericho seven times made no sense but look what happened (see Joshua 6). Nor does it matter that we can point to a need that we will be meeting. A need doesn’t constitute a call, and to go where we are not called is a futile endeavor. Since God’s plans always succeed, why would we trust our own? After all,

Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the
way he should choose (Ps. 25:12).

To choose our plans above God’s demonstrates that we really don’t fear God. The Bible says that when people prefer their own vision to God’s revelation, they “cast off restraint.” Yet, those who have convinced themselves that God will bless their plans usually feel certain that they are in the center of God’s will.

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction (Proverbs 29:18).

God is not impressed with our grandiose plans or all the work we do for Him. Unless God works through us, it will amount to nothing. Paul compared his greatest achievements (on his own) to rubbish. We must be willing to set aside our own agendas, dreams, and visions, regardless of how wonderful they seem.

Receiving a revelation from God doesn’t mean that God must speak audibly to us or give us a mystical vision. God speaks through the Holy Spirit in a multitude of ways—through the church, through our circumstances, through prayer, or through the Bible. He wants us to know what He’s about to do. Our job is to listen for His voice. The best confirmation that we have heard from God is that He has spoken to other members of our church or ministry as He has spoken to us. If a pastor has to convince his church to get on board with a vision he has, most likely God has not spoken.

Let’s be careful not to confuse a personal vision with a revelation from God. The stakes are too high.

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