My mentor, the late Jamie Buckingham, had a sign in a large frame above his desk. It read: "Attempt something so big that unless God intervenes it is bound to fail." Jamie lived that kind of life.
In the late 1970s, he challenged me to live the same way by asking me a simple question: "What would you attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?"
In his book Where Eagles Soar, Jamie encouraged all believers to develop this type of vision. He wrote: "Most of us dream dreams; however, [we] then put them aside as impossible. Yet God never puts a desire in our heart, or beckons us to walk on water, unless He intends for us to step out on faith and at least make the attempt. Whether we achieve or not is almost immaterial; the passing of the test lies in whether we try, in whether we're willing to be obedient to the inner call to greatness."
Having a vision is crucial. We should all ask God to give us a vision that will transform our lives and motivate us to attempt something so big that unless He intervenes it is bound to fail.
Here are some things I learned from Jamie about vision:
When you have a clear vision, you can risk your life for it.
People who run to win are willing to pay the price.
The reason most people quit growing is that they are not willing to pay the price.
Faith equals risk. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
God has big plans for you. Don't take what God meant for you and ruin it with mediocre living. What are you willing to give up to get what you want?
After we have had God birth a vision in our spirits and have determined that, at all costs, we will implement His vision in our lives, we must decide how we are going to do it. Setting goals helps.
The closest most people get to goal-setting is making a list of New Year's resolutions. But goals are so much more. They are dreams--with a deadline.
Setting a goal is like focusing sunlight with a magnifying glass. When your life energy is shining on a pinpoint, you can start a fire. Writing down spiritual, family, professional, self-improvement or fitness goals often will set in motion the habits necessary to achieve them. The mind moves in the direction of its dominant thoughts, and what you measure and monitor improves.
Your goals should not be self-focused or small. Setting a goal to spend time with your children every day or buy a bigger family home is worthwhile but not far-reaching enough for someone who desires to make a difference for the kingdom of God.
Myles Munroe believes that God wants all of us to become people who have plans, or what he calls "documented imaginations." If we can document an imagination, we've developed a plan for action.
How should you start?
Begin with general goals.
Break your general goals down into specific daily tasks.
Set some life goals.
Establish a mission statement.
Patrick Morley, author of The Man in the Mirror, recommends writing a personal mission statement that includes four elements: (1) A life purpose: why you exist; (2) A calling: what you do; (3) A vision or mental picture of what you want to happen; and (4) A mission: how you will go about it.
"A vision is a goal--a big one. Visions are not the work of today or tomorrow or even next month," Morley says. "Rather, a vision has a longer term."
What God-inspired goals do you have for your life? What is it you would do if there were no boundaries on your imagination or budget?
If you haven't had big goals and dreams before now, I pray you will begin to set them and give them deadlines. The first of the year is a good time to make your list.
Keep in mind that when you stand before the Lord He will hold you accountable for the talents and resources He bestowed upon you and the dreams He placed in your heart.
You have nothing to lose by following God's highest plan for you, and on that day when God says to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant," you will know that He is pleased with what you accomplished for Him.
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma.