SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2014.
MANY a time, some people claim to be Christians. It may be that they are born into a Church, baptised, given Christian names and are regular Church goers, for that reason, they believe they are Christians. This does not totally make them one in the true sense of the word.
On the other hand, there are people who claim to have visions. Vision in itself is not bad, but whatever vision we have, it must be in tandem with our calling as children of God. We need to examine briefly these two concepts: Christian and Vision.
According to the Bible, the name ‘Christian’ grew out of mockery against the early followers of Christ in Antioch c. f. Acts 11v19-30. So to be a Christian is to be Christ-like, a follower of Jesus, one who is born again Jn. 3v3 and has accepted Jesus as Lord anad personal Saviour.
The Christian does not live for himself, but patterns his life according to the life of Christ. He is not ashamed to talk about Jesus, who came, died and was raised again c. f. Rom. 1v16. To the Christians, the Holy Spirit in-dwells and empowers him to daily living in presence of God. So, you can see, it is much more than being born into a Church, baptized or bearing Christian names.
A vision is a thought, concept or object formed by the imagination, mode of seeing or conceiving. It is an unusual discernment or foresight. It could also be associated with prophecy. In spirituality, a vision is something seen in a dream, trance or ecstasy, especially a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation.
Joseph had a dream where his brothers would worship him (Gen. 37v9), Jacob at Bethel (Gen. 28v12), Cornelius before Peter was sent to him (Acts 10v3) and Paul who claimed he was not disobedient to heavenly vision, Acts 26v19.
Visions are known to emerge from spiritual traditions and could provide a lens into human nature and reality.
In Proverbs 29v18, the writer, the wise one was addressing both political and religious leaders if they must lead aright, must have vision to help them chart a course to success. We are aware that we can rise or fall depending on the vision we bear or represent.
However, Christian vision should be to make heaven. The Bible encourages us not to lay our treasures where moth, rust or thieves can destroy them, but to lay them in heaven, Matt. 6v19-20.
It becomes a warning therefore that: ‘…the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part `shall be’ in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death,’ Rev. 21v8. Implying, nothing impure shall inherit the kingdom of God.
St Paul said: ‘for I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified,’ I Cor. 2v2. This should be the greatest goal for every Christian to be with God in eternity.
It is also to be noted that we are to be earthly relevant in our service to God and humanity. Testimonies abound of persons who have yielded themselves and their resources to support the work of God. We may not go too far for a case in point. The donor and founder of Ibru Centre, the late Dr. Alex Uruemu Ibru gives a rider to the testimony.
Today, opportunities are still open for people to be earthly relevant. This can be done through: funding telecast evangelism, donation of plots of land for use by the Church, School, training of Pastors by way of scholarship for the work of ministry, endowment funds to assist a Diocese. God’s emphasis is on availability and not capability.
Without vision, we cannot go too far, for where there is no vision, my people perish. The vision of God for us is to make heaven. Therefore, we need to surrender ourselves to Jesus and to accept Him as Lord and personal Saviour. Jesus assures: ‘where I am, there you may be also,’ John 14v3. May we never lose this ultimate vision as we live and work for Him in His Church. Remember, it is not a vain thing to serve God as there is priceless reward to those who devote their lives to His service, Ellen Whyte.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.