ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS FOR EFFECTIVE LIVING 3
In these last days God is set to cause every believer to ride in high places!
We’ve got to understand that when we are called into Christ we are called to live by certain sets of rules and principles that position us for God’s best in this life.
When we talk about essential ingredients for effective living, we are basically talking about how to set or position yourself to live an effective life upon the earth; a life in which God is able to do everything He wants to do in your life. And all that God wants to do is good.
The number 1 essential ingredient for effective living is to have vision – a strong sense of vision
Vision in a general sense is a mental picture of a future state.
The implication or suggestion in the above text is that there must be a clear vision that every child of God is running with in this life.
For every area of our life there must be a strong sense of vision, a mental picture of the future, that we are running with; a picture that having spent time in the presence of God’s word of God, He has allowed to be birthed within our hearts.
Vision is what sets the direction or pace of an individual’s life, it is what literally creates the ceiling for life – one cannot out run or out-perform one’s vision in this life.
The key to leaving your undesirable present and accessing a desirable future that God has promised you is to see something better than what is happening today. Vision is not just the key to exiting an undesirable present but for getting out of any situation because your tomorrow should always be greater than your today.
Even if you are in undesirable circumstances today, God wants you to be in more desirable circumstances tomorrow. Even if you are in a good place today, God wants you to be in a better place tomorrow.
The primary purpose and power of Bible vision, which is the ability to see and keep in your heart a strong picture concerning tomorrow, is that vision not only sets the direction for your life but is the power that enables you to create your life.
The word ‘Bible vision’ can also be called hope. Hope is simply a fervent or intense expectation concerning what God is about to do in your life. Vision can therefore be said to be a Bible based hope, a hope that is founded on the word of God.
Everybody ought to live their lives with a hope that is based on the Bible. Any hope or expectation for the future that is not solidly based on the infallible word of God is simply wishful thinking. ‘Bible hope’ is a picture created in your mind based on something God has uttered from His mouth. It makes all the difference in the world because if God uttered it, it is not a false hope neither is it a false expectation.
These principles ought to guide our lives; every believer should have a hope that is alive and living. If you are afflicted with sickness in your body, there ought to be a hope of health that is based firmly on the word of God. Your audacity to see yourself different or healed tomorrow should be based on the fact that God has uttered something from His mouth about your physical condition.
If you are groping around in the dark and struggling financially, the first step to financial change is to create a ‘Bible hope’ that is based upon the word of God concerning your future, financially. Your financial future is not based upon the forecast of some economist but upon the forecast of ‘The Economist’ – God.
Not only does God know your name; not only are you an object going about in this earth; not only does He know everything about you; but when everybody misunderstands you, He does understand you. When you go to Him, you are never condemned. God sees the heart therefore He never writes off people, He gives grace.
Every believer ought to go through life with a hope. No matter what your area of endeavour is, you have a vision on the inside of you. There is something that God created you for and it is as near as those things that keep rising up in your spirit and on the inside of you and have refused to be quenched or stopped even by your present condition.
Every believer ought to have an intense expectation concerning something; we have to live our lives in expectation and anticipation. Whether we like it or not, we are creatures of vision, always living in expectation or anticipation of something. But the words that rule your life will determine the expectation or anticipation that governs you. Your expectation is framed by the words that rule your life.
Paul, as mighty an apostle as he was, needed to be listed on the prayers of other believers according to his earnest expectation.
Life becomes bland and tasteless if you allow the devil to water down your expectation and that usually happens when you begin to focus on the wrong things, this usually has a way affecting your expectation.
Vision is the greatest force behind change because you behave and react in this life according to your vision. People, especially small minded people, and circumstances in life will always try to make you set your vision for life according to what they say or according to what is happening.
You must never allow circumstances set your expectation for the future. You must never allow people and their small minds to set your expectation for your future because somehow or the other, people always think they have a knowledge of what your potential is but only God has a knowledge of what your potential is because He created you.
Vision is so important because it is the first step to having an effective life whether in the natural or spiritual. Even people who are successful in the natural, not even considering God, use the principles of vision knowingly or unknowingly; and it works because there is something about that invincible picture that causes the impossible to become possible.
So Habakkuk says to write the vision, make it plain, put it in view, and put it in a place where you can behold it. So when everything does not seem to be working, you look at that vision and it connects you to when and what you heard from God; and every time you look at those words, it will simulate that encounter with God and build faith in you.
