This 14-Day Devotional is a companion to the New Vision for the New Year – Vision Tree. First download your free copy of the Vision Tree. Then use this 14-Day Devotional to guide to help you align your plans with God’s will. Happy planning!
Day 1: Think of your vision as a tree.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3 ASV
Throughout the Bible, trees have been used as metaphors to teach different life lessons. People can easily connect with the concept of taking a seed, nurturing it, and watching it grow into something magnificent. In John 4:14, Jesus says “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” As you begin creating your vision, think of your vision with the same important elements. Allow your idea, your passion or a thought to be nurtured and become something magnificent, by planting your vision along with Jesus, who is the Water of Life.
Begin your Vision Tree with prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you through this process, and keep your motives and intentions aligned with God’s desire for your life. If you have any fears or doubts, make note of them. They’ll be important later.
Day 2: Commit your plans to paper.
And the Lord answered me:
“Write the vision;
Make it plain on tablets,
So he may run who reads it.
For still the vision waits its appointed time;
It hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
It will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:2 – 3 ESV
“An idea is just a dream until you write it down… then it’s a goal.” – Anonymous. You can have a million great ideas, but until you get it out of your head, you cannot truly work toward achieving it. God told Habakkuk to write his vision down, and to display it in a prominent, visible place. Our minds respond strongly to visual stimulation, which in turn strengthens and stimulates the emotions you associate with your goals. This is one of the easiest ways to create momentum and motivation toward fulfilling your vision. The more creativity you put into making your Vision Tree, the more positive energy you put into your plan.
Decide how you will create your vision tree and get the supplies you need to create it. You’ll need to consider the size you’ll want to make your Vision Tree, so you can buy a poster board if necessary. You should also gather magazines, photos, markers, and crayons, to commit your vision to paper.
Day 3: Put God in the center of your planning process.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
And your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 NIV
As you create your Vision Tree and put images and words to represent the fruit you want for your life, you have to make sure you are keeping God in all of your plans. As you strengthen your Christian walk and faithfully read the Word of God, you will begin to understand the nature of God and the things that He values and prioritizes. Jesus was a great example of continually keeping His Father’s will in the forefront of all of His plans and actions. Throughout the Book of Acts, the disciples were constantly challenged and faced with unimaginable barriers, but they continued to move toward their God-given vision. You’ll need to make that same decision when you are faced with barriers and challenges.
Continually pray during your planning process, to make sure that your plans align with God’s will. It’s the best way to guarantee success in accomplishing your goals. Make notes of the small still whispers that God puts on your heart.
Day 4: Prepare your heart and mind to plant good seed.
The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw it was good. Genesis 1:12 NIV
Each seed planted will bear fruit according to the type of seed that is in it. Additionally, the fruit will also have seeds inside of it that will start the cycle all over again. If you base your ideas, plans and intentions on righteousness, you will enjoy a life of goodness. If your heart is focused on doing good for yourself and others and your actions are rooted in love, you know that your harvest will also be rooted in love and goodness. But the same is true for bad seed as well. One common trap that people fall into, is creating a plan with only selfish gain and ambition in mind. Planting seed with ill intentions will never give you the harvest you want. Even if you achieve the goal, I promise it won’t be without major consequence, either here on earth or worst yet… in eternity.
Check your motives. Make sure you’re not focusing on other people’s definitions or opinions when you create your plans. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself first, but make sure your long-term strategies for life involve helping and blessing someone else. Who, besides you, will benefit if you reach your goals?
Day 5: Don’t hold on to things that are toxic in your life.
“’But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.’ Numbers 33:55 NIV
So many of us know what we need to let go of without being told. Bad relationships. Bad habits. Bad environments. Not getting rid of them when you have that choice, will probably lead to a time when the choice is taken away from you. Pastor and Author Rick Warren, shares in his best-selling book “A Purpose Driven Life”, “the truth will set you free, but it will most likely make you miserable first.” So often we hold on to things that are wrong for us, because they feel right in the moment. The momentary comfort or familiarity seems to be a better option, then the pain in severing the tie. But the truth is, toxicity is a slow process to an inevitable death. Not just a physical death, but a spiritual, emotional, and/or mental death. You may end of killing important relationships, opportunities, finances, or your connection to God.
