Paul was a man who had two visions, the latter one superseding and overruling the first one. His first was destructive and evil: “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest “ His whole intent was to destroy the Christian church, but God met him, and changed his viewpoint, until he could say: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” and as a result of that his aim or mission statement was: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” What a change, what a contrast, what a glorious vision to hold. Here is a quotation: “Paul said his goal was to know Christ, to be like Christ, and to be all Christ has in mind for him. This goal (objective) absorbed all his energy…”
Passionate vision puts the 100 octane into life. It never dies, but rises to the surface whenever submerged. It climbs the highest mountain, crosses the raging torrents, and breaks through walls of opposition. It cannot and will not be daunted. It inspires others by its force and vigour. It gives passion to life that results in an undying grip on the future to reshape and mould it for God. It does not throw up its hand and say, ‘Ah well, so that’s it,’ but refuses to accept the impossible, pushing ever onward devising new strategies to reach the goal.
In so many lives there is a scarcity of ardour that is characterised by a lack of zeal. Paul when persecuting the Christians was zealous, because he was a zealot. In Acts 9:1 we see that Paul was “breathing out threatening and slaughter” and the whole sense is one of intense fervour for maximum injury – that same passion was harnessed for God with equal eagerness.
It prevents drift in life, which is why the Hebrew writer says: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” Vision counteracts the currents in life, perceives the trends and takes action against the pull of the tide. It keeps its eyes on distant horizons, watches movements lest they find themselves drawn away from sight of the goal, and above all maintains an enthusiasm in the whole process of living.
In Daniel we read that he prayed three times a day towards Israel specifically against the king’s edict. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” That prophet was either foolish or passionate, perhaps both, but nothing would daunt his fervour for God and His kingdom. Mary, saved from sin, pushed past all opposition in the form of race, religion and riches to wipe the feet of Jesus and faced ostracism and male persecution because of her action, yet nothing could stop her, she had a passion for His worth, and poured out her soul in adoration.
Jesus’ command to his disciples was thus: “And he said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’”[Mark 16:15]. A mandate that has not dated or been rescinded; that all his people everywhere: in all lands, and in all circumstances, declare the kingdom message to all creatures. Even though they were commanded by the authorities of their day in the following language: “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” They still declared Him to all, with the obvious consequences. Let us take that command and bowing to the Lord’s express wish, take as our object not only to glorify Christ, which is the first one, but to grasp that challenge to preach the gospel to every creature in the days that lie ahead – let us not be deterred.
Radicalisation throughout the world has produced terror bombers and mindless killings, how much the love of Jesus produces lovers of life and compassion for the sinner, the sick and the suffering of his world. It builds not destroys, their vision is positive not negative, constructive not destructive.
1) Acts 9:12 NKJV
2) Philippians 3:10
3) Philippians 3:14
4) Life Application Bible 18:27
5) Hebrews 2:1
6) Daniel 6:10
7) Acts 4:18