Dreams are powerful things. Human beings were designed by God to dream, to dream for something beyond this world’s ability to satisfy, because, as C. S. Lewis noted, we were made for a different world. So there is this inherent frustration that we feel, and in that frustration we tend either to reach out and try to grab the object of our dreams by force, or we lose the ability to dream. Neither of those approaches end well.
A better solution is to reset our dreams to align with the dream that God has for humanity. It is not a dream in the sense that God is hoping for it to happen. It is a dream in the sense that it is in the unrealized future, but because of Jesus it is just as sure and certain as the fact that you are alive.
The dream that God holds for humanity has been described for us in Revelation 21:1-7. There, the author of Revelation, John, describes what Jesus has revealed to him, a new heaven and earth where there is no more death or sorrow or crying or pain, because the old order of things will have passed away, and Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes. God will dwell in our midst because Jesus has completely dealt with all of our sin problem forever and there no longer is any need for any mediating presence or structure between us and God. For the first time since the Garden of Eden, we will be able to walk with God in the garden in the cool of the day.
Resetting our dreams means, first of all, turning away from whatever dream we made have had in the past, and making God vision of the future our personal dream. It will take faith that God will fulfill that dream in the future even as we are fully aware of the reality of our broken and sin-filled present. We trust that God will unfold that future reality according to His purpose, process and timing.
As amazing as that future reality is, what is even more amazing right now is that God invites us to participate in the unfolding of that dream, both individually and as a church. How? It is kind of like baking. You need some ingredients and you need a process. The ingredients are our ideals and our reality and the process is something called making disciples.
Individually, our ideal is Jesus. We want to be like Jesus when we grow up. Why? Because Jesus was the ideal human being. There are things that Jesus could do that we never would do, like His miracles, because He is God and we are not. But qualities like His kindness, gentleness and self-control we can aspire to. And we cling to Jesus as our ideal even as we confess our two-fold reality. We are broken, sinful people and, because of Jesus, we are beloved, forgiven children of God. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we disciple ourselves to become like Jesus. We read in the Bible about the things that Jesus did, like spending time by Himself in prayer to His Father, like make weekly worship a regular habit, and we do the same things.
As a church, our ideal is the church in heaven, that vast crowd from every tribe, nation and language group described in Revelation 7:9-11, and the church as it will be in the new heaven and earth, that bride beautifully adorned for her Husband, described in Revelation 21:1-7. Our reality as a church is also two-fold. We are broken, sinful people who hurt people and bring shame and dishonor to the name of God. But, because of Jesus, we are also that beautiful Bride of Christ who has been cleansed by the washing of water with the Word (Ephesians 5:25-27). Our process, as a church, is to teach other people how to be disciples of Jesus.
With Jesus, your future is set. You don’t have to worry about anything at all, for God is going to unfold the future for you just as He said that He would, and it will be very good for you in the end. But there are many people who are dying without Jesus, and life in the new heaven and earth with Him will not be part of their future. In Ephesians 3:20, we read, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” In this passage, I believe that God is encouraging us to dream extravagantly about the ways that we can make more disciples for Jesus so that the new heaven and earth are more filled with people than they would otherwise be.
If we dream a big dream and we don’t accomplish that dream, that only means that God has something better in mind for us. But when we begin dreaming along with God, we begin to see the possibilities that God will open up before us.
Come let us dream together!
Dear Jesus, thank you for making my future brighter and more glorious than I could ever ask or imagine. Help me to align my dreams with Yours. Help me to become more like You. Please use me to draw more people closer to You. Amen.