I have spent much time of late wandering through the dreams I once held dear. A vapor they are. Cold now. Nearly forgotten, but not entirely. It seems strange to revisit them in the aftermath of their dispersal. They once were fueled by the passion and conviction of youth. Now the jaded edge of middle-age tempers the fire. Or so it seems. I cannot be sure because there seems to be a fanning into flame of a far more potent dream, one not bogged down by the complex expectations relevant to success no longer pursued.
Many are the vignettes that people weave into their personal stories, hoping to achieve a best-selling masterpiece. For me it is quite simple. Love God and love people, recognizing that my selfishness is the greatest obstacle to both goals. Therefore, I must ask God to help me become less, so that he can become more in and through my life, thereby enabling me to serve with authentic humility. Only by his power can this begin to happen. Only by taking up my cross may I begin to posture my heart to receive God’s grace in this way.
Such a dreadful prospect, this taking up of the cross. It means dying to self. All that I hold dear. All that smolders in the dark places of my heart. All that beguiles me. All that persuades me to believe I am something that I am not. Dying to self. Living for Christ. Momentary pain with the prospect of joy unspeakable. Yet, the pain seems too unbearable to endure. So I am tempted to negotiate moderation in this taking up of the cross. An appearance of godliness which denies its power. A sham which convinces others for awhile, but does not fool God. A vapor. Like those dreams I once held dear.
Through the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit all that stuff is blown away, like chaff sifted from the true grain. What’s left is what pleases God. Only by God’s grace through Jesus Christ will I survive and thrive. For it is Christ living in me who conducts himself according to the purposes God has ordained for me. My heart is dreadfully wicked and prone to hypocrisy. But Jesus is transforming me to be obedient, conforming my will, and refining my future to line up with the dreams that God has for me, dreams that are substantial, rather than vaporous.
What about you? Are your dreams a vapor or are they substantial based on God’s purposes for your life?