How far will you go to make your dreams come true? That is the tagline of a movie we watched last night, and by the use of the word “make,” we should all smell trouble brewing. Probably because deep down inside, we know it’s not by our own works that the real dreams–the right dreams–of our lives become reality. We can’t make life do what we want. That’s God’s job. Do we trust him?
Most of us don’t end up in twisted murder plots pursuing worldly desires like we see in some Woody Allen films, but we might attempt to force, control or manipulate life into giving us what we want in other ways. Sometimes we don’t know we’re going astray with a new idea; we’re just feeling ambitious and driven. So the question is, what is driving us?
Where We Put Our Trust
There is a perfect calling for each of us, but the sway to do what we think is best for our lives versus what God knows is best for our lives proves challenging without faith. We might stay open as long as it’s convenient, but when our patience expires, we try making a few fast moves while no one watches. Are we climbing the world’s ladder of success, only to reach the top and realize it’s leaning against the wrong wall?
These five signs could signal a lack of trust in God:
1. You depend solely on that advice of others to determine which way to go with your life. (“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” 1 John 4:1)
2. You think God has nothing to do with your daily life decisions. (“He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” John 6:6)
3. You consider crossing a line or justifying an action you wouldn’t normally touch. (“Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!” Exodus 20:20)
4. You compromse integrity for a “greater good.” (“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” 2 Corinthians 13:5)
5. You take the credit rather than thank God. (“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” Romans 11:33)
Go by Faith and Watch God Work
Outside of God, whatever we put our faith in will eventually come to an end. People die; careers fail; beauty fades; money runs out; reputations can be destroyed overnight. When we sit in the silence of our lives, we can feel a presence with us… watching, listening, waiting. God is forever and always; there is nothing and no one greater; his love never fails.
The answer to our success does not come by the mastermind schemes we drum up; it comes from dying daily to ourselves so God can do his work in us. We can start right now by asking God for forgiveness, recogizing that he has a greater plan for our lives–one beyond our human limitations–and trusting that he will guide our steps.
Let’s do what God wants for us, not what we want for us. Where do our own desires land us in the end?
As Paul writes in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God–what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”