Scripture 1: Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8).
Scripture 2: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36KJV)
Dreams are very powerful to us. From the moment we are born, as we grow up, dreams are either implanted upon us or we develop one. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” your mother asked. “I want to be a musician.” Some of our dreams become our purpose. We work hard to pursue them. However, some have pursued them at the cost of killing the soul.
How do We Kill the Soul?
Anxiety and depression have become the most common mental illnesses in the world. Even among entrepreneurs, depression has become an epidemic.
Although the phrase in Mark 8:36 has been associated with the act of losing your soul to the devil, the phrase also covers the aspect of losing your soul in pursuit of a dream.
One of the dreams covered in the scripture is wealth. We live in a time of the American Dream. The pursuit of this dream is associated with wealth. As we say,”money is everything.” The capitalist system does give money a power that we cannot avoid. In as much as we pursue things such as status, fame, or accomplishment in a certain field, money by the end of the day is a powerful motivator.
We live in a world where money is the key to a good education, a good and comfortable house for our families, or that good looking car. However, the dream for wealth can kill the soul. In 1 Timothy 6:10, the scriptures state:
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
They have “erred” in the faith, and have “pierced themselves with many sorrows.” In the pursuit of money, we have ended up dealing with bad divorces, alienation from our children and loved ones, lack of time in the word of God, lack of time in helping others, e.t.c.Instead, we find ourselves using terms such as “time is money.” Most of our time constitutes the endless pursuit of knowledge, skills, and opportunities to make wealth.
To some of us, wealth is not the only dream we pursue. We pursue leadership, we pursue success in a certain sport, or success in a certain art. We have people who pursue their passion in something more than the monetary success that it brings. This is a good thing. In most cases, the pursuit of passion does bring financial breakthrough. Still, there is more about our dreams that we need to understand. We need to understand that God also has His dream for us.
The Case of Joseph
Genesis 37 introduces us to a young man aged 17 called Joseph.Joseph had a dream. In the dream, he was in the field with his brothers tying up sheaves of wheat. As his sheave stood up straight, the sheaves of his brothers formed a circle and bowed to Joseph’s sheaf of wheat (Genesis 37:5-7). This dream meant that Joseph would become a leader. However, his brothers did not take kindly to this dream. The brothers were so bothered with Joseph’s dream that they sold him as a slave.
Most of us with dreams are in a state of slavery. We are on an opposite path to what we wanted. Maybe you wanted to be a fashion designer, but ended up being a single mother. Life happened and since then you have never been able to pick up the dream. However, God never aborts a dream.
When Joseph went to work for an Egyptian official called Potiphar, he worked so well that Potiphar placed him in charge of the slaves (Genesis 39). When he was accused falsely and put in prison, he was such an outstanding prisoner that he was put in charge of his inmates (Genesis 39:19-21). In every environment that Joseph found himself in, he used it to forge his nature as a leader. Above all else the bible talks of God’s favor on Joseph. You see Joseph did not abandon the God of his father. He cleaved on to God and sought to fear him. When you cleave to GOD, then you can pursue your dream without killing your soul.
The GOD of Dreams
Joseph was a man with dreams. He not only had dreams but also interpreted the dreams of others (Genesis 41). The dreams were a gift from God. Maybe Joseph did not understand the path that God had put him in the pursuit of this dream. At one point he is a slave. At another instance he is in prison.
It is not our place to understand the path. This may be difficult for us. Still, we should trust in the giver of the dream. We can rely on God to guide us in a path that will help us forge a character. This character is not only great for our dreams, but also for the purpose of God in our lives.
The Case of David-The King of Israel
The bible does not tell us whether David ever dreamt of becoming king. Still, it is clear that God chooses him because of his heart. God told prophet Samuel in the book of 1Samuel 16:7
Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.
God rejects the tall, handsome, arrogant King Saul in favour of David. David had a character that pleased God. First, he drew his courage from God. When he faced Goliath in the battle field, he tells Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:45:
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied”
Second, David loved God. God testifies of David that “He is a man after my own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14). As a result of this nature, David not only gets to rule as king and win battles, but he also becomes a descendant to Christ. What greater honour can there be!
The beauty of involving God in the dream is that He will not only help you achieve it, but also He adds more to the dream. Solomon was king.Yet, his desire was wisdom. God not only gives him wisdom, but also great wealth (1 Kings 3:5-7). Joseph dreamt of leadership. Not only did he lead, but God gave him two boys (they were called Manasseh and Ephraim) and made him a liberator for the children of Israel. You see, the secret to pursuing the dream without killing the soul is to trust in God.
“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.
Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:5-9)
How Do I Pursue the Dream?
Here are seven key steps to consider as you try to figure out a purpose for your life or that dream that will give you purpose. It does not matter what age you are. Whether you are 17, 10, 3 years old or 93 years old. Moses was eighty years old when God called him (Exodus 7:7), Samuel was 3 years old (1 Samuel 3), and Abraham was 75 years (Genesis 12:4). God can give you a dream. Abraham was 100 years old when God answered his dream for a son (Genesis 17:1-22). Age means nothing to the “Ancient of Days (this is God’s name in Daniel 7:9-10)” So here are the 7 steps you need to consider.
