Vision without end
Here is my never-ending vision for each Salvationist. Test your vision by placing yourself on an imaginary high-low scale. It’s a life-long project, a vision whose full realization will not come until we see Him face to face. Nevertheless, it’s a vision we must ever keep before us.
1. Low on coasting, high on growth.
Simple: coasting means going downhill, growing means going uphill. The most important characteristic of a healthy Christian is his or her desire to grow. A plant grows if exposed to light; we grow when exposed to Christ. Too many Christians simply coast, hoping to grow with minimal or no exposure to the light of Christ. What an Army we could be if each Salvationist had a vision for stronger and stronger exposure to His light.
2. Low on legalism, high on grace
Liberation was one of the Master’s big agenda items no more strict and excessive conformity to a law that focuses so much on outward signs and efforts, unyielding, unforgiving. Grace is unmerited favor; we need the favor since we are neither morally nor intellectually capable to bridge the chasm between us finites and an infinite God. We need grace in our own interaction with each other: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Are we?
Our primary aim … will be to radiate Christ. Our unswerving commitment will be to maintain a standard of excellence in our work and our service.
3. Low on pessimism, high on optimism
If Christ through His death and resurrection has overcome the world, how come there are so many pessimists among Christians? He’s got the whole world in His hands isn’t it so? Take a minute and reflect: “The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears this is true.” (Dale Turner)
4. Low on excuses, high on accepting responsibility
All of us resemble the lawyer in the New Testament story: “But he, desiring to justify himself, said…” A college president says that after long dealing with students, he is unsure whether the degree B.A. stands for Bachelor of Arts or for Builder of Alibis.” As Christians we have been forgiven. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and our own spiritual discipline we can negate the past (forgiven) and build a meaningful life, be fruitful for God’s Kingdom; it is our mandate, our responsibility.
5. Low on criticism, high on affirmation
Too quick to criticize, Christians often miss significant opportunities to influence others by failing to see the good, the potential inherent in a person. Seattle pastor Dale Turner said: “To affirm the goodness we see in others breaks down alienation and makes firm friendships. The gift of affirmation or praise is one of the best gifts we can give to another.”
6. Low on greed, high on self-denial
Greed is an inordinate desire for more, an excessive, never satisfied hunger for more, way beyond what could be considered as enough. The flip side of greed is self-denial: a willingness to actually want less, even below the “enough-line” so that someone who is hurting can be satisfied.
7. Low on opposition, high on cooperation
Would we find more teamwork in secular settings than in our corps life? Many parts performing different functions one body, though. Nehemiah could have never finished his wall had there been a lack of cooperation, teamwork. No group of believers can ever grow or accomplish any ministry without a spirit of cooperation.
8. Low on milk, high on meat
You are familiar with Paul’s frustration: after several years of sound teaching, they were still no further along. Thomas Merton writes about his brother: “Although he maintained all his interests and increased them, the increase was in extent, not in depth, and the result was a kind of scattering of powers, a dissipation of the mind and will in a variety of futile aims.” Focusing on Him will result in depth.
9. Low on gloom, high on joy
Nothing worse than a gloomy Christians don’t we have the joy of the Lord? The more I love God, the more gladly I exist. Or, the more I find joy in Him, the more I reflect joy to others.
10. Low on doubt, high on conviction
“What is finer in history than a soul that is not for sale?” (Harry Emerson Fosdick) That requires strong convictions, not easy to attain in today’s “whatever-feels-good-must-be-right” world. A Salvationist with firm spiritual convictions is a Salvationist to be reckoned with he or she will build the Kingdom of God.
So, how are we doing? The answer is: