Then the Lord answered me and said, record the vision and make it plain upon tables that he may run that reads it…” Habakkuk 2:2
Habakkuk 2:2 is an often quoted scripture when a ministry or church desires to move forward with a corporate vision. Yearlong vision campaigns have been developed and implemented connected to this verse. Conferences and seminars have been created with this verse as the main theme.
I have witnessed people getting excited when they hear this verse being proclaimed by a pastor or teacher. They will shout, give their neighbors high fives and dance around the sanctuary with great enthusiasm upon the declaration of this word. There have been songs and books written about Habakkuk 2:2. Needless to say, this is a very popular verse when it comes to talking about writing a vision.
It is sad to report that after hearing this powerful verse proclaimed many people still have not made the effort or taken the time to write their personal and/or family vision. It sounds inspiring and motivating to hear a teacher or preacher proclaiming, “Write the vision and make it plain…” However, I have come to discover that it takes more than just an inspirational message or weekend seminar about vision. It takes a concentrated effort to take the time to write your vision and an unwavering commitment to implement it.
Habakkuk was perplexed about the situation that was happening around him. He could not understand why God was doing the things the way He was doing. He was confused with God’s direction. His confusion led him to ask Him two key questions. “How long O Lord will I call for help and you will not hear?” “How can you use the Babylonians who are more sinful than we are to punish us?” Habakkuk needed some real answers to his questions and God was the only one who could provide the answers he needed.
I believe now is the time to unlock the power of your vision. After spending quality time studying and meditating on Habakkuk 2:1-4, I extrapolated seven keys to unlocking the power of your vision. I believe that if you implement these seven keys your vision will have a powerful impact on your family, friends, community, city, country and ultimately the world.
Key# 1 -Vision is revealed to the person in the position to listen.
For you to unlock the power of your vision from God you must first reside in your personal watchtower to listen for His directions. In ancient times, the watchtower was built on city walls so watchmen could see enemies or messengers approaching their city while they were at a distance. From the watchtower, they could see the enemy approaching and alert the people in enough time to prepare for battle. The watchman and watchtower were used by the prophets to emphasize an attitude of expectation. Habakkuk went to his personal watchtower expecting to hear from God. He knew that this was the place and time to listen to how God was going to answer his perplexing questions.
Do you have a personal watchtower that you can go to hear from God? Wherever your watchtower may be; a room in the basement, the living room after everyone is asleep, an early morning walk or a quiet place in the park, you have to get alone with God. You need to make sure your time alone with Him is uninterrupted. When you go to your watchtower you need to put away your mobile devices, turn off the television, close your Facebook page and tell your family and friends not to disturb you unless it is a serious emergency.
Your daily time in your personal watchtower is your time to meet with God and hear His directions. You cannot afford to have any distractions. When you go to your watchtower you will need to take with you some tools; a bible to read and study what He has to say, I prefer the New King James Version or the New American Standard Bible. You will need a pen and paper or a journal to record what He speaks into your life. You can also take your Vision Impact Workbook to record the answers He will give to you to form your personal and family vision statement. The last thing you will need to bring is an open and receptive ear to listen to His guidance.
When you come to God in your watchtower, you do not have to come with any games or gimmicks. You do not have to have the right words to say or a special prayer formula. You do not have to have all your ducks in a row or all the correct answers. You can come to Him in an honest, humble and specific way to let Him know what is on your heart and mind and the God of the universe will respond with His directions for you.
Key# 2 – Vision must be written down.
You need a clear guiding vision that belongs to you and directs your life. You cannot be valuable to God’s ultimate plan if you do not know and understand your personal vision. Whether you are young, old, married, single, middle-aged, black or white, if you do not have a clearly written vision plan you can become easily distracted, discouraged or discontented by the circumstances of life.
We learned from the first key that you have to get alone with God in your personal watchtower to hear from Him. Habakkuk received a vision from God in his watchtower of what would eventually happen to the Babylonians. He did not instruct Habakkuk to just think, pray and talk about the vision, but He instructed him to write the vision He was about to reveal. God knew that a written vision would solidify it in the people’s hearts and minds.
God’s vision is not based upon what you have or do not have. It does not matter what others say or do not say. It does not matter how much money you have or do not have. It does not matter if you are the CEO or the janitor. God may give you a vision that you may not totally understand everything that He is revealing to you; it may not make much sense, but write it down anyway. What you write down may not match your current situation. What you write down may seem unachievable. What you write down may look crazy to others and even you. It may have you even second-guessing your abilities and talents.
You have to believe that if God said it you can take it to the bank and cash it. He may give you a plan to pay off your debt, but you are broke. He may give you a plan for a business, but you do not have the necessary experience. He may give you a plan for a successful marriage, but you are still single. Whatever He reveals to you write it down and start moving towards it.