One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, Psalm 62:11
Step 1: Is your Dream God’s Dream?
Is your dream in line with God’s dream or is it contrary to his dream for your life. We live in a society where some people have “twisted” dreams. A man would say, “I want to sleep with a hundred women before I die.” We understand that God is Holy. This is an unholy dream. Your dream may be a good dream. Maybe, you want to be a doctor so that you may heal many. Being a doctor has always been your dream. But now, you are a high school dropout and a single parent. Remember that God is “All-Powerful.” Jesus healed many by the power of the Holy Spirit. If this dream is still in God’s mind and in your heart, you can still become a healer.
Pray to God to confirm your dream. Also, commit your dream into His hand so that He will protect you and guide you in your path. If you feel that it is too late to pursue that dream then be honest about this concern. Abraham in humility told God, “Oh! If Ishmael would be in your eyes,” (Genesis 17:18 King James version). Abraham was 99 years old! But God is still “fixated” on the dream of giving him a descendant. Abraham hints at God to consider Ishmael. Abraham had already given up on the dream. But to an All-Powerful God, you can never really be too sure that it is too late.
Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah give birth at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to GOD, “O that Ishmael might live under your blessing!” But God replied, “Your wife Sarah will indeed bear you a son, and you are to name him Isaac.” (Genesis 17:17-19)
“When we understand that God is All-Powerful, we would not lose our souls in an endless pursuit. We would trust in His steadfast love for us. We would focus on what truly matters to Him, obedience to His word, as we trust in Him to guide our Path.”
Step 2: Prayer. Pray over your dreams. Ask God to give you the strength, wisdom, resources, and support that you need to achieve this dream. “However, not my will but your will be done O LORD (Mark 14:36).
Step 3: Trust in God. “For the LORD is not pleased when sinners perish. He would rather see them repent and live (Ezekiel 33:11).” Also, the bible states, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, never rely on what you think you know. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight,” (Proverbs 3:5-6). For you to avoid the depression, anxiety and stress that comes in the pursuit of a dream, you need to learn to be more trusting in God. David said this in the bible, “I am not concerned with matters too great for me. I have learnt to still and quieten my soul, as a child in its mother’s arms,” (Psalms 131:2). Be still in the hands of God. Trust in Him to help you along the journey to fulfilling your dream.
Step 4: Focus on What Matters. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matthew 6:33). The bible says that God is jealous after the soul. This is because the soul never dies. God wills that the soul that He created in His image should find rest in Him after we die. However, some of us have corrupted ourselves in the world. We have followed paths that have distorted our souls to the point that the Creator cannot recognize it. It is a soul lost in sin. This is why the scriptures insist that we focus on “godliness.” Focus on becoming what Christ would want you to be in accordance to the scriptures. That way, you not only save your soul but also get to see your dreams fulfilled.
“for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save….. Luke 9:56”
Step 5: Pursue Knowledge and Insight We cannot just sit and wait for the god-fairy to wave a magic wand, we have to pursue knowledge. We have to work smart. The bible says in Daniel 1:7 “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” God gave Daniel and his friends the opportunity to not only gain the knowledge that they needed as they served the king, but also understanding. Remember, He is the God of Noah. He is the God who gave Noah the knowledge to build the ark.
Step 6: Courage and Faith The first command that Joshua the son of Nun gets in the book of Joshua is to be of “good courage.” It is not just “be of courage.” Sometimes, we confuse courage for arrogance. We become self-confident in our abilities, knowledge or character to succeed on our own. Do not allow yourself to be a “being of pride or arrogance.” Learn from David as he faces Goliath. He did not say,”I can do this!” instead he said, “In the name of the LORD.’ The Bible calls us to be different from the rest. This is what James meant when he said, “Do not just say, tomorrow I will do this. Do not boast of tomorrow. Say, tomorrow God willing” (James 4:13-15). Christianity is acknowledging that “good courage” is a courage that recognizes the LORD of Strength. It is by His might and favor that we conquer. To this good courage, add your faith in Christ. There is power in His name.
Step 7: There’s more
As your pursue your dreams on earth, remember that you will not be on earth forever. By the end of the day, life ends. Jesus came so that we can have the hope of eternity. Therefore, as you thank God for your accomplishments and as you enjoy the success that you dreamt of, remember that the greatest success is being a part of the kingdom of God. Be faithful in your walk in the christian faith. Prepare yourself for the second coming of the LORD. We do this by:
- Studying His word
- Being led by the Holy Spirit
- Pray continually
- Be a light to others
When Joseph (the 17 year old with dreams) was old and about to die, he told the Israelites about another dream. Joseph knew that one day God would liberate the children of Israel from Egypt. As a result, he left them with instructions to carry his body on the day that God would take them out of Egypt to Canaan (Joshua 24:32/Exodus 13:19)
Abraham also had a dream. Although God gave him the promised son, Isaac. Although he had lived all his life enjoying the protection and blessings of God, the bible says that he died in a tent in the land that God promised to give his descendants (Hebrews 11:10). Abraham died looking forward to a greater dream. The hope of a heavenly jerusalem.
Always remember that God’s ultimate dream is to save your soul. His greatest dream is to guide you unto eternity. Keep that in mind as you plan your life and as you pursue your dreams.
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” Revelation 21:1