The Principle of Spiritual Vision
Now that brings us to the principle of all this, which opens up a very large field, in which we could move for a long time. The principle is the principle of true, spiritual, inward vision. Not "visionariness," but INWARD vision, which is specific, which is definite. Visionariness can be very abstract, but what we mean by "vision," spiritual vision, is very concrete; it is very specific. It is a Person Who is in view, and this mighty Person is no abstraction. There is nothing unreal or imaginary when we see the Lord Jesus.
Lt us weigh this whole matter. You and I and the Lord's people, as we said earlier, in our various places. various situations, various experiences, scattered and tried and pressed, need something very mighty to carry us through to the end. Things are becoming very grim, are they not? Most of us are aware that we are in a most terrific spiritual conflict, and the Christian life is not getting easier. It is becoming exceedingly difficult just to hold on, keep on, and especially to be triumphant. That is how it was when Peter wrote his letter.
Now, we need more than words, and more than visionariness, to get us through. Our Christian lives ought to be based upon something like this: "I have seen the Lord." We shall only go through if that is true. By the operation and activity of the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven we must have an inward vision of the Exalted Lord. For all endurance, and for all service, that is essential. Life that has to go on without that is just a drag; it is an existence. Work or service without that inward vision has nothing in it to lift us, to carry us on. For everything - life and work and endurance - it is indispensable that we have this inward vision of the Lord in majesty and glory, kept fresh, kept clear, constantly revived. With such a vision all the essentials of effectiveness are bound up.
A Sense of Purpose
First of all, what we all need, what the Church as a whole needs, and what every part of it needs, is a mighty governing sense of purpose: that there is something for which to live, and something for which to work, and something for which to endure and go on: a real master-purpose in our existence. If you look into this matter in the New Testament, you will find that these men and the Church were brought into this master-purpose. We are so familiar with the very word that it has lost its music in our ears - "the eternal purpose" - called according to His Purpose." They were governed by this objective, this goal, this something toward which they were being moved, drawn, constrained, urged and held; which, again and again, when they were cast down, and it seemed that everything was hopeless, revived in them, and revived them, and brought them up again. It was not a mentality, not a theory, not an idea, but what Paul calls "the power that worketh in us" - "according to the power that worketh in us." The word "worketh" there, as you know, is the one from which we get our word "energize" - "the power that energizes in us". What is it?
Look again, and you will see that it had to do with that great, great end which God had fixed concerning His Son, the Lord Jesus, in universal majesty and glory and fullness. They had seen something of that in Him. It had become the great purpose which bound their lives, and drew them out in a sense that life is not empty, meaningless; it has some great end. "We see what it is concerning the Lord Jesus." We, too, must have that sense of purpose, or we shall not get very far. Not only was it a Purpose, but this INWARD spiritual vision gave the incentive to life. Through days and years of wearing out and wearing down, weariness and disappointment, over many things, disillusionment and heartbreak, it is not difficult to lose incentive; to ask, Is it worth it? Is it all justified? Are we not just spending our strength for nought? We need incentive. It was this apprehension of Christ as having gone that way of weariness and devastation and triumph, and having been glorified, and now being there in the glory, which gave them the incentive. It imparted to life an incentive, a motive, a power.
(continued with # 12 - "Cohesive Power")