Today is the right day to begin to write your personal and/or family vision statement. Your vision statement is what God has revealed to you and not what you have gotten from someone’s insight, book or seminar. I encourage you to write your vision in explicit details. Do not leave anything out that He reveals because you feel inadequate or incapable by the enormity of the vision. Please know that God’s vision will be bigger than what you can do or handle in your own strength. His vision can be intimidating. It can make you feel inept and look foolish. Your abilities and skills can look insufficient. But, whatever he reveals to you know that it is your vision plan to put into action.
Key# 3 – Vision must be made plain.
After you have spent the necessary time, writing the vision God has revealed to you, you need to make sure it is in plain, simple to understand language. You want your vision so plain that a fifth grader can understand it. I have read complex and convoluted vision statements that have left the people assigned to it confused and discouraged because it lacked clear direction. They were well written statements with impressive and inspirational words and phrases, but lacked the real direction to motivate people to move.
The vision statements were so complicated that the individual with the vision could not really explain it in a way that others could grasp it and run with it. If you have a vision that is not easily grasped by the people connected to it, they will not follow it and will end up creating an alternate vision to follow.
When Habakkuk received the vision from God, he wrote it in terms that could be understood by all the Israelites and future generations. The vision that he wrote is recorded in scriptures to give us a roadmap on how to write a vision statement that is plain and understandable by all who reads it. Your written vision should be so plain that it can be understood throughout your family generations. When your great-great-great grandchildren read your vision, they should be able to plainly understand it and continue to run with it.
We can sometimes over complicate things because we either think we are smarter than we actually are or we are trying to impress others. A vision that is written in plain understandable language will energize and ignite an excitement in everyone that is connected to it and they will run with it in eager anticipation.
Key# 4 – Vision must be posted.
If you walk into the entrance of some companies and ministries, you will see a posted vision statement. This posted vision statement gives the direction for their organization. Everyone that enters the company or ministry knows that there is a clear and definite direction. Most of all, their posted vision statement gives guidance and unifies everyone that is associated with them. This is very important because it puts everyone on the same page. No one is left in the dark about the direction of the organization.
I believe just as a business or ministry posts their vision statement, you need to have a visibly posted vision statement to keep you and everyone connected to it on the same page. When everyone is on the same page, it brings a greater level of responsibility and accountability.
Once you have your written vision in plain understandable terminology, it is now time to post it. I suggest typing it on a one page summary sheet that you can frame. Once you frame your vision statement, place it in an ideal location that is visible for you to see every day or if it is a family vision place it in a prominent place where your entire family can see it.
Use it as a screen saver on your computer or mobile device. Write your vision on an index card, have it laminated and carry it in your wallet or purse. Post it on your refrigerator so that every time you or someone opens it they will see the vision. Wherever you need to, post your vision. Your posted vision statement is your constant reminder of what is possible in your life and/or family if you follow God’s directions. It will become your motivator to live forward whenever you are discouraged, distracted or disappointed by life.
Key# 5 – Vision overcomes obstacles.
You have to be aware that there will be obstacles in your life that will try to derail you from living your vision. Do not think because God has given you a clear guiding vision that everything is going to be smooth sailing. You are going to encounter some steep challenges and you will hit some unforeseeable turbulence. You will have days that you want to throw in the towel and walk away from everything.
The enemy will use every tactic in his arsenal to detour your destiny. He will use your friends, family, coworkers and even yourself against you. His ultimate job is to steal, kill and destroy your vision. (John 10:10) He will speak into your ear things like, “Don’t you know where you come from? No one is going to listen to you. Why try and do this because you failed the last time?”
The enemy wants you to walk away from your commitments. He wants you to live inconsistently to your purpose. He knows if he can keep you distracted, discouraged and defeated from living your vision’s full potential then you will not have the impact in your family, community and city the way God designed for you to have.
Not only will the enemy present obstacles to your vision, but others will try to dissuade you from advancing forward. They will say things like, “How are you going to accomplish that with your education or skill set. That has never been done before in your family. Don’t you know you are too old or young to make that happen?” Do not let what others say determine your destiny. Do not let them talk you out of what God has for you. I suggest you turn a death ear to their negative words and focus on your vision.
I believe the major obstacle that you will have to overcome is yourself. I have learned that you and I will talk ourselves out of what God has shown us is possible. We will say what we can’t do instead of saying, “I can do everything that God has designed me to do”. We will say that we can’t accomplish something because we don’t have the right background or experience. Instead, we need to say, “I am going to learn and do what I need to and God will take care of the rest”.
When fear and worry tries to take over you need to say with assurance that, “God did not give me the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). When you turn your attention to the direction of your vision instead of your problems, you can walk in the assurance that you can have the victory.
I want you to know without any doubt that your life was designed to be motivated and fueled by God’s vision. You do not have to run and hide from life’s challenges. You do not have to live a mediocre existence. You do not have to down play who you are. You can pursue your vision with an aggressive offensive attack that will give you strength and ability to overcome any obstacles that stand in your way.
Key# 6 – Vision will manifest itself in God’s time.
