Justin Martyr was a philosopher converted to Christ and eventually
put to death because of His faith. He succinctly explains that the
philosophies of men were taken from the prophets of God then perverted
whereby the philosopher claimed originality. This is only one example
of men taking the good things of God and perverting them into something
So it has been done with "vision." God created mankind.
And, we should not think it strange that we are creatures of vision.
When used properly, vision is good, moral and godly. But too often
men have implemented the power of the mind to accomplish evil -
usually motivated by greed.
Remember that the word "vision" has several meanings.
The words from which our English Bibles were translated denote Divine
revelation. "Vision" in the Bible does not have the meaning
usually assigned to it in our philosophic vernacular.
Solomon said: "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he"
(Pr. 23:7). Space does not permit elaboration upon the specific
context of this Scripture. But here Solomon reveals that a man's
actions are dictated by his heart. Although a man may deceitfully
appear to be someone he is not, his true character is within his
heart - not in his members.
Jesus likewise teaches that it is not the physical that defiles
a man, but that which is in his heart (Matt. 15:11; 23:25-28). This
does not mean that we are not responsible for our actions, but it
means that our heart controls our body. Therefore Jesus said of
false prophets: "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt.
7:16). And Paul says that those walking in the Spirit have the fruit
of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26).
Therefore, in a very general sense all people are people of vision
- this is how our minds work in relationship to our bodies. The
difference lies in that God's children appeal to His word and thus
have a godly vision resulting in godly living.
Through Isaiah God clearly teaches us that we cannot appeal to
the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of men to formulate a godly
vision. God says: "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways My Ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are
higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and
My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Is. 55:8-9).
Therefore, everyone coming to God must change their vision. A man
must change his vision from the humanistic philosophies of men to
think, and thus live, according to the will of God. In our Twentieth
Century philosophical vernacular we may say that he must have a
paradigm- shift, he must change his vision. But in the Bible it
is called repentance. Repentance is a change of heart that results
in an external change of action. Jesus said: "but unless you
repent you will all likewise perish" (Lk. 13:3).
The Bible is full of examples of people who repented - paradigm-shift,
change in vision toward God. On Pentecost (Acts 2) the apostles
preached to people who had previously cried out for the crucifixion
of Jesus. The proud ignored the message declaring that the apostles
were drunk with new wine. But others took to heart the gospel that
day and repented - they changed their vision from the Jesus who
deserved to die to the Jesus who is Lord and Savior. Those who were
cut to the heart Peter commanded to "Repent, and let every
one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission
of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"
If you are a child of God, you have changed your vision from the
philosophies espoused by the world to the vision taught by God in
His word. Therefore the world hates you (Jn. 15:18-19; 1 Jn. 3:13).
And, you are occasionally tempted to change your vision back to
the world of sin (e.g. peer pressure). Understanding this, I pray
that you will stand firm in the Lord with a godly vision.