Years ago, I saw a famous Christian singer being interviewed on television. She was talking about how she had always wanted to reach millions for Christ with her musical talents, and to glorify God with her notoriety. Then she said something that really made an impression on me, and that has stuck with me till this day. She said that she decided long ago that if the Lord didn't allow her dream to be fulfilled, she would just depend on Him to give her the grace to deal with it -- and she would go on and enjoy her life just the same. What I admired most about this young woman was that she had the faith and the courage to put her dreams and desires "on the altar," and to leave them in God's hands. She admitted that she would have been sorely disappointed if her dreams didn't come to pass, but she refused to have a "do or die" attitude about her heartfelt desires, and she surrendered them to the Lord.
There's nothing wrong with having visions, dreams, and goals. God wants us to have these things. But He wants us to have goals that line up with His will for us. When we get into agreement with God's will and purposes for our lives, there's no devil in hell, no person on earth, that can stop them from coming to pass. In fact, the only one who can really stand between us and our God-given destiny is us. Satan can't. Our families can't. Our bosses can't. Even the government can't. No one can prevent us from becoming the man or woman of God that we were created to be. Except us. We can live our lives the way we want to, and we can turn our backs on God's perfect plans for us, if we so choose. And in the end, all we will have to show for it is regret. Or we can get in line with God's will for us, and we can watch Him unfold our lives like a beautiful flower, one petal at a time. We can do this by surrendering ourselves to the Lord - spirit, soul, and body. And by seeking Him and His will for us every day of our lives through prayer, devotion, and the study of His Word.
One thing I've learned from walking with the Lord these twenty years is this - God will test our devotion to Him by letting us experience times of disappointment, especially where the fulfillment of our dreams is concerned. How we respond to these disappointments will help determine how much God can use us and bless us. If we respond with pouting, sulking, complaining, or threatening, God will have to treat us like the babies we're imitating, and He will not be able to trust us with the level of responsibility or blessing He longs to. But if we respond with an attitude that says - "God, I don't understand this, and it really hurts, but I believe that You are good, and You will work this out for my good". The Lord will reward our faithfulness and spiritual maturity beyond our highest expectations.
I recently heard a definition for "idol" that made me shudder. It said, "An idol is anything you feel you can't live without, and be happy." It can be a dream, a desire, a thing, or even a person. The Bible says that our God is a jealous God, and He's not about to share us with anything or anyone else. (Exodus 20:5) He expects our wholehearted devotion, and He deserves it, simply because He's God. If we ever find ourselves desiring something so much that we feel we can't live without it, God may close the door to it - either temporarily or permanently - depending on what He feels is best for our spiritual well-being. The Lord wants us to be able to say with all sincerity, "God, I can live without this dream - but I can't live without YOU!" With an attitude like this, we can walk in the awesome plans and purposes that God has mapped out for us, and we can have all the joy, peace, and fulfillment that are ours in Christ.
If God has closed a door on a heartfelt desire or dream of yours today, take comfort in the fact that He is saying to you one of two things. Either it's, "Wait. It's not the right time yet." Or, "I have something better for you." In either case, you can't lose, because you have put your trust in a God who loves you with a perfect love, and who has your best interests at heart!
Prayer: Lord, show me Your will and purposes for my life, and help me to make them my personal goals. Help me to always give You first place in my life, so that everything else will fall into place. When I experience disappointment and heartache, comfort me, and fill me with a fresh sense of hope. I can live without the things of this world, Lord - but I can't live without YOU!
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