One of life’s greatest blessings is our ability to dream. I am not talking so much about the dreams we have at night when we are sleeping. Instead, I am talking about the dreams we have for our lives, those things that we can envision ourselves doing that create a sense of happiness, accomplishment, and well-being. These kind of dreams, especially when they are God-given and truly inspired, create passion in our lives and provide us with a sense of meaning and purpose. I like to call these visionary blessings “Kingdom Dreams.”
A kingdom dream is one that is aligned with God’s overall plan and purpose for life on this planet, which is to restore humankind to its intended status as spirit beings created in His image. God’s great story is one of restoration, renewal, and spiritual revival and is aimed toward the establishment of Christ’s kingdom here on earth. Our personal kingdom dreams are those that are connected with this universal purpose.
This world, however, is not always conducive to fostering kingdom dreams. Instead, the values of this world are in many ways opposed to the kind of principles and values that are inherent in God’s kingdom. When we are over-exposed to the world’s values and voices without any counter-balancing influence, our own personal dreams often end up withering away. More than a few of us meet with discouragement, disappointment, and a cacophony of negative voices that end up stifling our God-given passion for a particular dream and we end up either putting it on the back burner or forgetting it altogether.
This process of “dream defeat” begins with our thought life. We begin to doubt our abilities and our circumstances and in the final analysis, we even doubt our God. That is why the Apostle Paul warned us to take every thought captive for Christ and to tear down those strongholds of defeat and discouragement. In essence, Paul was telling us to master our minds. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do just that, but it is a process that takes place over time.
When we make progress in mastering our thought life, one thing we become increasingly aware of is how we have allowed others to place limitations on us. “You’ll never amount to anything,” a teacher may have told you. “If you can screw something up, you will,” another authority figure may have told you repeatedly. I remember my Dad often told me that I was careless and irresponsible. ‘If you live to see 21 it will be a miracle,” he often said.
My point in saying these things is that you come to understand that only two entities in this universe can set limits on what you can accomplish: you and God. It is vitally important that you come to have a deeper understanding of just how God sees you and then come to view yourself in the same way. We will talk about that a little later on. Right now, what I want to put before you is the importance of your dreams. Others may have put limitations on you or told you your dreams were unrealistic. Well, it is now time to resurrect those delayed dream , dust them off, examine them, and, if you still are passionate about that dream, take it before God. If you determine that God has that dream for you as well, then get busy. The only one that can stop God’s dream for your life is you.
I strongly appreciate these words by Erwin Raphael McManus. If you haven’t read his book “Wide Awake,” I suggest that you do so. McManus tells us:
What you expect from yourself and your life has a direct effect on what you will get out of life. How you imagine yourself and your future has a huge effect on what actually happens. Creating the life of your dreams begins with the dream. It begins with the ability to imagine yourself different than you are and your life differently than it is.
The fact is I have a potential placed in me by God Himself and it is God’s desire that I find my mission and get moving. You, too, have a mission – a divinely ordained purpose and it is God’s great wish that you take up the challenge of finding that purpose, manifesting your potential and talents, and achieving your dreams. And be assured of one other truth: God would never place a dream in your heart without giving you the talent to make it a reality. It may take hard work and a strong commitment to excellence, but your dream can be realized if it is aligned with God’s purpose for your life and you put forth the necessary work to make it happen.
We can see firsthand the power of a dream whose time has come when we look at the first disciples. We have only a small record in scripture of the interactions between Jesus and his disciples, yet we can imagine that they engaged in many profound conversations as they traveled from one place to another or as they shared meals together. I think one of the things that the Master must have taught his disciples is how to engage daily life in a realistic, positive manner. He was clear with them that they would face trials and tribulations, yet he balanced that cautionary teaching with a healthy optimism by telling them that they could realistically expect to have an abundant life because he came. He also told them not to worry because he was leaving and he promised them the advent of the Comforter who would instruct them and empower them.
Jesus knew that with the power of the Holy Spirit, this very same ragtag assortment of men would soon change the world completely. And change the world they did. The Master expects the same thing from us in the current age. With the wisdom and the power provided by the Holy Spirit, we are to become Christ’s hands, feet, and heart in this hurting world. If your dream, no matter how long you have put it off and no matter how impossible it may seem, is in line with these kingdom themes, then your dream is a kingdom dream.
