Monday, January 05, 2009

More Important than Dreams

{Genesis 37:5-11; NET}
Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him even more. He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the middle of the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose up and stood upright and your sheaves surrounded my sheaf and bowed down to it!" Then his brothers asked him, "Do you really think you will rule over us or have dominion over us?" They hated him even more because of his dream and because of what he said.

Then he had another dream, and told it to his brothers. "Look," he said. "I had another dream. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me." When he told his father and his brothers, his father rebuked him, saying, "What is this dream that you had? Will I, your mother, and your brothers really come and bow down to you?" His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept in mind what Joseph said.

Joseph was a dreamer. God chose two dreams to reveal to the young man the destiny of his life. I suspect that when Joseph told his brothers and his parents about the dreams he was thinking more about the destiny rather than the process that would be required to achieve that destiny. Yet, the path to dream fulfillment that God planned for Joseph was beyond Joseph’s wildest dreams. The path wasn’t about working hard in school and developing good leadership skills, but it was about developing character and maturing faith. Joseph traveled the paths of rejection, slavery, temptation, and false imprisonment in order to live the life of his dreams.

God gave Joseph the dreams for his life. That is rarely the case for us. More often than not the dreams we have for our lives are of our own making, but that doesn’t make our dreams worthless. What gives our dreams value is whether or not we allow God’s Word to influence those dreams. I believe that God shapes the dreams for our lives when we allow Scripture to penetrate our hearts and minds. Psalm 119:105 says; Your word is a lamp to walk by, and a light to illumine my path (NET).

The problem with dreams isn’t with the dreaming, but with living them out. We may want to be the hero, the leader, the wonderful father, the loving mother, the generous giver, or the secret servant, but we don’t want to do what it takes to get there. We give up on our dreams because the journey is to hard.

Consider Joseph again. What ultimately mattered in Joseph’s life wasn’t his dream destiny, but his character. Being second-in-command in Egypt would mean nothing if Joseph didn’t remain faithful. What God desired from Joseph’s life was faith and obedience. Joseph’s dreams only had significance because he remained faithful to God when it was difficult.

What God desires from our lives, isn’t that we do something great for Him, but that we live faithful lives every day. God’s Kingdom isn’t about superstars, but it is about people with godly character. The way we will live out the dreams God has for our lives is by being people of faith. Those are the people God choses to use to make a difference.

At the start of a new year let us take a lesson from the life of Joseph. Instead of focusing on dreams and goals and becoming discouraged when we fail, let us focus on our character. In the long run our character will be far more valuable.

  • Point to Ponder: Your character is more important than your dreams.
  • Questions to Consider: What is a dream you have for your life? Has it been influenced by God’s Word? Why is character so important? What are some areas of your character that you need to work on?
  • Prayer to Pray: Lord God, I ask that You will guide my dreams and help me see my life from Your perspective. Please provide me with the wisdom I need to make the right choices for my life...

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