Posted by: Rowland | December 18, 2007

Missional Church: Vision and idealism II

Vision and idealism are not the same thing. Vision is necessary to progress in the Church of God but idealism leads to Pharisaism.

Idealists constantly try to press people into a mould. Someone in touch with God’s vision ‘sees’ and understands that people’s lives will be remade and strengthened by the Lord – thinks the best, believes the best, hopes the best for them. An idealist is constantly conscious of people’s faults and can become very impatient with them as a result. One with a vision can see the faults too, but, while seeing them, believes with faith that God is able to and will change them. (Being naïve is not the answer) Vision is born of faith in God: idealism is your temperament. Idealism is prone to despair because when things go wrong these ideals are shattered. But when everything goes wrong a man with a vision goes back to God with the questions and heart-cries because he clings to God’s power and love. The vision has caught a hold of him, not vice versa. Ideals are in the mind: vision is in the heart and spirit of a man. Vision is a product of the Holy Spirit – ‘life’ in a situation, revitalising clarity of thought in a confused situation, the breath of change and of sweet, quiet calm. Idealism is like a square peg in a round hole – it is uncomfortable for someone who is an idealist, and uncomfortable to live with. It is rigid and narrow. It appeals to only a few, and forms cliques and sects, whereas the vision that God gives has a healthy breadth, depth and width to it. It encompasses “Whosoever will” (although many will choose not to be drawn into what God is doing).

All of us are partly idealists and partly have a glimpse of what God is wanting for his people (vision). We must let the Spirit of God purge us and blow His energy through us so that we will be free of hateful idealism, and love one another as brothers and sisters in Jesus – saved by grace, walking in grace, needing grace for ourselves to cover our own sin and weaknesses and seeking grace also to cover the sin and weaknesses of my brother until he too is made holy and righteous as I shall be.

(Courtesy of guest blogger – Vicki, my wife)


  1. May we be delivered from idealism and reformed with vision! “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” the Bible says – let us have your vision, Holy Spirit!

    As usual, Vicki’s thoughts are poignant…. 🙂

  2. Sis Vicki:

    Give us more . . . PLEEZE!

  3. Thank you for clearing up an issue that has plagued me for a very long time. Truth is so simple but so elusive to those who are struggling. Thanks for the insight and the peace that came with it

  4. Hi Gareth,
    Glad the comments were helpful.

    Gordon, I note your request.

    Clearly I’ll have to get Vicki to make more entries in future!

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