If you have a long-forgotten or misplaced kingdom dream, let me encourage you to resurrect that dream without wasting another moment of God’s precious time. It doesn’t matter what size the dream is – kingdom dreams come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe you want to start a ministry; maybe you want to teach a class; maybe you want to start a business; maybe you want to write a book. Whatever the dream, if it fits in with God’s plan of restoration and the establishment of the kingdom on earth, then bring it out of mothballs and get motivated. Pay no attention to the naysayers and the voices of discouragement and doubt. If the dream is from God, there is no way you can fail.
One of the most significant aspects of the Creator’s provision lies in the fact that he never sends any of us into this world empty handed. With infinite wisdom and grace, he has placed a great treasure inside each and every one of us – a treasure beyond price. Each person arrives at birth with a divine potential planted in his or her heart. This potential contains the vision God has for that particular person as well as the talents, skills, and creativity to make that potential a manifest reality. Dr. Myles Munroe, the highly-respected pastor and Bible teacher, speaks eloquently of this seed of potential planted within each of us:
The entire creation possesses this principle of potential. Everything has the natural instinct to release its ability. The plant and animal kingdoms abound with evidences of this fact. The Creator designed everything with this principle of potential, which can be simplified to the concept of a seed. The biblical document states that God created everything with ‘seed in it according to their kinds’ (Genesis 1:12). In essence, hidden within everything is the potential to fulfill itself and produce much more than we see.
It is vital that every person understand that we are responsible for developing the potential stored within us. We must deepen our contact with our divine potential, which I call our Sacred Self, and do all that we can to nurture, feed, and actualize our true potential. Further, we must recognize that as we move forward in developing our optimal potential, we can never afford to stop. In essence, when we travel the spiritual journey, we are either moving forward or backward. There is truly no place to stand on the spiritual path.
Our journey of discovering and developing our divine potential must begin with a commitment to excellence – an agreement with our Creator that we will walk in cooperation with the Spirit to become the best version of ourselves.
Necessarily, this commitment will involve personal challenges and, at times, a degree of personal discomfort. Spiritual growth involves change and change always requires stepping out of our comfort zone. Still, the process of realizing and manifesting our divine potential is one of the greatest adventures we will ever undertake.
When we make a commitment to excellence, we are basically telling God and ourselves that we are finally getting serious about our spiritual development. When we firmly dedicate ourselves to become who God intended us to be, we get honest with ourselves about where we are, where we are not, and where God wants us to go. We then make a personal commitment to, with God’s help, become all that we were created to be, all that we were intended to be, and, in the final analysis, all that we truly are.
Please understand that your kingdom dream is intimately connected with your divine potential. In fact, it is the realization of your potential that will allow you to make your dream a reality. And also understand that the development of your potential and the realization of your kingdom dream is the major part of the spiritual path that will allow you to become the optimal version of yourself. When, in partnership with the Holy Spirit, you do that you begin to walk in personal excellence and more importantly, you are of optimal benefit to others.
Don’t allow yourself to do what so many other talented people have done – take your dream to the grave with you. Don’t allow your kingdom dream to, along with your bones, turn to dust. Instead, understand this central point: the world needs you and your dream. Take to heart these words by Erwin Raphael McManus:
Earth’s unlimited resource is the gifts, talents, passions, imagination, and ingenuity of its citizens. You would think we would know this by now, but we often seem to miss the gift right in front of us. The world needs you to find the hero within you. The real battle is not between good and evil but between less and more. Most of us don’t choose the worst life; we just don’t choose the best. We can’t afford for you to sleep through your dreams…..The world needs you at your best. This planet is made better or worse by the people we choose to become. If you live a diminished life, it is not only you who loses, but the world loses, and humanity loses. There is a story to be written by your life and though it may never inspire a graphic novel, it is a heroic tale nonetheless. Though you may not recognize it, there is greatness in you.
With these thoughts in mind, bring back your forgotten dreams and reexamine them in light of the principles discussed in this article. Begin to prayerfully formulate a plan for taking the first steps toward getting your kingdom dream off the ground. You can move forward in the confident assurance that you don’t have to go it alone. God has got your back and you can count on Him. Trust the scripture when it says:
For I am confident of this very thing – that he who began a good work in you will perfect it…(Phil. 1:6 NAS)
© L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved