Wednesday, June 22, 2011

God Is No Dangler of Carrots

--
Woody Allen is oft-quoted as saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."

Now, Woody Allen is an agnostic on his best days and an atheist on his worst, but even Christians sometimes use this quote as though it were true. How many times have we all heard testimonies of missionaries or pastors that follow an arc something like this: "I never wanted to be a missionary/pastor; that's the LAST thing I wanted to be!" They sigh wistfully . . . remembering the passion they once had . . . and say, "No, I dreamed of being a . . .

chef
doctor
artist
teacher
musician
professional golfer
writer
business owner
(fill in your own)"

then, steeling themselves, carrying grimly on with their story they say, "but God had other ideas, and now I am doing His work. You should be doing God's work too!"

What they don't say out loud, but fairly scream from between the lines, is,

"God is a dream killer!"
"Don't tell God your dreams, He'll just take them away from you!"
"God is going to make you do something you hate!"

After hearing these testimonies (often at missions conferences, Christian school chapel services, youth summer camps) I think secretly some of us are a little worried that in order to be truly spiritual or obedient we have to be doing something we find loathsome . . . or painful . . . or at least something that is responsible for dashing a cherished dream or two.

I. DON'T. BELIEVE. THAT!
(yes, I am shouting!)

THIS is what I DO believe:

"You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:9-11 NLT

Our God is a good God!  He's so good, we can't even fathom the depths of His love for us, and how passionate He was about the mix of gifts and aptitudes, skills and desires He gave us when He personally wove them right into our very DNA! Do we really think He made us who we are just to watch us squirm and writhe against the acute discomfort of being round pegs in square holes? Do we really think the God who loves us is going to dangle big juicy carrots in front of us only to keep them ever out of reach, or to snatch them away when we get close? If we think that, we make Him out to be something He absolutely is NOT--God is not cruel.

God is the original Dreamer of God-sized dreams, and the imprint of His Dreamer-heart is upon us. We are not wrong to dream God-sized dreams, the kind only He can make come true, the kind that are way beyond our own capabilities! Never fear my friends!! 

God is no dangler of carrots!!



It would only be wrong to dream and pursue God-sized dreams
out of pride,
for our own glory,
in our own strength
just for this earthly life
or purely selfish gain;
that is to make the dream an idol and it is
the one way
to invite God to kill (or seriously delay) our dreams, no matter how grand or glorious!!

Never hide your God-sized dreams from God!
Never TELL God what YOU are going to accomplish!
Never believe the enemy's lies about God being a dream-killer!
Never give up on your God-sized dreams!

Always entrust your dreams to God in prayer!
Always stay humble and submit your dreams to God's authority as your Father!
Always believe that God designed you, and all that sparks your dreams, according to His own dreams!
Always pursue your dreams with excellence, and pursue God even more!

Does this mean that every dream we fancy is part of God's dream for us? Not necessarily. Sometimes we dream with wrong motives, sometimes we're just not ready, sometimes one dream denied moves us toward the real dream, and sometimes God tests the strength of our commitment and intensifies our passion with a series of obstacles and delays. Whether they all come true this side of Heaven or not, dreaming God-sized dreams is part of our faith-walk, and God is delighted when we bring our dreams to Him, trusting Him for the outcome and giving Him all the glory. That is a lot easier to do when we know this about Him:

"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

   Glory to God in the church!
   Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
   Glory down all the generations!
   Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!"  Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG


Do you have a hard time believing God for your God-sized dreams?
What Scriptures encourage you to trust Him anyway?
What action will you take TODAY in pursuit of your God-sized, God-honoring dreams?
________________________________________

Joining Bonnie for her Faith Jam:
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