Habakkuk was told to wait patiently for the vision. God had revealed to him that He was going to use the wicked Babylonians to punish Judah. He was going to allow the Babylonians to rule for a season, but in due time they would be punished for their wickedness. Habakkuk teaches us the all-important virtue of waiting.
God desires for us to know through Habakkuk’s vision that we are to cherish our waiting period. Though it may take a while before your vision unfolds, you are to use the waiting period as a time to grow in knowledge and walk in wisdom. Your waiting period is your proving ground to make the necessary preparation you need because when your vision begins to manifest itself, you want to be ready to operate in it.
Please do not rush your vision. Be patient. When you make your own plans to carry out, you force those plans into your own timetable and can possibly delay your destiny. Vision manifests when God determines the time. When the time is right, God will begin to unveil your vision progressively. I know from experience sometimes it isn’t easy to be patient while you are waiting. You see the possibilities, but it seems as if you are moving in molasses.
You may have written your vision plan in explicit details. You may have been following it to the letter, but it seems nothing is working out. It seems the more you work towards your vision the more difficult it gets. The more attacks you encounter. The more aggravated and frustrated you become. You may get to the point that you just want to bail out. You want to tell God, He can have this vision because it isn’t worth the time and energy.
Whether it is going back to school, exercising more days a week, turning off the television and reading or learning a new area at work, you must make the necessary preparation to bring your vision forth. You are going to have to work on your vision when others are playing, sleeping and having a good time. You are going to have to make some sacrifices that are going to cost you something in the short term, but hang in there because your release is coming soon. You cannot quit when your vision journey becomes a little uncomfortable and the road gets bumpy just know that the finish line is right in front of you.
Your revealed vision will inspire you to look beyond your waiting process and see your future promise. Now when I talk about waiting, I am not talking about waiting like at a bus stop. At a bus stop, you just stand waiting on the next bus to arrive. When I talk about waiting, I am talking about waiting like a server at a restaurant. A good server is constantly moving taken care of the customers that he is responsible for. If he wants a good tip, he will make sure every table he is responsible for is properly served. He doesn’t stop making sure their drinks are filled and the food is properly prepared. He continues to provide excellent service until the customers leave.
The server anticipates at the end of the meal if he has provided superb service he knows he stands a great chance of getting an excellent tip. However, even if he doesn’t get the tip he thinks he deserves; when the next customer comes he gives the same excellent service because he still anticipates a good tip. Just as a server is anticipating a good tip from the excellent service he gives, it is crucial that we serve in excellence anticipating to receive our vision rewards in this present life and the life to come.
Key#7 – Vision must be lived by faith.
Habakkuk had to have total faith in the vision that God was revealing to him. He was to declare to the people that the God of the universe would spare them from the ruthless reign of the Babylonians. God assured him that the wicked Babylonians who trusted in their abilities and strengths would eventually have a great fall. (Habakkuk 2:5-20) Habakkuk’s job was to keep encouraging the people to live by faith while they waited patiently for the vision to come to pass.
If you operate your vision by sight, you will always see the potential problems and pain that may surface. Seeing your problems and pain from a physical visual viewpoint may cause you to deviate from pursuing after your vision. You may see that your month is more than your money. You may experience friends that bail out on you who said they had your back. You may witness the economy and job market improving for others, but not you. The things you physically see may have blurred your vision. Living by physical sight has the potential to delay or destroy your vision progress. Life can be full of discouraging and depressing circumstances that can keep you living life on the sidelines, but when you learn to live by faith, you can move from the sidelines to playing in the game.
Remember that one definition of vision is seeing farther than your physical eyes can see. It was hard for the people of Judah to see their deliverance when the Babylonians were ruthlessly reigning and ruling over them. How could they take hold of the vision of eventual victory when they were encountering tremendous defeat from their enemy? The only way for them to see victory was through the eyes of faith. If you are enduring difficult times and have become discouraged; if you have lost the desire for your vision due to constant struggles or if you have allowed your circumstances to derail you, you must take an active role in regaining your faith for your vision. God gave you vision so you would trust Him and not just trust what you see. When you begin to see your vision with the eyes of faith, you will understand that the obstacles you see are only temporary.
Habakkuk realized through the eyes of God’s vision that the Babylonians reign was only temporary. Though it was going to be a difficult time for the Israelites under the harsh leadership of the Babylonians, they would be able to live through it by faith in God’s vision. Habakkuk was so in tuned to his faith in the vision that in Habakkuk 3, he praised God for the victory that they would eventually experience over the Babylonians. Faith in your vision is paramount because the way you see your vision determines how you think, what you say and how you act.
The more you focus your attention on your vision the more your faith will grow. Taking slow and steady faith steps on your vision journey will open the door for more opportunities for success to come your way. If you choose instead to walk by fear, you will waste time and energy on activities that will take you away from your unique vision course. If you choose to activate your faith, you will courageously move forward in following your promised path that will lead to sure vision success.
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.” Woodrow Wilson