24 Mar 2020

3 Reasons to Pursue the Dream

Nathan Camp

Having been in ministry for many years and part of growing and planting churches, I can tell you one thing about ministry that is absolutely true: There is no ground we are called to take for the Lord that comes uncontested. 

What this means is that there is always a fight for the vision in our hearts. There is always resistance to the land that God has called us to take for His name. There will always be challenges and trials. There will always be reasons beckoning us to abandon what God has put in our hearts. It might be financial, health, relationships, or a billion other reasons. But the truth is, if you are going to do anything significant for God, you have to understand that you will encounter a fight. 

Why is that important to remind ourselves of now? Because all the reasons why "it can't happen" are going through the roof! There are challenges of every kind that are going to rear their heads with the sole intent of getting you to walk away from what God has called you to do because there is no ground we are called to take for God that comes uncontested. 

So, how do we move forward in the most uncertain times? 

1. See the value of perseverance

Perseverance—sometimes translated as the word 'endurance' in the Bible—is more than just not giving up; it's pressing through when giving up feels more attractive. It is the well of strength that comes when we feel like we cannot go any further, and yet our inner man digs down deep and finds the will to continue. We persevere through the challenge, through the fight, through the excuses, through the naysayers, through the affronts and assaults of the enemy. The man or woman of perseverance knows the value of simply staying in the fight.

I love Paul's imagery when he says in Philippians 3:12, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…" 

Pressing on. Not quitting. Fighting through. Even the terms "lay hold" and "laid hold" remind me of wrestling terms. These are not passive handshakes; this is grabbing ahold of the very calling of God and refusing to let go no matter what comes our way!

In these moments, we are reminded that we are not to pursue the call of God with passivity, but with spiritual perseverance that refuses to be denied. 

I want to give you three encouragements I have learned from people that have pursued their dreams despite all the reasons to have given up. It is my hope that there is something in these words that God uses to keep the flame for His calling alive in your heart, even when everything seems to be trying to extinguish that flame. It all comes down to what you see. 

2. See the calling come to pass

It is so easy in days of trials to forget. To forget the calling of God. To forget when He grabbed our hearts and whispered great visions of what 'could be and should be,' to quote Andy Stanley. We can begin to question that calling: 

Did God really call me to start that church - that ministry - that home - that business - that outreach, and so on?

It's natural to go through this. When it is raining so hard that our vision is blurred, it is difficult to find our way home. However, the current circumstances—COVID-19 and all—are no reason to forget the calling of God on our lives. 

One of my heroes, a missionary to India, said something that gripped me. "Do not get insecure today about something you were confident about two weeks ago!" Her words are a reminder that God is unmoved by these circumstances and challenges. He did not call us to follow His leading and vision for our lives only if everything is easy and right. He called us no matter what! 

What has God called you to do? Do you and I really think this situation in which we find ourselves is a reason to forfeit that call? Surely not! Is God in heaven saying, "Oh, there's a crisis; never mind. I change my mind." It is more likely, and perhaps even more consistent with the tenor of Scripture that God is calling us full throttle into the battle with the vision in our heart as the very weapon to help with the war in that area. 

Has God called you? Then refuse to see any other future than the one that has that vision coming to pass!

3. See the price of forfeiture

There is another thing to see, which motivates in a way that many things cannot, and that is seeing a future without the dream coming to pass. What happens if you do not go for it? What happens if that church stays lodged in your heart alone but never sees the light of day? What happens to that ministry if it remains a whisper only? Where do those people go for help? For love? For truth? For freedom? The price is simply too high not to go for that with which God has gripped your heart. Too many people, towns, and cities are waiting for your vision to come to pass!

I would say with great confidence that perhaps it is "…for such a time as this…" that we must allow the future to be shaped by those who refuse to give up, who keep dreaming in spite of the trials, and are moved by the price of inaction more than the cost of the obstacles. 

True, there is no ground we are called to take by the Lord that will come uncontested, but that is the way the Kingdom of God works. So, dear friend, arise and shake off the dust and fear and worry. Be confident that He who called you is faithful to complete the work in you. Go get your ground! 

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