Friday, July 29, 2016

Whose dreams are you living... yours or God's?

"For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to YOUR DREAMS WHICH YOU CAUSE TO BE DREAMED" - Jeremiah 29:8.

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What should define success for a Christian?
Granted, success is the achievement/accomplishment of set goals; but the question is who sets the goals for us as Christians? Whose goals are we to achieve? God's? The world's? Ours? It is very key that we look at these questions critically and reflect on them.

Really, what should be considered success for a Christian?
Can we say a Christian is successful based solely on the fact that he's wealthy?
Can we say a Christian is successful based solely on the fact that he's influential in his field?
Can we say a Christian is successful solely because he has a happy family? Or a great job or business?
All these are niceties honestly, but should our definition of success be based on the world's idea, or on God's?

Who determines the goal posts in a football game?
In football (apologies to non football enthusiasts like moi), the goal posts are put in place even before the players step onto the pitch for the game. The players do not determine where the goal posts would be, they only step out on the pitch, play and aim for the goal already set in place.
Before the game kicks off, the goal posts (which is the basis for measuring success and failure, or victory and defeat in a football game) are already in place.

Likewise, it is not up to us as Christians to define the basis for success and failure, our role is discover where our pre-determined "goal posts" are, play and aim for the goal. In our case, God determines the where the goal posts are!

Interestingly, no matter how good you are as a footballer (or as a football team), if you don't put the ball in the goal, you can't win the game! And you will lost if the other team manages to do so.

Who are the very best footballers in the game?
Think about it, who are those considered the very best players in football? What do they seem to have in common? Skills? Hard work? Fancy footwork? Not exactly. It's goals! That's what they all have in common.
The very best footballers are those who put the ball in the goal more often than the others. They are considered the very best not because they redefined where the goal posts are, but because they "achieve" the pre determined goals by scoring in the goal posts set in place beforehand!

How then does a Christian "score" a goal? You may be asking
Recall that the goal post is the basis for measuring success and failure; "scoring" for us then happens only when we accomplish pre-determined goals set by God! Our success or failure is defined by God and Him alone; and measured on the basis of what He has called us to as individuals and as a collective.
These God-determined goals are what is termed "purpose".

Did you cause yourself to dream or God did?

The Israelites while exiled in Babylon were predictably dreaming up their immediate freedom and return home to Jerusalem, so much so that many prophets "prophesied" their deliverance from captivity, but alas! It was only their dream, not God's. God had to speak through the Prophet Jeremiah to let them know His thoughts, else they'd keep dissipating energy in a futile pursuit.

In a letter (see Jeremiah 29) the Prophet sent from Jerusalem to the captives in Babylon, God detailed His plan for them, warning them in verse 8 to "not...listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed."

Don't we all do that...? Don't we all dream up plans, visions, projects and things we want to accomplish? It's only a problem when it relegates God's plan and purpose to the background.

Please, take a moment and take stock
Can we take a moment to ask ourselves... Did I cause myself to dream or did God place the dream in my heart? Am I actually pursuing my dreams or God's?
Is that project (though with noble motives) actually God's idea or just mine?
Is that initiative (though with commendable objectives) actually God's idea or mine?
Is that line of business (though lucrative and legitimate) God's idea or mine?
Is that guy (though he's nice) really God's idea or mine?
Is she really God's idea or I just like her?

Am I causing myself to dream like the Israelites in Babylon? Am I aiming for the "goal posts"? Am I actually scoring?
Success is the achievement of goals; the question again is "whose goals?"

Our fulfilment is found only in living God's dreams
Jesus could say "it is finished" (i.e. accomplished, fulfilled), because He lived God's dreams. He targeted and "scored" in the "goal posts" set aforetime as He did the works of He who sent Him (John 9:4).
Whose dreams are you living? Whose goals are you pursuing?

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