There are four basic steps in God’s plan for Christian service. As you pray, as you trust, and as you serve, God will lead you through each of these steps.
The first step in serving God is to see and understand what He wants you to do. Vision must precede what you do. It is vision you will ‘see’ with your mind, your heart and your understanding. So you need to pray and see before you start; you need to understand before you undertake. This vision comes from God. God still gives ‘vision’ to His servants. Today God speaks to you, and gives you vision, in your heart, through His Word and you need this vision before you start your service.
God wants you, first of all, to see Himself. What you are, and how you serve, depend upon how you see and understand God.
Second, before you can help people you must see their needs as outlined in the Word of God. Unsaved people are spiritually dead, lost and under the condemnation of God. When you really see and understand their needs you will want to help them. A vision of their needs will stimulate your service and compel you to do something.
Third, God has provided you with a message which has life-changing power. You need to see that the power is not in you. It does not depend primarily on your experience or ability. The power is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as you obey the Lord’s command to preach that Gospel, God the Holy Spirit will work.
Fourth, God uses people to accomplish His purposes. If you have had a vision of God, a vision of the needs of the unsaved and a vision of the power of the Gospel, you should now ask God to show you and help you to see what He wants you to do. You need to see what your particular responsibility is. All ministry starts with this vision.
When you have seen what God wants you to do, the next step is to do it. Venture means to ‘move forward with an element of risk’. It means action; when you start to do what God has shown you to do. We can see, throughout the Bible, how that first step in God’s plan for service was followed by this vital second step. In every case the vision became venture. There are two important questions you need to answer: 1) Have you seen what God wants you to do? 2) Have you obeyed that vision and ventured?
Many of God’s servants in the Bible and throughout history have, instead, experienced valleys. When Paul obeyed the vision God gave him, the Jews tried to kill him. Abraham experienced famine and Moses encountered criticism. This is the reality for which you must be ready. God will use these valleys to test you and to strengthen and bless you and your ministry. But you need to know what to do when you are in a valley.
Remember God’s call. Think back to the vision God gave you. Don’t quit. Reflect on God’s character. He is sovereign and in complete control. He knows what He is doing. Rely on God’s promises. He will never let you down.
Victory comes in the valley when you keep going and don’t give up. Victory comes in the valley when you believe and stand upon God’s promises. ‘This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith’ (1 John 5:4). The ultimate victory is the realisation of the vision which God has given to you. It may take time, perhaps years, for your vision to be realised but if it is from God, it will be.