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“Many people find that the dilemma of desire is too much to live with, and so they abandon, they disown their desire. This is certainly true of a majority of Christians at present. Somehow we believe that we can get on without it. We are mistaken.” John Eldridge
Why do we struggle to believe that our dream can come true? One reason is our theology and the second is our experience.
Theology – Most believers have been raised in a church culture that taught us that our desires are carnal because we have a fallen nature and that those desires don’t line up with God’s word. That certainly can be true and often is when we are growing up in Christ. Having tutors and governors during that teenage phase of spiritual development is positive and a good church can provide that. But, I came out of that era with a belief that I should never trust the desires of my heart. It’s a lie.
We all reach a phase of maturity where God simply asks us “What role do you want to play in the Kingdom?” and we have to be willing to answer that question from the desires of our heart. The essence of spiritual maturity is initiative, Kingdom authority, becoming entrepreneurial, and using those tools to make our part in the Kingdom a reality. Passivity doesn’t work in the Kingdom.
Experience – The second reality is that we have experienced failure. We have all lost loved ones to illness, walked in poverty, missed job and business opportunities, seen relationships go bad, and watched our dreams move farther out in the future. We believe that God wants us to be loved and blessed, and used mightily in the Kingdom, but our experience doesn’t always line up with our beliefs.
It seems logical to just stop dreaming, to keep ourselves from the pain of “dreams that never come true.” Did you see the “lie” in the prior sentence? This phrase may also be in your heart! Dreams do come true. The desire of our heart is one of the primary ways God speaks to us and motivates us. He didn’t design us to be mindless, flaccid servants. We were created in His image to be creative, industrious, courageous, loving, and prosperous – exporters of God’s own abundance from a personal cup that is running over. I have no desire to return to power and glory of the first century church. The Kingdom in the 21st century has far more glory and power. We are doing even “greater works.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:12-14 NASU
The Struggle – The Kingdom of God began 2000 years ago as a mustard seed, and it has been growing ever since and will one day fill the earth with His Glory. We really are in the middle of revivals and reformations – change that is painful and glorious at the same time. All creation really is waiting for these glorious sons (us) to become who we really are. At present, we pray for some and they are healed while others are not. Some experience wealth creation and prosperity while others struggle. Some experience an open heaven and open doors while others experience what feels like a brass ceiling. This is what life in the Kingdom is like right now. Our choices are reduced to finding a good reason to “give up on our dream” or finding some reasons to “believe God that it can come true.” Here are the attitudes that I find helpful in maintaining passion for my dream – faith. Faith is the thing that moves mountains and receives dreams even when everything else seems barren.
1. Oneness with the Father – God and I have the same dream. I do own my dream; I’m responsible. Pursuit of that dream is “putting the Kingdom first.” God and I are on the same page. I feel the Father’s encouragement every time I pray and I often see His Spirit multiplying my efforts.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:33-34 NIV
2. Trouble – I am not surprised or defeated by problems. Some things go wrong via my own mistakes and sin, others are from warfare and the evil intentions of men, and still others are trials from God. I don’t care too much what the source is. I keep my eye on the Father and His resurrection power and I make whatever adjustments are needed to keep my heart rightly positioned in faith before God. He is an over comer and so am I. My future is very bright.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
3. Growth in the Kingdom – We prophesy in part, but we know more and more. The wheat and the tares are growing together, but the crop is approaching a wonderful harvest. We’ve seen dramatic changes in the Kingdom in the last 100 years, even in the last 10!… in the areas of healing, the prophetic, our understanding of marketplace ministry, and progress in the nations. The Kingdom is brighter and the world is a much better place to live than is used to be… and yet there is still a pitched battle to finish our work.
Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32 NIV
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matt 17:20 NIV
4. Keep calm and quack on – Don’t take yourself too seriously. Humor is a life-giver and it’s important to have friends with whom you can laugh. Celebrate your victories and find the humor in your tragedies. It is a form of praise to fill your mouth with laughter. The joy of the Lord really is our strength. You can change the spiritual atmosphere with laughter in any situation. It’s the Holy Spirit’s therapy for a wounded heart. Bathe yourself in rejoicing.
A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. Prov 17:22 NASU
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” 3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Ps 126:2-3 NIV
Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 2 Cor 8:2-3 NIV
Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22 NIV
“‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ Acts 2:25-28 NIV (from Ps 16:8-11)
Nurture the desires of your heart. It’s exactly the way the Father speaks to sons to build His army to expand the Kingdom. It’s filled with the passion of dreams coming true and victories being won. We each have a personal invitation to play a role and fulfill a destiny. Say, “Yes Lord!”
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Prov 4:23 NASU