Vision is number one; you can’t live an effective life without it. A man of God by the name: Oral Roberts once said ‘if you can see the invincible, you can do the impossible.’ There is no such thing as ‘no-vision’, there is always a vision but the issue is what kind of vision there is.
Where there is no redemptive revelation, when people don’t understand what God’s plan is for their lives, when people don’t really understand who God is, what drives Him, the good thoughts that he has for them and the plans that He has set for them by way of the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus, then they cannot have a vision for it.
The New International Version (NIV) rendition of the above scripture says “where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.”
The second most important ingredient for living an effective life runs on the heels of vision and is called CHARACTER.
Character has different definitions and we would consider some. Bill Hybels wrote a book with the title ‘Character: Who you are when no one is looking’. Character is the real you; the you that nobody except you and God knows
These things need to be taught because we can never get to our full potentials without them; we can never get to the point in our lives where God can do whatever He wants to do with us if we don’t understand these principles.
New Testament believers think that David’s prayer in Psalm 19:14 is not for them but an examination of ourselves to see if we are in the faith is critical to our growth. That is why we are encouraged to take communion as often as possible so that when we come to the table we examine ourselves on where we are with the Lord, how we relate with our brethren, how we maintain business ethics in our businesses, etc. When we come to the table we re-examine ourselves and re-establish covenant with the Lord and move on.
If you don’t deliberately create balances and scales in your life, you will go astray; you need to intentionally create internal balances and scales so that you don’t take anything for granted.
Psalm 51: 6
Many people don’t get wisdom from God because the inward man is defiled, not the spirit but the conscience is defiled.
There is no conscious or deliberate effort to keep the inward man clean. This is where your character is formed, that inward man that nobody can see but God – where you make your judgements, reason, collate all you information and put together before making decisions. Your innermost counsel is who you really are.
Where there is no vision people cast off restraint and restraint here is caution or guard which is a function of your character. While vision, that invincible picture of your future sets the goals for the future and a better tomorrow, you can never be consolidated in that place without character. Character is what undergirds vision.
If you put quantity before quality in any area of your life, you will eventually compromise the quality. Similarly, if you put growth and increase in your life before quality, a time will come that you will compromise quality.
Inasmuch as God wants us to grow and become big, we have to set up mechanisms in our lives that emphasize quality before quantity.
When you see people who have a real or authentic vision, you also find character because vision is only undergirded by Christian character.
One of the greatest reasons why visions, even those birthed by God don’t see the light of day is because they are not undergirded with strong Christian character.
Character has different dimensions. Some rudiments of character include:
Integrity (1Kings 9:4)
People want to get to their thrones by crooked means, they don’t care who is scathed as they rise but they forget that what you sow is what you reap.
It must be God who establishes your throne, ministry, life, business, etc. When God is the one who has called you into something, He will sustain you there.
God can break the rules that men make to take you to the top if you make a stand for Him. That’s why some people don’t see the supernatural because any time the supernatural shows up, someone must have set himself up against the natural – that’s when the super comes. It took Moses to obey God before Israel was removed from Egypt and his obedience to God took him before the Red Sea but God orchestrated and allowed the same Red Sea to destroy the enemy to show His supremacy. We are not seeing more legitimate miracles in the body of Christ because men have refused to pitch their tents with God against the system of this world.
Obedience in the natural, at the beginning, may seem to be expensive but if you stick with it, it will cause you to increase. Those who will stand on the principles of God’s word will be propelled to move from a back place to the front row.
Everybody and indeed every believer has a throne. Nobody was sent into this life without a throne but the question is: ‘who do you want to establish your throne?’. You can muzzle your throne if you want immediate gratification in life.
We must understand that God can raise us up in the midst of those who want us down the most but it is only integrity that can get us there.
If we were God we would never have used David as an example of integrity but God said David is a man after my heart.
Psalm 26:1, 11
How you conduct yourself in life determines the state of your heart. If your feet are in an even place God will raise you.
Integrity puts you before God’s face – this is symbolic of His favour. Many have been chasing this but when you are in God’s face, the things you chase after gravitate toward you.
God took David from being a shepherd boy and brought him to serve. God does not judge like us. He took David from the back and brought him to serve Israel although Eliab his elder brother was there.
When you have integrity of heart, you are prone to making right decisions.
What is Integrity?
Integrity is a composite word made out of many other words. So many things are implied in integrity. You can’t talk of integrity without uprightness, sincerity of heart, sincerity of purpose and honesty.
