With the new year always comes traditional new resolutions and a fresh resolve to change something in our lives. In the same spirit, I’ve been taking a hard look once again at my life vision and goals and restructuring some of my schedule and priorities for 2008. I thought it might be cool to start a series of posts on the practical points of a life vision and the process of setting goals to achieve them with the help of the Holy Spirit. In these first few posts, I want to provoke you to actually look at your life vision in a new light, or if you don’t have one, to get one and start running with it.

When you fall asleep at night, what do you dream of for your life? What is your ultimate life vision? Is it to be a great business person with a large home and a nice BMW? A great father or mother? A great preacher with a large church and a large impact on your city or region? You may be very surprised if you ask your friends or family this question because there are not very many people who have actually thought about a vision for their lives and where they want to be when they begin to get older. Many are content just to glide through life just hoping to make the best of every circumstance.

Even when “vision” and “goals” are mentioned in a normal conversation amongst believers, more often than not we begin to state our goals and our vision for ministry and impact. We’ve all had big dreams of a large ministry or a large business with a big following and great success. In fact, most of the body of Christ still has this big dream. That isn’t such a bad dream, but it cannot be the ultimate dream of our hearts.

When we all stand before God, there is only one standard by which He will judge us. It has nothing to do with the size of our ministry, the size of our business, or the number of people that fell under the power of the Spirit at our meetings and conferences. The litmus test of a successful ministry, life, business, relationship, or endeavor according to Scripture is whether or not we called people to walk out the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and that they had power and revelation on their heart to actually walk it out in secret.

If we’re going to align ourselves with Scripture, this must be our ultimate dream for ourselves and for our ministry to others, whether it be two others or two hundred thousand others. The Lord’s definition of success in life and ministry is very different from the world’s.

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:19 NKJV)

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:” (Matthew 7:24 NJKV)

Jesus is not just speaking about walking out His words in Matthew 5-7 once in a while when we feel like it. Every word He spoke in the sermon is something that is in complete opposition to normal human nature. He’s not saying that we must walk them out with perfection but commands us to do them in secret and to do them consistently. He pronounces wisdom on the one who does them in this way. What He is saying is profound – if you build your own life and your ministry on doing these teachings and getting others to do them you will be wise and you will stand through the storms of life and the great storm at the end of the age, emerging as one successful in the eyes of the Lord and called great when the Lord returns to reign from Jerusalem.

So is your dream to have power in ministry so that you can impart the values of Matthew 5-7 or is your dream of having power in ministry so that you can have a big room full of people that are excited? What is that which you are fasting and praying for? How do you need to alter your life vision and goals to pursue the Lord’s standard of ministry impact, success, and greatness?

In the next post in this series, I’ll take a look at what our primary life calling and vision should be according to Jesus Himself. Hope you stick around!