Understand and respect that letting go of toxic situations and people is a difficult task, so don’t make a commitment to rid your life of all of them at once. If you know the main source of toxicity, that continually makes doing the right thing or moving forward difficult, then start there. Just one thing. Start thinking of ways to separate yourself from the person or situation, and push toward selecting activities that will help keep your mind off of it or them.
Day 6: Create a big vision because God wants you to have an abundant harvest through Him.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be disciples. John 15:7 – 8 NIV
An all-powerful God wants to see His children live out powerful lives. You have to keep in mind as you plan for your future, your current circumstances are not your permanent circumstances, so do not base your vision on what you have in front of you. Close your eyes and allow your heart’s desires to pour out. Sometimes in this process, your vision may seem disjointed or unclear. You may need to spend more time in prayer, or in many cases, you may need to broaden your scope, and chase after a big, impactful dream. Remember, Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
Give yourself permission to have big dreams. Don’t just think local, think global. Don’t create your vision based on what you think will be achievable, create it based on what’s in your heart. Remember, where your skills and abilities stop, God’s faithfulness picks up. Believe and know He can make it happen.
Day 7: When you think about your harvest, remember to think about more than just your personal gain.
And He told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself ‘what shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Luke 21:16 – 20 NIV
Make sure you’re not focusing on only finances or your plans for retirement. God did not put you on this earth to create wealth for yourself and relax. God created you to be a light to the world, and positively influence the lives of as many people as you can. In the parable above, the selfish farmer was not even able to execute any of his plans before God put a stop to them, because his heart was full of selfish ambition and greed. So be warned, if you keep getting halted in your planning process or if the plans for your harvest only involve you, you’re probably working against God’s will… and that won’t work out in the end.
God wants us to enjoy an abundant life, but He also wants us to have meaningful relationships with one another. Make sure you’re including the ways to build a life for yourself, your family (current or future), your community, your employees, your co-workers, and future generations. Make a list of the people, including yourself, that will be blessed with the fruit in your vision tree.
Day 8: Be prepared for an overflow of blessings. God wants you to have the best.
Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rains he sends are an expression of His grace. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with wine and olive oil. Joel 2:23 – 24 NLT
It’s important that you mentally prepare for great things to happen in your life. It’s true, Jesus warns that we will all face trials and challenges, but we are also promised throughout the Bible blessings and abundance. God wants to fill your storehouses with both the things you need, and the things that bring you pleasure. This a very difficult truth to believe if you are coming out of or are in the middle of a transition. It may feel like God has abandoned you, or you are starting all over. But just as He promises in the passage above, he will bring the abundance again. Time to make sure you’re prepared for the success when it comes, and create your action plan.
Start to create a list of resources, skills, and finances you will need to make your dreams and visions a reality. If there are gaps in resources, that is a great thing to pray about. If there are skills you need or people who you’ll need to partner with, identify them now and add them to your plan.
Day 9: Don’t doubt your vision when you know what is in your heart is right.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV
Perseverance can sometimes feel like a distant concept or a simple buzz word on a motivational poster, but it really is the difference between people that are successful at reaching their goals and people that are not. Big visions are not easy to achieve, and sometimes your plan can fall apart in a moment’s notice. So it is important to hold on to your vision and be prepared to reposition yourself or your plans to get to your destination. In Romans 1:8 – 13, Paul explains to the churches in Rome, that he had tried to visit them for years, but had several stops and detours on his way. But he stayed focused on making it to Rome. Think of your vision as your Rome. If you get detoured or have to stop along the way, continue to plan toward your goal.
Make sure you identify WHY you want to achieve your dream, and focus on your overall purpose. Being driven by purpose is a strong motivator to keep going, when things get challenging. What drives you toward your vision? Write that down and revisit it, when you’re feeling like giving up.
