Ambitious Dreams

Romans 15:17-29 NIV - Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 21 Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” 22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.  

Though Scripture records Christ calling and appointing His apostles, sometimes “the will of God” can be made much more difficult and impractical than it really is.  When you are obeying God’s revealed will in Scripture and prayerfully seeking His guidance (including through wise counsel), there can also be a time for dreaming big.  To overly-spiritualize every decision, plan, or opportunity can be to fail in faith.  Look at Paul’s example.  God clearly called and empowered Paul as a missionary-apostle-prophet-teacher.  His gifts were confirmed countless times.  Yet in the context of his gifting and calling, Paul made it his ambition - his dream - to proclaim the Good News of Jesus specifically to audiences who had never heard.  This isn’t to say Paul never ministered to established churches - he did, including this very letter to the Romans.  However, Paul’s dream as an apostle was to preach to those who had no church background nor knowledge of Christ whatsoever.  He did not claim that this was exclusively “God’s will”, just that it was his passion, his dream, his holy ambition to do so.  Sometimes, God’s will is ultimately accomplished through our pursuing our dreams and ambitions.  James 3 clearly states that selfish ambition is worldly and demonic, but what about your holy ambitions?  Are we not more likely to pursue selfish ambitions than godly ambitions?  Too often we are paralyzed by inaction, worried that we will “miss the will of God” - not thinking for one moment that our inaction and unwillingness to dream big can actually be a way of missing the will of God. Consistently seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… then dream big!

1 Timothy 3:1 NCV - What I say is true: Anyone wanting to become an overseer [Church leader, elder, pastor] desires a good work.

1 Corinthians 14:1 NIV - Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.

Paul was inspired by God’s Spirit to write Holy Scripture… including the verses which indicate that having the dream or ambition to become a leader (or wanting to exercise a powerful spiritual gift) is a good thing, not an expression of pride or self-centeredness.  As long as your ambitions and desires are clearly aligned with God’s clearly revealed will (in Scripture), be humble and dream big!  

What 1 to 3 “big dreams” would you list as your holy ambition?  Do they clearly align with Scripture? Have you sought wise counsel and advice (not just from those who will tell you what you want to hear OR from those who don’t want you to succeed)?  How will your dreams honor God and bless others?  What active preparations or specific actions will you make this week to pursue a big dream?  (Put a reasonable time limit on pursuing the dream to force yourself out of your comfort zone and into the active faith zone. Then tell the dream to one who will hold you accountable.)