Have you ever been challenged to think bigger? To dream larger? To expect more than you’re in the habit of expecting? When you respond to such a challenge, you call it “raising your sights.”
God is in the habit of issuing challenges like that. And knowing how to respond to them is a major key to walking in all the victory and blessing Jesus died to bring us. Look back, for example, to Abraham and you’ll find God telling him to raise his sights. We find it in Genesis 13: “And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered” (verses 14-16).
“Lift up your eyes,” Abram was told. In other words, “Raise your sights! You’re thinking too small.”
You see, God wanted to do great things for and through Abram. Abram was just looking for a plot of land to pasture his flocks, but God wanted to give him all the land stretching out beyond the four points of the compass. Abraham wanted a single heir, but God wanted to make his descendants as innumerable as the dust of the earth.
Small thinking and small expectations can limit God’s ability to work on your behalf. That’s why He often asks His people to raise their sights right before He does something remarkable. Such was the case with the children of Israel. They, too, were told to lift up their eyes just as God was preparing to deliver them from bondage in Egypt.
Several years ago, Kenneth said by the Spirit of the Lord: “We are preparing for our exodus.” And there are a number of significant parallels between what the children of Israel experienced as they prepared to come out of Egypt and what we are experiencing now. They experienced a glorious departure as they headed for a land of promise. We’re about to do the same.
Since we’re about to inherit the wonderful promises that precede that departure, we should look to a man who successfully inherited the promises made to him. We need to expect bigger things from God as He prepares us to go. As Abraham did—it’s time to look up.
Expand Your Vision
Looking up and getting ready for your exodus will impact every area of your life. Just as God had to move Abraham from thinking of only one son to thinking in terms of whole nations, God wants us to lift our eyes beyond being concerned only for our immediate needs and wants and only for those things that seem possible. He wants us to expect mighty things and to bring whole nations into His kingdom.
God wanted Abraham to start thinking about multiplied nations of sons. Likewise, we’re going to have to expand our vision if we’re going to see God do the wonders among us He intends to do. We must begin to think in terms of bringing multitudes to Jesus in a massive end-time harvest of souls. Those multitudes will respond to the Word of God preached with signs and wonders.
In what other ways should we begin to think bigger? What should we start to expect?
I think the best way to find answers to those questions would be to look at some other aspects of Abraham’s life, character and covenant. After all, according toGalatians 3:29, we are Abraham’s seed and his heirs according to the promise.
Obey God and Experience Blessing
If we’re going to raise our sights in line with Abraham’s covenant, a good place to start is Genesis 12:1-3. There we read: “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’”(New King James Version).
There are enough wonderful promises packed into these three verses to last a lifetime. However, the first thing I want to point out to you is revealed in The Amplified Bible’s translation of that first verse. There, God’s command is translated: “Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country…” (Genesis 12:1).
I like that. Most people tend to associate obeying God with drudgery and pain. But the truth is, obedience is always to our advantage. We need to change our expectation accordingly. When, in answer to the call of God, you leave behind your old lifestyle, your old habits, and your old patterns of thinking—you experience great advantage.
Of course God didn’t stop there. As The Amplified Bible renders it, He went on to say: “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]” (Genesis 12:2).
We must begin to expect “abundant increase of favors.” Coming into the covenant of Abraham that God made and brought to pass through Jesus Christ is our inheritance. The blood of Jesus opened the door for us. We should also expect our names along with the names of our churches, ministries and outreaches to become “famous and distinguished.” Before our exodus, the world is going to know who we are and what we are about, because God is in us.
What will we be known for? “Dispensing good to others.” Before our departure, we are going to be blessed in order to be a blessing. This should be our earnest expectation.
As you continue to read that passage, the blessings just keep on flowing from God’s mouth. In verse three we find: “And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves]” (Genesis 12:3, The Amplified Bible).
Before we go, people in the world are going to start getting the picture that they can bless themselves by blessing God’s people. We’re going to influence others for Jesus as people are drawn to the glory of God being manifest in our lives.
Now, if you’re some old meanie, nobody is going to be drawn to you. If you’re consistently sad and depressed, people are going to stay away from you. They’re not going to want to fellowship with you. But if you’re full of the love of God—if you’re kind and patient rather than prideful—people are going to gravitate to that glory.
A long time ago Ken and I learned a secret for impacting the lives of unbelievers. We discovered that the way to influence people who are outside the covenant is to treat them just like they believe everything we believe. When we meet someone, we just talk about the things of God as if they know exactly what we’re talking about. We’ll talk about being healed, and answered prayer, and that miracle we saw last week. We’ll talk about that nugget from the Word of God we just discovered as if we were talking to a person who has studied the Bible all his life.
Invariably these people are drawn to God.
It is time to start expecting to be a powerful influence on the world around us.
Pass on the Faith to Your Children
In Genesis 18:19, God says of Abraham: “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (New King James Version).
Here is the heart of the reason Abraham was the one man God chose—he was a man who would teach his children faith. God knew that it would take more than one generation to bring His wonderful promises to pass. In actuality, it would take hundreds, even thousands of years. It was two thousand years before “the seed” in whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed—Jesus—would arrive.
What God needed was a man who would teach his children covenant faithfulness and to “lift up their eyes” in expectation of big things.
Just as it was important for Abraham to teach his children and grandchildren about faith, it’s vital for us to do the same. We are living in a time in which God is looking for people of vision. People who will raise their sights and believe God for the big things He wants to do in our generation.
If we are to see God’s promises come into manifestation to the highest degree, we must follow the example of the father of our faith. We must continue the practice that set Abraham apart from all other men—his willingness to teach his children to raise their sights.
Our children need to hear the Word of God from us. It’s not a responsibility we can push off on Sunday school teachers. In an age of new diseases and plagues, we must teach them to expect to walk in such a high level of health and healing that the world comes begging to know what they know.
We must teach them to expect to walk in peace (nothing missing, nothing broken) no matter what kind of bad news the papers shout. And we must teach them to expect to experience such a high level of abundance that they can help finance the end-time harvest and bring the nations to Jesus.
Look Up – Your Redemption Draws Near
All the signs today point to a single truth. Our exodus is approaching.
We’re not going out of here a defeated, broken, beaten-down Church that no one has ever heard about. We’ll be departing as the Church who has claimed her inheritance as sons and daughters of Abraham. And our children are going with us because we will have taught them well.
Before Abraham could see God’s promise come into manifestation, he had to “lift up his eyes.” He had to expand his vision and believe God for bigger things. The same is true for us now. It’s time to grow bold enough to take God at His Word. It’s time to walk in the fullness of our inheritance.
Of course, we must always remember the high purpose for that inheritance. As with Abraham, the purpose of the promise is to become a nation more numerous than the stars of the sky (Genesis 15:5). As we leave, we’re going to take with us the greatest harvest of souls the earth has ever seen.
In speaking about the end times and the signs that would usher them in, Jesus said something very interesting. He said: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28, New King James Version).
In other words, “Raise your sights! It’s almost time for your exodus!”