“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” – Habakkuk 2:2-3
In ‘How vision is critical to success’, we examined the importance of vision in navigating us through the travails of life and propelling us towards the good life that God intends for us. When we receive a vision of the plans that God has for us – plans to prosper us and to give us a future – the natural response is to begin running towards it with gusto and vigor, knowing that we shall inherit the promises if we do not grow faint and weary. The snag is that Satan also knows this and so tries to get us to become faint-hearted over time as we run. He understands that we inherit the promises through faith and diligence; hence that is what he attacks. He will try to get us to doubt the vision that God has given us. If he cannot stop us from seeing the vision, he will try to convince us that we are not worthy of the vision; that the vision is impossible for us to attain. He will stop at nothing to prevent us from reaching the high calling of God on our life. He knows our race only continues for as long as we live, and so he does everything in his power to dissuade us and to stall our progress. Of the many weapons in his arsenal, the one he likes to use often is discouragement – the bullets of which include comparison and time.
If our goal is to chop down a tree, we may begin to compare ourselves to others whose task is also to cut trees down. If we see others felling their trees in record time and obtaining their prize, we may start to wonder whether something is wrong with us. How can others do it in a short time while we are taking so much longer we ask ourselves? Instead of focusing our on attention on what God would have us do, we try to carbon-copy what others are doing and so fail miserably – because we fail to understand that just as each person is unique, each tree (although still being a tree) is unique in its characteristics. At first, seeing the success of others may galvanize us to work harder on our task, but then we get discouraged when we seem to be making little progress.
The mind-set of copying exactly what others are doing leads us to be task-oriented versus being goal-oriented. It leads us to try to fit a circular key into a square lock! But when we keep our eyes on our vision; we are more likely to see the obstacles to success. Many times, we realize that although we started cutting the tree at the same time as our friend, his/her dagger was already sharp while our dagger was blunt to begin with. Perhaps our friends took the time to sharpen their dagger while we did not! The truth is this: In all things, we must sharpen the tool of our mind with the Word of God, for it is the double-edged Sword of the Word of God (see Hebrews 4:12) – whether read, watched, listened to, or spoken to us – that helps us achieve our vision, when we allow its iron to sharpen our iron.
Light-bulb moment: Just as we have to sharpen our dagger if we are to fell a tree, our first task upon seeing a vision is to correct what is wrong (the bluntness of our mind) so that we may achieve the joy that is set before us.
Once we have sharpened our dagger, the second bullet Satan unleashes against us is time. He will say to us: ‘You and your friend started at the same time with a sharpened dagger and yet you have been at it for ages. This God of yours has given you an impossible task. See, you are sweating like a pig over there and getting nowhere fast. This tree is too big! Why don’t you just stop and relax yourself. I have provided you with a shaded tree, so why don’t you just come and rest a bit!’
If Satan has ever said this to you, rebuke him immediately! He does not want you clearing the path to your Father’s house but wants you to stay in the hot and sticky wilderness of your circumstance. He is lying to you about the shaded tree, for the leaves fall off as soon as you lay underneath it and it dries up. Hold on to God’s word and persevere. God cannot lie; whatever He has spoken becomes truth.
Food for Thought: While God always encourages us to never give up on Him; Satan always discourages us so that we give up on God.