Not rules … vision

By Paul Hughes
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of  the Inside The Pew staff.

Now that’s a vision statement.

Life is not rules, but vision. Applications hereof abound.

Consider children.  The gradual trajectory of a child’s life is away from rules and toward vision. Imagine a graph with two lines: Parental rule is one line starting at the top and trending down.  Child responsibility is a line starting at the bottom and heading up.  Both lines start at the left, and move rightward, along the horizontal axis of age and maturity.

That top line heading down is essentially “rules” and the bottom line arrowing up is essentially “vision.” It’s the vision that a day will come, sooner not later, when these lines will cross and the child will be an adult, pursuing the vision … which of course has vastly, radically changed, and become his own, with major modifications.

The goal of the graph is to get their line zooming to God, and mine dragging the bottom for all eternity … perhaps with little blips when they call for advice.

It’s an imperfect picture, but there it is.  And it starts with rules.

It was the same of course with God’s children, Israel.  A constant battle based on law, with God’s kids blowing it every page and a half, on average.  The law was their tutor, their guide … all the way to Christ.

In the fullness of time as the fathers say, the rules gave way to the vision that had always been.  It didn’t supplant the law, though perhaps it superseded it — the way a child pedaling a bicycle or taking the wheel of the family car supersedes the very present hand, then voice, then simply the presence of the Father saying, Do it like this.

When we stopped being children, we put away childish things.

There is an apologetic application as well.  We should show forth a vision of the Kingdom of God encouraging men and women to give their lives to it.  Not because effective, but because it’s true and right.  We may give them rules, but we really must fight always to remember that the vision of it is the thing.

Whether this means they need to know their sinners before they can be saved, or whether a tract is useful, or if an argument should come Intelligent Design or Fyodor Dostoevsky.  Jesus seemed to know who needed to hear it this way or that way, and even who should not hear it at all!

I am here to say that overarching all this should be vision, not rules:

Repent (turn away and move forward, from a constant need for rules),

Friends (not servants, but sons, heirs, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ),

For the Kingdom of Heaven (the established, effective reign of God),

Is at hand (is visible and available, here and now, as we follow Him).

Now that’s a vision quest.

Paul Hughes is a writer in Southern California. He edited Think and Live for, and wrote Tebow: Throwing Stones and Burning and Bleeding, among other books. Interact with him at, on Facebook, or via Twitter. Thanks very much.


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