Why We Perish for Lack of Vision



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 15:30–35 

So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.


As we are just getting back to our journey through the Acts of the Apostles, we need to get our bearings. We have just come out of the locker room at halftime and we are moving into the second half. 

Here at the midpoint of Acts, I find myself looking for the big picture. In the midst of miracles, controversy, martyrs, conflict, preaching, teaching, learning, studying, discerning, healing, factions, visions, beatings, stonings, incarcerations, prison breaks, hardships, encouragement, dramatic growth, persecution, caring for widows, sharing, sacrificial giving, deceit, division, traveling, and much more to come, I want to regain a sense of the big picture. What is really happening just beneath and above the surface of all this activity?

It’s the question worth asking concerning anything we are a part of: our churches, families, professions, jobs, civic organizations, boards, and so forth. If we aren’t paying attention, all of our busy activities will slowly transform our movements back into mindless motions. We so easily lose our way in it all. Time marches on, and we watch our children cross the platform to receive their diplomas while scratching our heads and wondering whether we really invested our best in them or just got through it.

It’s tempting to think a well-framed mission statement will bring the clarity we need to feel better about what we are accomplishing or where it’s all going. What’s missing most is vision. I don’t mean “vision” as in our ambitious projections of a grandiose future. I mean “vision” in the sense of being able to see with clarity what is really happening in the midst of all the activity. It requires regularly stepping away to regain vision; to see more than the twenty things you are doing at any given moment. The real question of vision is not what I am seeing, but what does the Holy Spirit seem to be doing? What bigger picture might the Holy Spirit be drawing? It is for lack of this kind of revelatory vision that people lose focus, move in divergent directions, lose the path, get lost, and ultimately perish (see also Proverbs 28:19). 

It’s got me wondering. Could I articulate the Holy Spirit vision of what’s happening in my life right now in a sentence or two? How about my family season? Work? Church? I challenge us today to give it a shot. Can you bring the vision of these things down to a sentence or three?

Back to the halftime show of Acts. Here’s my framing for the vision in which all the apostolic activity converges: the kingdom of God is advancing by the power of the Word of God through the strength of the Spirit of God by the supernatural love of the people of God.

As I think about it, these words capture what I’d like to be able to see when I get perspective on the vision of my life and family and work and church and Seedbed and the Wake-Up Call and everything else I am involved in.


Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Amen. 


What big-picture vision might the Holy Spirit be drawing in your life now? Are you taking time to get to a vantage point where you can see the larger landscape of your life? How might that happen? Are you living in the movement or stuck in the motions?


Today we will sing “Be Thou My Vision” (hymn 49) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here. New shipments arriving now. Use Code: WAKEUPCALL for free shipping through the end of May (does not apply to bulk orders). 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

Subscribe to get this in your inbox daily and please share this link with friends.

Share today's Wake-Up Call!


WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. Yes, I believe that it’s very important to pull over to the side of the road occasionally, and look at the map to verify that I’m still heading on the right road. Currently, I see myself along with other fellow believers believers attempting to fathom all the various changes that are taking place in our culture. From my perspective, the church in America will have to become more adaptable to the many changes that are occurring, almost daily. While our core mission and individual callings are set in place by God, how we go about fulfilling them must be flexible enough to keep pace with the new challenges we now face. Trying to maintain the status quo just won’t cut it. This is what I saw happening in this last episode in the book of Acts.

  2. Vision in a Few Sentences
    There was no one-man-preacher monopolizing the church service in Acts 15:35. “Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.” Guest speakers were sent home, and the body of Christ was opened up for many other people to share what the Holy Spirit was giving them.

    What did the Holy Spirit do in Antioch? I believe that Paul explains that in 1 Corinthians 14:26 when he writes about what the Spirit did in Corinth: “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the ekklesia (the open-sharing-based town hall meeting in ancient Greek cities) may be built up.”

    Let’s make plenty of room for the direct leading of the Spirit and the open sharing of the supernatural love and visionary insights of all God’s people. Let’s release people from being spectators visiting a religious monument and free them up to individually flow with the powerful movement of God’s Spirit as they openly share what He is showing them.

  3. JD, I would love for you to give your answer to the journal prompt for your own life if you are willing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *