I love helping people to discern God’s vision for their lives. Nothing gets me more excited than someone have the revelation or the “aha” moment, and then say, “I believe this is what God is calling me to do with my life.”

I’ve heard lots of big visions and small visions. Outrageous ones, exciting ones and inspiring ones. And many of those have been of God.

But to be honest, at least some have probably been from ourselves – about making ourselves into someone successful or powerful and about furthering our empires, rather than making ourselves into humble servants, and furthering God’s kingdom.

So how can we tell the difference? How can we know whether the vision someone shares is from their own ego, or from God’s Spirit? I’d suggest there are two ways:

  • Some people are blessed with the gift of spiritual discernment. They can more easily tell when someone is sharing something that is from the Spirit, or from the flesh. I personally don’t have this gift, but I treasure those people who do. They can help test whether the vision is from God, before years of hard work, early starts, late nights and endless frustrations have been poured into it.
  • But another way is to see where the person who shared the vision is at two years down the line. Or five years down the line. Have they taken steps towards fulfilling it? Are they walking down that path? Are they persevering when things get tough? I’ve found this to be another test to add to the discernment process. If people quit the vision when it gets difficult, I think it’s one possible sign that the vision wasn’t from God. Because if we’re doing it for ourselves, or any false motives, it’s often not worth enduring the pain, the criticism, the loneliness, the rejection, the lies, the hardships and the sheer frustrations that come from walking down that path. It’s only worth it if God has called you to it, and if God continues to give enough hope and revelation for you to keep on persevering.

How do you know if your vision is also God’s vision? What are you willing to persevere through to make it happen? Maybe there’s your answer…

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and has a biography on William Wilberforce coming out in October 2014. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markraynespark.