“For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” – Romans 11:26
“What is your dream?”
My uncle is known for asking big, intentional questions like this. Questions that challenge you to look into your heart. Questions you may realize you haven’t asked yourself – or if you have, it’s been awhile since you gave it much thought.
The answer to this question reveals a lot about our heart and the things we value. Is our dream, at its root based on comfort, success, or happiness? If we’re honest, is our dream really all about us? Aren’t these things that everyone desires? It sounds an awful lot like the American Dream, and what is so bad about that?
But there’s one specification to my uncle’s question.
“Your dream must be for the glory of God and the benefit of others”.
This question came to mind as I was reading in 1 Kings recently and saw the Lord ask this very thing of Solomon (albeit in different words).
“At Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want Me to give to you’.
Solomon answered, ‘You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.’
Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?’
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have you asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.” I Kings 3:5-12
Wow. Of all the things he could have asked for, Solomon asked for supernatural (humanly unattainable) wisdom so that he could govern God’s people well and in doing so, give God glory. And God didn’t just give him wisdom, He made him the wisest man that ever lived. For God’s glory. Something tells me that Solomon’s greatest dream for himself was the one God had put in his heart.
What I love about this story is the posture of Solomon’s heart toward the Lord. His first response is a grateful heart. He is overwhelmed by the goodness of the Lord in his life already. And it’s out of that overflow that his desire springs. He wants nothing more than to see God glorified. He doesn’t ask for his enemies to be slain, for an easy trial-free life. He doesn’t ask for health or greater prosperity. He wants God to do great things through his life for God’s glory, not his own.
Another attitude of his heart is humility. He recognizes his need for the Lord, knowing he cannot have true and meaningful impact apart from God. He is already king, but he knows it is God who placed him there and it is God alone who can enable him to have world-changing influence. His request is motivated by his love for God and love for others. He calls himself God’s servant and his desire is proof that he’s not just paying lip service.
When asked this dream question years ago, I saw that I didn’t immediately have an answer. I desired to live my life for Christ but what did that really look like? Anything I wanted seemed, in many respects, to be somewhat attainable on my own and simply a quiet Christian life. A little serving here, a little sharing my faith there…nothing like the stories I read in the Bible.
It caused me to dig deeper and think about the things that had excited me the most on my journey with the Lord. The spiritual gifts He had given me. The aspects of His character I most wanted others to experience. It challenged me to examine my heart before Him. Was I walking in humble submission to His will? Was I open to asking Him to give me a dream for His glory?
If we’re not living to further His Kingdom, we’re not really living. We’re wasting our life. What account will we give when we stand before Him on the Day of Judgment? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be full of remorse over a life lived primarily for myself and my self-serving dreams and desires. How sad would that be!
I have to be honest and say that I’m still very much in process in this area. I’m praying about what this means in my life both day-to-day and in the future. Sometimes I feel a little nervous! Living for God’s glory means greater faith, greater submission, greater suffering, and greater dependence on Him. But oh it will be worth it!
So let’s come before the Lord with grateful, humble hearts, acknowledging that He is worthy of our lives! Let’s dare to dream for His glory, all the while submitting to His will and allowing Him to guide us. Let’s start or continue stepping out of our comfort zone to places where we know we cannot do it without His Holy Spirit. Let’s think eternally, seek first His Kingdom, and in doing so, discover all that He has for us…for His glory!