I think the progression makes sense. Like anything, we first need to have a Vision we want to move towards; a picture we strive to make a reality. It is silly to look for a workout program until you know what you are trying to do. What is your vision? To lose weight? To be hard core cut? To improve your conditioning? Vision drives everything.
Next comes Intent. There is no getting around the ‘want-it’ factor. A vision is compelling, but if it doesn’t create a hunger and thirst in you chances are low that you are ever going to make progress.
Means is the final part of the acronym. Dallas Willard says most of the game is won or lost around the first two, which i agree with. But you still have to have a plan. There needs to be means by which you pursue the vision.
A few quotes to make the point – the first four are from John Ortberg and the last one from Dallas Willard:
“What does it mean to be thirsty? It doesn’t mean to be a spiritual giant. It means to be discontent and driven by what you do not have and to have unfulfilled potential and longings.”
“This process of trying to get there is frustrating for people. Some get so frustrated and turn to an emotional “re-dedication.” Some just fake it (“fake joy better than real depression”)… What if Jesus was right? What if he really meant what he said about rivers of living water flowing from the core? What if that kind of life was really possible?”
Psalm 42.1: “As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee.” This is not Bambi who is a little thirsty. This is desert language and this deer is going to die if it does not find water. This is me. Without the rivers of grace I will dry up and die.”
“How do you know if your spiritual life is on track? How do you measure spiritual vitality in such a way that the Pharisees don’t come out on top?”
“We want to train our bodies to act without thinking. You don’t think about your first language. You don’t think when you are a great violinist – you just play.”