You have them all the time. Week in and week out you dream, plan, create and execute. But at the end of the day, when everyone goes home, when the “atta’ boys” wear off . . . how do you know the difference between a vision that God has given you versus simply a good idea you came up with? God created and gave us our abilities, so is it possible to have ideas that are good but not aligned with Him?
Here are three essential ways to identify when an idea is a God-given vision instead of just simply a good idea.
A God-given vision is BIG!
Oftentimes a good idea comes from our own creative human thought. If this is the case, it’s easy to counter our own ideas with all sorts of risk assessments:
“You are not important enough to pull that off; better scale back.”
“You are not well-resourced enough; better scale back.”
“You don’t know what you are doing in that area; better scale back.”
God created us with brains for a reason, and He wants us to use them. If your idea seems too safe or too easy, you may want to check in with God and see if it’s really part of His vision for you.
A God-given vision points to God!
When someone comes up with a good idea, the temptation or natural byproduct can be glory or honor for the one who came up with it. However, when God gives us a vision, the vision is often something that would be impossible if left simply to our human ability. Good ideas on their own will come up short, which is why God invites us to partner with Him by bringing our ideas and using them according to His plan. If you are tempted to take credit or bask in the praise of your own good ideas, take a closer look and see if it’s really part of God’s vision for you. Remind yourself that you (and your ideas) are being invited by God to participate. When you start thinking your idea is the reason something succeeds, remember the words of Paul. In Colossians 3:17 he says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Remember it’s HIM who gives us our skill, ability, and opportunities. He deserves all the credit. Make sure even your good ideas point back to Him.
A God-given vision lines up with truth!
God has wired us to plan, dream, build, create, and lead, sometimes figuring out if our good idea is from Him or not can be one of the toughest challenges as a leader. In times when you have no idea, turn to truth! What does God’s Word say? What wise spiritual counsel can you seek out? Proverbs 19:20-21 says: “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” When you are faced with trying to decide if something is simply a good idea or if something is aligned with the vision God has given you, seek wisdom. Seek wisdom through prayer, through reading His Word, and through wise counsel.
Remember, God wired us with great ideas and great skill! It’s amazing that the God of the universe allows us to use that skill to move HIS story and HIS Kingdom forward. We need to make sure we are close enough and in touch enough with our BIG God to know how we can work FOR Him . . . and not the other way around.