Honesty – To be honest means to have no deceit.
2 Cor. 4:1-2
You want to be a person of power? When you mix integrity with your faith and vision, you become a steam roller in the kingdom of God. When you mix honesty, faith and integrity, you get God’s hand moving for you.
However, you can be honest but without faith the devil will find his way to deal with you, even while you are honest.
Those who will minister God’s inheritance must do away with all heathen things of dishonesty
The foundation for a lack of integrity is a lack of trust in God. He is the one that really promotes, a man can promote you but only God can keep you promoted. So quit trusting in men whose breath is in their nostrils.
Integrity and honesty go together; it is hard to separate them. Where you find integrity, you also find honesty, uprightness, sincerity of heart.
Your integrity will preserve you; it will guide you and even when you are going astray God will see to it that you are taken care of.
Integrity brings rewards, it will to see to it that God is with you, hedge you, protect and keep you till your day of reward. Integrity is a defence.
Sincerity of heart is also part of integrity; you must not soil your hands with all kinds of things.
You must set your heart to go to the topmost top in life; however, no amount of scheming can get you there.
God will move in and touch the hearts of men on your behalf.
Repentance will give you peace
Before you think that this is a standard you cannot attain, you should ask why God looked at David and called him a man after His own heart, a man of integrity.
David became God’s model of integrity because God does not look at the outside (that is not to say God condones sin) but God looked at the heart of David as one that trembles at His word. David was a trembler at God’s word; he was quick to acknowledge his transgression whenever he was confronted with it.
David will always fall flat before God in repentance. God was not overlooking his sins; He was looking at the sincerity of his heart and his repentance.
What I am talking about here is not perfection, not faultlessness, not coming to a place in your life where you don’t ever fall into sin but it is coming to a place where your heart is tender, you can break down easily and then, you can begin to take steps in the opposite direction, easily. I am not talking about perfection or faultlessness but a heart that trembles at the word of God.
We have to start working on these things by recreating balances within our hearts because these are the things that make us tender to the Spirit of God. If your heart can be tender to forgive or put yourself in someone else’s shoes; tender to show mercy; then, your heart will be tender to listen to the Holy Spirit when it comes to dealing with the affairs of your life. It will be easy for you to be led by God’s spirit and for Him to bring certain things to your attention that have to do with your preservation, increase in life, promotion, etc.
1 John 3:1-2
Every man that has a hope in Him (Christ) sees the potential ahead that he can rise to, in Christ; and this will create restraint and character in him. This will stop you from making some mistakes today because of where you are going.
If you have a glimpse of where God is taking you to, you will purify yourself in anticipation of that place. Vision comes as a purifying hope and helps you to stay focused on the goal; it makes you set your associations and everything around you as a means of purification.
When you study Joseph’s life in the Bible, you notice a perfect blend of vision and character. God had showed him what he will become and in his 13 years of trial in Egypt, he made mistakes but he kept his eyes on the vision. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him and eventually laid a trap for him, he didn’t see compromising as sinning against Potiphar but against God.
Even in prison Joseph continued living a life of integrity but people give up so often after trying a few things. When he was elevated from prison, he had the powers to eliminate or exterminate Potiphar and his whole family but he didn’t because at your rising, your enemies are already subdued. Your rising is a proof that there is a greater power at work for you than those who want to put you down.
What about Joseph’s magnanimity to his brothers? He didn’t pay them in their own coin; rather he told them what they meant for evil was turned around by God for the salvation of Israel. He knew that the revelation that God gave him had solved a lot of things for him. When you try to fight for yourself, God will not fight on your behalf.
Character and integrity took Joseph to the top, for 80 years he was kept at the top by the power of God.
Let us also consider Daniel.
The man Daniel worked with four Kings of the greatest kingdom on earth during his time because of these same principles of vision and integrity.
When you begin to walk in integrity, at first it may not seem as if you are going as fast as you want but you are gaining grounds in the spirit. When the increase comes, you are jet-propelled to your next level.
It is time to build on kingdom principles no matter how unpopular they may seem in the natural because God is set to pick you up from a place of obscurity and place you at the top. When God raises you up to a place, it is his responsibility to sustain you there.
There is a beauty about life when you are doing things God’s way. His manifest presence and power go with you and when it looks like you are getting stuck, His manifold wisdom shows up.
Purpose in your heart to pass the integrity test!