Recently I heard someone say, “The best way from A to Z is to start with Z.” This truth can be applied to many things in our lives. Whether it is a goal for a short-term project, a special event, or your life’s ambition, defining and clarifying the “Z” is essential. Knowing where we are going frees us to enjoy the journey, and helps us know when we have arrived. In addition, responsible stewardship of our resources demands we begin with the end in sight.
Beginning with the end in sight, is what we mean by vision. Vision is defined as a clear, mental picture of your preferred future. In this sense, vision is critically important for organizations, businesses and individuals.
For the follower of Christ, vision is much more than just our preferred future. It must include God’s purpose. The verse we often quote related to vision is Proverbs 18:11, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained” The word vision in this verse actually means “revelation”. (Proverbs 29:18 NASB)
Jesus made it very clear for those who desired to follow Him, that He had a clear purpose for their lives. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, and that whatsoever you ask in my name He will give it you.” (John 15:16 NIV)
God has a clear purpose for our lives and His purpose always trumps our personal preferences! As followers of Jesus, we do not seek our preferred future, rather His preferred future. The question therefore should be, “How, and where does God want me to invest my life?”
Paul knew how important it was to keep focused on God’s purpose for his life. He said, “I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” His goal was the “upward call” of God upon his life. Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB)
If the best way to get from A to Z is to start with Z, how do you discover your “Z”? How do you get that mental picture of God’s preferred future for you? I have no doubt, God created each of us on purpose and for a purpose. The challenge is discovering that purpose. What is God saying about the “Z” in your life? What is His purpose for your future?
How do you discover God’s purpose for your life? First, consider how God created and designed you. Look at your giftedness, your talents and your passions. No one has ever lived or ever will live who has the exact same mix of talents, gifts and abilities. We are uniquely and intentionally wired for God’s sovereign purpose. I love the New Living translation of Psalms 139:14, “”Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
How self-aware are you? Do you know and celebrate your strengths and spiritual gifts? There are some great assessments tools available today such as the Clifton Strengths Finder ® from Gallup, and the DISK Assessment Profile, to name two. The point is, God’s design for us is not random or accidental, and the better we see His design in us, the better see His purpose for us.
Second, prayerfully seek His face constantly and consistently. King David said it best, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Psalms 3:4-5 NIV)
For the follower of Christ, going from A to Z, begins with a clear view of Z. As we understand God’s purpose for us, we are able to move forward on the journey toward that goal – “the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.”