The Seeming Conflict Between Faith And Vision
February 11, 2015 AOA
In Insights

In the post, ‘First things first‘, I shared on the importance of vision at the onset of a journey. I believe it is important to take a step back and establish a clear vision before embarking on anything significant. However, in my more pensive moments, I question if an insistence on clarity of vision does not contradict the tenets of faith. If faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, why must I see first? Isn’t it a lack of faith that causes one to insist on clear vision? I struggled to put these two concepts in perspective and connect them correctly.

Vision is the picture you have today of the future. Vision is knowing where you want to end up and every so often how to navigate to the end but completely in the dark about the challenges ahead. Faith is going on the journey despite knowing that there lies unseen obstacles ahead yet being certain that you will arrive at the destination. There is a perfect harmony between the two concepts.

Faith is required for the fulfillment of vision. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. The larger the size of your vision, the larger your faith must be. Some simple logic here: Faith is required for the movement of mountains which symbolize obstacles. Also, we walk by faith and not by sight and the just shall live by faith. Therefore our walk and lives will be full of mountains and faith is the panacea for the obstacles.

Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”- Exodus 3:7-10 (NLT)

Case in point: Moses as a leader of the children of Israel had a picture of the Promised Land. He had a vision given by God for the people. Notice that the vision is such a fantasy – a fertile and spacious land that flows with milk and honey. The vision often is so exciting but the journey is full of mountains.

God did not show him that they would be trapped between the Pharaoh and the deep red sea. He did not foresee an Amalek who would ambush them on the way to this grand God-given vision. He did not anticipate the hunger and thirst that would thrash his very uncooperative followers. The many battles and Jericho’s wall weren’t a part of the deal. Though he had a very clear vision, all these circumstances would require faith to surmount. Theirs was a walk of faith every step of the way. They had to literally trust God for the most basic things day in day out on this journey.

Much later in the book of Hebrews, the writer recounts the journey of Moses and the children of Israel as a walk of faith. Moses left Egypt by faith, kept the Passover by faith, and crossed the red sea by faith. The walls of Jericho came down by faith. Those that failed to enter the Promised Land did so because of a lack of faith.

 So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest. – Hebrews 3:19 (NLT)

Despite a clear vision, a lack of faith on the part of some hindered the fulfillment. I have always taught people that a God given vision will always exceed your capacity. God does this so that you must rely on Him for the fulfillment. You must trust Him or you will fail and the only way God intervenes is through faith. Faith is a spiritual currency which you pay in exchange for God’s intervention. Little faith for little intervention and great faith for great intervention. Therefore great visions would require great interventions and by extension great faith.

It is therefore essential that you develop faith on the size of our vision. The bigger the vision, the stronger the faith needed for the journey. While we seek God for clarity of vision, we must simultaneously build the muscles of faith. Faith is blind belief by definition. But one can only blindly believe to the point of action, when one has a revelation of God based on experience and insight.

Faith doesn’t negate the need for vision rather it helps bring vision to reality. Vision without faith leads to stagnation and faith without vision leads to frustration. Shalom.