We all have dreams of one kind or another. And in America, pursuing our dreams is a nearly sacred cultural value, a moral obligation even. But the Bible teaches us to be wary of our dreams.
Dreams can be things we desire tobecome, like a physician, business executive, missionary, or President of the United States. Dreams can also be things we desire to achieve, like earning a 4.0 GPA, making the varsity soccer team, authoring a book, or eradicating malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Or dreams can be things we desire topossess, like a house, a million dollars, a graduate degree, or a hundred acres of wooded land. Some dream of marriage, or parenthood, or unencumbered singleness. Others dream of preaching, seeing miracles, increasing their public influence, or enjoying anonymity.
All of those dreams might be wonderful, or they might be wicked. The determining factor is what desires are fueling the dreams.
Desires Make All the Difference
Deep wants fuel all our dreams. Values fuel aspirations. Loves fuel longings.
We must never accept our dreams at face value, because dreams are the outworkings of deeper desires. And the nature of those desires makes all the difference in the moral and spiritual quality of our dreams. The Bible gives us numerous contrasting examples of good and evil desires fueling similar superficial actions — the pursuit of dreams.
Cain and Abel both brought offerings to God. Both desired God’s acceptance. God accepted Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. We don’t know why. All we know is God told Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:7). Something was horribly wrong with Cain’s deeper desires that shaped his pursuit of God’s acceptance, and it manifested in his murderous response to his rejected offering.
And then there’s Simon the Magician and Peter. Simon, a signs and wonders celebrity in Samaria, joined the Christian movement when he saw unprecedented spiritual power operating through Philip and the apostles. He earnestly desired such spiritual gifts, but not in the 1 Corinthians [12:31] sense. Simon dreamed of self-glory, which is why Peter called Simon’s desire for spiritual power “wickedness” (Acts [8:22]). Peter and Simon both dreamed of seeing the Holy Spirit minister powerfully to people, but their dreams were fueled by very different desires.
Those examples are fairly black and white. But there’s another that perhaps strikes closer to home, for it illustrates the sort of mixed motives that often muddy our own dreams and desires.
Written by Jon Bloom
Full article at Desiring God