Day 10: Put actions behind your dreams.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26 KJV
“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” – Harvey MacKay
You need to move your vision from your vision tree to your life. The best way to do that, is by breaking down your big vision into smaller bit-sized goals that continually work toward your vision. The key is to take a smaller goal that you can achieve that will get you closer to your goal. God does not want us to pray and just wait for our miracle to fall out of the sky. He wants us to move toward our vision, and allow the Holy Spirit to help and guide us along the way. The quickest way to make sure your vision never becomes a reality, is to ignore it.
Create one big goal that will get you closer to your vision, that you can complete in the next 90 days. Create a plan of execution, align all of your resources, and get going. If you find that your plan diverts, remember to keep focused on why you want to achieve the goal, readjust and get going again.
Day 11: Cut down the excess and focus to move forward.
I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit; to make it bear more fruit and richer and more excellent fruit. John 15:1 – 2 AMP
The pruning process is interesting. Sometimes you need to cut out things in your life that are stopping you from moving forward, but other times you need to remove things that are positive, to focus energy and attention on the things that are important. This is one of the dilemmas that Jesus teaches in Luke 10:38 – 42, when Martha, who was busy hosting Jesus and His disciples, while her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet. Jesus told Martha she focused on the wrong thing in the moment. Though great hospitality is good, fellowship with Jesus is more important. There are things in your life that may be good, but you may need to cut down on good to focus on what’s important.
Think about the activities that you may be doing or planning on doing that, even if they are good, may be pulling too much attention away from what is most important. Make a plan to phase out or cut down on them, so you can pour that energy into activities that will get you closer to you goal.
Day 12: Focus on your foundation and root system.
But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes,
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7 – 8 NIV
Success and failure are not determined by the amount of talent or resources you have. Success and failure are determined by how ready you are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to commit to your goals. Success coaches constantly talk about having a “winning mindset” and the Bible reminds us that you need to “renew your mind” in Romans 12:2. The passage above provides great insight on how we should focus on our root system:
- Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord: Trusting in the Lord and having faith in His promises will give you the confidence you need to tackle your big vision.
- He will be like a tree planted by the water: Jesus is the Water of Life (John 4:14) and Jesus is the Word (John 1:1), therefore planting your mind and vision in the Word of God will give you the strength to face whatever may come your way.
- It does not fear when heat comes: When your circumstances change and it the heat or the pressure of your situation come, you will remain intact and able to keep moving toward your goals.
- It has no worries in a year of drought: Even when you may experience long seasons without the resources you need, you will still be blessed.
Take some time to create goals that will help you create habits that focus on a healthy mindset, managing your emotions, and growing your connection with God. Look into activities like meditation, bible study or small groups, and nurturing important relationships in your life. Add them to your action plan.
Day 13: Big visions take time to fulfill.
“Have you not heard?
Long ago I ordained it.
In days of old I planned it;
now I have brought to pass,
that you have turned fortified cities
into piles of stone. Isaiah 37:26 NIV
Waiting on God is one of the hardest things that you will have to do while chasing down your dreams and fulfilling your vision. During the time you’re waiting for your blessing, continue working and moving toward forward. It is during this time you will learn the most about who you are and what you are capable of achieving. The Bible is full of biblical heroes that had to wait hundreds of years before their promises were fulfilled. If your vision is big enough, it probably will not be fulfilled within your lifetime. That’s exactly the type of vision God will put in your heart.
Learn to enjoy the process of your journey. It’s a great idea to keep a journal and document the lessons you have learned as you move toward your vision.
Day 14: Submit your plan to God.
But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
I will praise you forever for what you have done;
In your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints. Psalm 52:8 – 9 NIV
The most important thing for you to understand is when you submit your plans to God, you cannot fail. God’s love is unfailing and He wants the best for His children. Submit all of your plans to God’s will knowing He will see you through your storms and help you to reach your goals. Romans 8:28 reminds us “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Pray over your vision tree. Pray over your plans. Pray over your calendar. Pray each day. Pray for God to use you and help you carry out your goals, according to His will for your life. Then get out there and go with confidence that God will bring you through.