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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Principles and Vision

Proverbs 29:13, 25-26 and John 6:51 (NASB) 

13. “The poor man and the oppressor have this in common : The LORD gives light to the eyes of both.”

25. “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.”

26. “Many seek the ruler's favor, but justice for man comes from the LORD.” 

John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven ; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever ; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." 

The rulers from whom we seek guidance and justice may no longer follow God. They know who God is, maybe. As God shows us throughout His Word, men in power may begin on the path with God, but often they lose that vision and fall back on principles. Principles, by themselves, are not evil, but when they lead us to do things that are not God’s vision for us right now, then they are wrong for us to follow.   

God’s vision could pertain just to our self. We may no longer allow God to give us His vision and lead us. What we allow to lead us will determine our success and end. This does not mean principles are terrible; they are insights into our morals. It does mean principles without the vision from God, or God’s guidance, are just that, principles, thoughts by which to live. Principles are not actions for God, nor are they necessarily led by God. Principles can come from God, or self-discovery, or life, or Satan. We must be careful to follow the principles from God. The only way to know if principles for the task are from God is always to follow the vision of God. God’s vision for us will lead us to follow Him, to do His work. Our idea of God and who He is may appear to justify our neglect of duty. We might not think God wants to forgive them, for example: when people marry outside their faith and we find no impetus to tell them of the righteous God. This creates a barrier between our principles and God’s vision. God’s ultimate vision is for everyone to be saved. Who are we to judge whom God wants to save or not?  

To get beyond even this, we need to consider if we are ready to act upon the vision God gave us. Have we allowed God to make us into vessels in which we carry His love and mercy to others? Have we gone beyond the need for milk and now live on the meat of the Word? Christ calls us to follow Him. Who was He to us? He said, “"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51, NASB). He commissioned us to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. Now, what does that mean? Since Christ told us He was bread broken for us, we must become broken bread in sharing the Gospel with other people. Notice I did not say you must have principles, but you must do something, become bread and share the Gospel. This is the vision God gives each of us. He will give to each of us a personal vision of His plan for our lives, too.    

Step back, though. How do we become broken bread? Do we take the kernel of corn and bake it? No, that provides no nutrition; it provides only a hot kernel. To make bread, the corn must be ground, mixed, kneaded, rolled, and baked. Many events must occur before the corn can become bread and give nutrition. This is the same for believers. Before we can be broken bread, as Jesus was, we must go through difficult times for useful service to others. There will be hard times of grinding and smoothing the corn. Next, God's Spirit mixes in us with His grace to provide nutrients for others and ourselves. God then bakes us so we become more than we were by ourselves and so we no longer resemble the person  we were. We become the best we can be, a disciple of God to be shared and broken for Him to others. Until we have God’s vision, our principles will not hold us strong to God’s process. We will tell ourselves we can get to a “good” point in our growth without going through the painful course of growth and without giving control of our lives to God. If we are to nourish others and be a profit for them and for God’s use, though, we must allow ourselves to be this kernel of corn in God’s hands.  

We must decide if we are going to live by our principles or by the vision God has for our lives. We must decide who will be our master, God or ourselves. If we do not choose God, our principles will begin to become excuses for us not to do things we know God wants us do. Our prayer life will begin to falter. Our focus on God will begin to blur. We will become reckless with our lives and the lives of others. We will stop having God’s vision for our lives even in the small things. Finally, we will turn our backs completely on God. We will have lost the vision. Now is the time we must decide to act upon the vision God has put within us. Action is the requirement; we must act with God and allow Him to give us His vision and purpose and allow Him to make us the bread He needs to feed others the truth of the Gospel. “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (James 2:26). The ruler with whom we must seek an audience for justice is God (see Proverbs 29:26).