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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Vision Thing (9): Seeing the Inside

True vision is seeing what God sees, and a lot of what God sees is people. As Samuel learned when he was sent to Jesse's house to anoint the next king, God doesn't look at what people look at when people look at people. We see what's on the outside, but God looks at the heart. God saw the heart of a warrior, of a ruler, of a passionate lover of himself (and others, for good and for ill) in the smooth-faced, overlooked shepherd, David.

Where others saw deeply and genuinely holy people when they looked at their religious leaders, John the Baptist saw children of vipers. Peter looked into the heart of Simon the sorcerer, ostensibly an excited new convert from occultism to Jesus, and saw a heart still mired "in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity" (Acts 8:23, NASB). But when Peter looked into the heart of Cornelius, whom he would earlier have considered an unclean Gentile, he saw someone who did what was right and was welcomed by the God he feared.

But the master of this vision was Jesus, who read everyone he saw. He saw that Nathanael was "a true Israelite, in whom there is no deceit" (John 1:47), that an earnest young man had made wealth his god, that a thoughtful scribe was close to God's reign, and that a widow's two copper coins were the extravagant gift of all she had.

No vision that involves people will be successful unless it is invested with a true vision of people. And no matter how perceptive we are, we will always fall short of a true vision of people without the whisper of God's Spirit as in the ear of Samuel and in the mind of Jesus. God sees what's on the inside, the heart. To be true visionaries, we must also.

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