Regardless, we are all encouraged to dream, set goals, plan, and execute in order to achieve personal satisfaction in life – and in many ways this is a positive, self-assuring exercise that will eventually become the standard by which others measure our success or potential to be successful. However, when we reach the end of our lives, we come to realise that the things that we did to extend our own lifestyle - while often worthwhile, won't count for the eternity we look forward to.
Most of us have heard the verse in the Bible where Jesus encourages us to store up treasure in heaven where moth and rust can't damage, and the thief can't steal, but having a dream is not necessarily equivalent with wanting personal wealth or success.
A friend of mine was preaching at a youth service recently, and his sermon is really what inspired this article, as he was sharing about the importance of having a dream, but also being able to identify with Christ's dream, and the place where those dreams collide. Simply stated, Christ's dream was that people from every tribe, tongue, and nation be gathered around the throne praising God (Revelation 7:9), and he was willing to lay aside every other ambition and even his own life to the cross in order to realise that dream.
His dream became his purpose for living, and his literal sacrifice achieved that dream. So while I can dream and set goals in my life, the only purpose that will last for all eternity is found in the fulfilment of God's will in my life – His purposes worked out through my dream and passion. And as a believer, this is the principle with which my dreams should be connected: to deny myself, pick up my cross, and follow him (Luke 14:27).
Looking behind the notion
Of course this idea doesn't seem to be as rousing as the first notion, (that of inspirational dream followers like countless singers, performers, and so on), but ultimately Christ's dream should become so tightly connected with our own that our gifts, our passion, and our calling should compliment each other so well that living out our dream becomes a witness to others of true satisfaction on this earth. However, this idea can't be confused with pouring our time and effort into what we consider to be 'God's work'.
Without expressly acknowledging and following God's specific calling in my life, I could find myself running into the ground trying to execute my own expectations of God's desires for my life and inescapably carry my own burden instead of taking Christ's 'yoke that is light'. In the end, I would not find fulfilment nor purpose in this artificial dream or vision; only to discover that for all of those works I did in His Name, He does not know me (Matt. 7:21-23) and thus my work would have been in vain.
Having a dream and seeking to fulfil that dream is not by any stretch unbiblical or contrary to the ideal character of a believer. However, if that dream becomes a quest for personal gratification - above our relationship with Christ and our pursuit of his dream, then our lives are no longer glorifying Christ, but merely seeking our own advancement.
At the end of the day
At the end of the day, our dreams come from inspiration, and as believers, true inspiration comes from our Heavenly Father as he created our unique combination of gifts and passions. Our responsibility, and thus purpose in life, is to discover that dream that He has set apart for us as individual members of His kingdom, and to live out that dream with our eyes fixed on the prize that lies ahead.
That eternal destination is the ultimate goal, and to hear the Father say, "Well done, good and faithful servant", will be a more satisfying reward than we could ever ask for in this lifetime.
Blaine Packer is studying a Bachelor of Cross-cultural Ministry at Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies in Launceston, Tasmania.
Blaine Packer's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/blaine-packer.html