OF THE ELDERS
THE SCHOOL OF
I. THE VISION - Introduction
by Israel C.S.Lim
"And Yahweh answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it]
plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." (Habakkuk 2:2)
Why must we have a vision?
Where [there is] no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18, KJV)
"Perish" as translated in other versions:
a) Unrestrained - New American Standard
b) Run wild - Living Bible
c) Cast off restraints - New King James
The implication is clear. We may therefore amplify it as where there is
no vision, the people become unrestrained, run wild, and perish.
It is therefore very important that a ministry must have a vision and
make the vision clear to the people who should then seek God for their
part in it.
The leader or leaders concerned must receive from God His specific
purpose and plan for the ministry. Throughout the Bible, it is the
pattern of God that He speaks to the leadership who then transmits it to
the people. This is an important concept. There is no scriptural record
that it has been the other way round. A vision is to be shared. After
the vision is transmitted to the people through the leader, the people
must set out to fulfill what God has spoken.
We find many examples from the Bible:
God told Moses to build the tabernacle according to the pattern shown to
him and the people brought it to fulfilment by doing it under his
David received the pattern for building the temple. He communicated it
to the Solomon for the work to be done (I Chr 28 & 29).
Joshua received the plan on how to cross river Jordan and the way to
conquer the promised land. He called his people together, transmitted
the plan to them and did the work together.
This is a clear biblical pattern. It is not that God cannot review His
plan to other members, in which case such become the channel of His
voice (eg the prophetic ministry), but the plan will have to be first
presented to the God's leadership who carries the responsibility have to
discern its validity before any execution.
Procedure 1 - GET A VISION
We will have to seek God for a vision until we receive it. We do not try
to visualize one ourselves. We may by the inspiration or guidance of the
Holy Spirit and also using our God given wisdom project or extend on a
vision, revelation, word, conviction, etc. However, a vision must first
originate from God and not from ourselves or it will surely fail. God
will not fit a man originated plan into eternity.
Remember, we don't originate or visualize a vision, we perceive and
receive a vision that originates from and given by God.
God will continue to speak, to confirm and build on the vision that He
has given. God will not annul it or change it into sometime else. He
will add, and expand on it from time to time as we remain faithful and
Every time when Abraham obeyed God, He will speak to bless him further
to enlarge him to increase in His promises.
If we seek Him with all our heart we will find Him and we will know the
plan He has for us. (Jer 29:11-13)
It is not necessary that every vision must birth a brand new independent
ministry. It can be a vision within another wider vision of an existing
Procedure 2 - WRITE IT DOWN AND RUN WITH IT
"And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it]
plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
1) We will have to write it down, that is to declare it on paper. We
have to make it plain, on black and white. The purpose is to declare it
and to confirm it in writing. It is a way of giving substance to the
things hope for. It is a way of committing and binding ourselves to it.
Unless we do it, it remains as something of a dream, an idea or a
fantasy that can be changed.
2) Another reason to declare it is that the people may read it. The
vision is now communicated, shared, imparted. The people may then
understand it and consider to make a decision that may require
sacrifices in effort, time and money.
3) Let everybody run, but everybody will have to choose, whether to run
into the direction of the declared vision or away from the vision. After
you make it plain on paper, never force or convince anybody who wants to
run away to stay in the vision. Let them go. They will end up hurting
others or the vision if they stay. They will talk against the move, drag
their feet, hinder the progress and influence others and create
rebellion. After you have make it clear, some will stay and some will
go. It will likely be. That is another purpose of making it plain on
4) After reading it, the people may run. The committed people will then
go into action - to run, not to sit and laze around, but to move into
it. After they will grasp what the vision is on paper, they can then
plan, run in the same direction, to the same goal, in the same unity and
for the same purpose.
Procedure 3 - HAVE FAITH AND PERSEVERE IN IT
"For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall
speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely
come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:3)
THE WAY VISION IS FULFILLED
1) It is yet - God speaks to us to declare what He is going to do and to
prepare us to co-operate with Him, and not to run ahead of Him. It will
not be fulfilled immediately but in the future. In the meantime there is
a lot of praying, planning and preparation to do before the birth of it.
2) for an appointed time - It will happen only at the time appointed by
Him, not at our time. We are not to hurry Him or to delay Him but
prepare ourselves, to work faithfully and patiently towards the goal. He
is telling us that we have to have faith and to persevere in it. In the
mean time, sow in righteousness until the right time come when the Lord
will bring the rain.
3) at the end - When the right time come. The appointed time will come,
and will surely come. Rejoice, it will surely come.
4) it will speak - The vision when manifested will be attacked, and
those that run after the vision will be attacked by the devil, the
world, the carnal Christians and the ignorant Christians. Nevertheless,
it will prove to be true. It will speak for itself. People will then
know we had obeyed God. We may explain the vision to those need to hear,
but we need not justify ourselves or fight for Him.
5) and will not lie: though it tarry, wait for it - God is not man that
He should lie. He will not lie, He will surely fulfil it. He is telling
us to pay the price, to persevere right to the end, to see the vision
manifested and completed. Though it may take sometime, wait for it.
After having done all, stand. (Eph 6:13)
6) because it will surely come, it will not tarry - It will surely come
to pass. God knows our heart. Though it may be hard at times, and may
appear be much longer and tougher that what we expect (which is the case
most of the time), it will surely come. Here, He is encouraging us,
telling us that it will not be unnecessarily delayed. He will bring it
to pass. What is righteous will ultimately be proven to be true.
Procedure 4 - BE HUMBLE & LIVE BY FAITH
Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the
just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)
This may seems to be rather disjointed from the previous verse. But it
is not. It will make manifest the truth and the untruth. Time is going
to be very trying for those carrying the vision - before, and during the
process of the fulfilment of the vision. The mission can be very tough,
and God gives us 2 very important keys to carry us through:
1) Be humble and lowly. The one who carries the vision will manifest the
fruit of the Spirit if the vision is originated from God, while those
that do not carry the vision will attack arrogantly. Joseph after
receiving his visions, was very severely attacked by his own brothers,
also partly due to his own imperfection. Therefore the carrier of the
vision is also sanctified in the process. One truly occupied with a
vision will have no time or heart to retaliate in the flesh. There will
be so much to do, and there will be no time or heart to attack others.
Those without visions are unoccupied, restless, aimless and without
restraints, and therefore to become victimized by the evil one to attack
those with a divine mission. Therefore be humble and lowly for the Lord
to bring you through in due time.
2) Live by faith in the vision that God has given you. Works towards it.
Don't be side tracked by persecution or temptations. Consider Joseph
again. It was the vision that kept him through all the trying situations
until the vision came to pass in his life.
Faith is the humility to recognize the reality of the present lowly
state, at the same time having the courage to project and to run towards
the vision with the full trust in God to reach it.
Rev Israel C.S. Lim, MA(Th), D.Min
Pray and draft out a vision list in point form of:
your present ministry
God's calling in your life,
what you hope to see taking place in the Church of Jesus Christ or in
the local church that you are involved in.
Summarize it into a few points totalling no more than 30 words and
This page was created on 15 November 1997
Updated on 23 February 1998
This article is made available freely to the public on the condition that it is not altered in any way. Posting of it does not imply endorsement of the poster by the Author, Dr. Israel C. S. Lim.