How many of you can say your life has turned out exactly as you thought it would? From an early age, we form a picture in our mind’s eye of what life will be like. What we imagine often evolves from vague dreams stemming from a natural desire to feel significant and valuable. Maybe you mostly dreamt of being a hero, like a fireman who pulls frightened families from burning buildings, a nurse who expertly and compassionately cares for the sick and injured, a missionary who brings the good news of Jesus Christ in foreign fields, or a photojournalist capturing truth for the world to see during times of violence and mass confusion.
Whatever you dreamt, it probably centered around a desire to live a life of purpose and meaning. When I was 13, I wanted to be a model because I believed no one could call me ugly if I had the world’s stamp of approval. Later I wanted to be involved in the most important thing on earth. At the time, I thought it meant finding a cure for cancer. As a baby Christian, I wanted to evangelize everybody because things eternal always beat things temporal. And now as a maturing Christian, I want to worship God by doing His will in Christ.
Of what kind of life did you dream? I doubt your plans had much to do with wiling away the hours in a bland cubicle, crossing T’s and dotting I’s on paperwork that never ends. Your dreams probably weren’t all about working in retail, laying carpet, waiting at tables, collecting cash at a tollbooth, bagging groceries, or working for someone else’s dream. And I highly doubt you ever aspired to a future of homelessness, prostitution, or poverty.
So what did you dream? What did you want to be when you grew up? Has your life turned out as you hoped it would? Is this a measure of success or failure in life? Why or why not?
What do you think the following words of wisdom mean?
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
This is not a treatise on the world’s view of success. I don’t believe we can be anything we want through willpower alone. Not everyone is capable of being a brain surgeon. And because of your own or someone else’s sin, life can land you in places you never thought you’d find yourself. It doesn’t stop there, however, because God can bring good out of the most horrific circumstances. The key is Christ who died on the cross in order to bring us into a right relationship with God. God has a plan for each of us that includes both success and failure as He molds and shapes us into a vessel for noble purpose. True success is the natural outflow of our relationship to God in Christ because it is nothing less than living life His way, on His terms. He is, after all, God. In other words, by following after the Lord in faith and obedience, you may live a far different life from what you once imagined, but you’ll never live more perfectly.
This life satisfies our hungry hearts like nothing else because we were designed to find true satisfaction only in God. Our greatest longing, whether we recognize it or not, is for God Himself. It is His will to give us the desire of our hearts – Himself. Sin has spiritually separated us from God, but the good news is that Jesus’ death on the cross paid the debt of our sins and we have only to avail ourselves of His free forgiveness in Christ.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
It is our choice to receive Him or not. In the end, we get what we have sought after in life – eternal fellowship with God or separation from Him forever.
Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Do you agree with God that you, like everyone, are a sinner in need of forgiveness? Pray something like this:
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I want to be reconciled to you. I believe that Jesus’s death on the cross fully paid for my sins and that you raised him from the dead. I want to live for you. Put your desire into my heart. Be my Savior and Lord. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, please tell a Christian you trust or get in touch with me (see contact page). It is important to grow in your faith alongside other Christians, learning to trust God for true success and satisfaction in your life and beyond. Welcome to the family of God.