January is a time for looking ahead. It is a season of setting goals, of determining or fine-tuning our vision for the year.
But, without light, there can be no vision.
That is as true and incontravertable a fact in daily life as it is in the sensory world. Apart from God’s Light, His revealed will and plan for us, we are merely feeling our way through the darkness. Or worse…
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18 (KJV).
The good news? God has a plan. He has a specific vision for each of us, and it’s a good one! He also wants to show it to us. (Jeremiah. 29:11-13 NIV).
So, how do we discover God’s vision for us?
We can learn much from studying natural vision and the functions of what biologists call the visual system.
How the visual system works:
Vision happens when light bounces off an object then enters the eye. “So it is not actually the object you see, but the light that reflects off it.” (From: How the Eye Functions | eHow.com)
When the eyes are open, light enters through the pupil. It then travels through the lens, which focuses the light and makes things look sharper and clearer. This bending of light also flips the image on its head. The light then strikes the retina, where the image is transformed into electrical signals. These impulses travel via the optic nerve to the brain for interpretation. The nervous system then determines the body’s reaction to what is seen.
What the visual system does: In the natural sense (and in the spiritual arena)
1. It receives light. (When the eyes of our hearts are opened to Jesus, we receive God’s revealing Light through study of the Bible and through prayer.)
2. It interprets information from visible light to build a representation of the surrounding world. (The Holy Spirit reveals the meaning of Scripture and shows us the truth behind the circumstances surrounding us.)
3. It builds a 3D perception of the environment from those two-dimensional representations. (When we seek His vision for us, God’s Light changes our perceptions of circumstances and even how we view the actions of others. He also reveals deeper insights into truths we’ve known for years but never saw a certain way. Sometimes, He turns our perceptions upside down to give us sharper focus and clearer understanding, as the lens does with the images we see.)
4. It identifies and categorizes what is seen. (God’s Light identifies those things within us which may hinder the fulfillment of the vision. It also calls things what they really are according to God’s Word: obstacles which may actually be the devil’s attempts to thwart the vision, lies we’ve been told or tricked into believing about ourselves, circumstances which are not unsurmountable as they seem, and who we truly are in Christ.)
4. It assesses distance to and between visible objects. (God’s Light clarifies how far we have left to go in reaching the goal of His vision and shows us how to progress through the smaller goals along the way.)
5. It guides body movement in relation to visible objects. (God’s Light guides us to the best path . If we listen closely, the Holy Spirit nudges us in subtle ways, directing our responses to obstacles and opportunities along that path.)
If any component of the visual system is underdeveloped or damaged, vision will be limited, distorted, or nonexistent. A person’s interaction with the environment will also be altered. This remains true no matter how competent a person becomes in compensating for the lack of visual clarity.
I was blessed with two of the greatest teachers in the area of visual compensation, Geri Sexton and my mother, Ann. They taught me that, in any situation, there is always a way to adapt and achieve my goal. However, the way I must go about accomplishing that goal is still different from the wholly visual methods others enjoy.
The same is true in the spiritual arena. Without clear vision from God, we may still accomplish part of His plan or reach our desires. But, the method of that accomplishment will be much harder, take longer, and have the potential to wear us out before we complete it.
What are your tips for discovering God’s vision?
Please share you thoughts and come back tomorrow to read one pastor’s answer to that question.
For Further Reading on Natural Vision: