Dreams can be powerful to shape us, for good or bad. It is in that subconscious dream-world that we find some of our hopes and fears interacting in a space where we can also meet with God and hear him speak. How can we know which dreams are plagued with phantoms, which are the often outrageous fantasies and which are the ones that can have meaning? Joseph and Daniel were given understanding of dreams and it shaped destinies of people and nations. Young and old alike can be inspired by dreams and visions – the fact is we need more people who are:
‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams’ – Acts 2:17
‘Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams’ - Ben Carson
Who has inspired you in the past? Is there a dream or vision that is currently shaping your life? Wilberforce dreamt of a world without slavery, Cicely Saunders had vision to care for the dying, Brunel imagined bridges and tunnels, Florence Nightingale founded modern nursing, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, Mother Teresa’s heart burned for the poor, Alexander Graham Bell gave us telecommunications and the Apostle Paul was compelled to preach the Gospel and plant churches.
‘Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do’ - Pope John xxiii
‘Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don't let anyone limit your dreams’ – Donovan Bailey
‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’ – Proverbs 29:18
If you feel you have no vision, why not ask God for one? The Westminster Shorter Catechism gives this compelling vision for all of us: ‘What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever!’ This comes straight from Ephesians 1:14 – that we should live for the praise of God’s glory. Simply put, we should enjoy God and bring joy to him in all we do. There can be nothing more wonderful that to join in God’s big redemptive plan for renewal but he talks of us being his workmanship with specific plans ‘prepared in advance for us to do’ – Ephesians 2:10.
Are you living the dream or running from one? To evaluate a dream, you must ask if it lines up with God’s revealed purposes in Scripture – is it for the good of others, does it honour God and can it captivate your heart to achieve it for his glory? If so, go for it, 100%.
‘Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams’ - Ashley Smith
‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them’ – Walt Disney
‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun’ - Psalm 37:3-5
‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character’ – Martin Luther King
We won’t be judged for another person’s dream! But if we do not press ahead using our talents for God-given vision, the danger is we squander our lives, missing so much.
By contrast, the one who lives life to the full and the fulfilment of God’s call receives this welcome: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ – Matthew 25:23
Best by far is to lead a vision-inspired life. Will it be, ‘well done’ or ‘well’?
TAGS - dreams, vision, fulfilment, purpose, desires, commit, glory