It is good to be pushed beyond what you think your limits are. To strive to be more than what you thought was ever possible. Some have called it “reaching for the stars.” Seeking to attain your hopes and dream. But is this how God wants His people to live for Him? To make their own plans and strive to achieve what they think they should do?
I will let you in on something. His plans for you are far higher, better, and greater than you could imagine. If you are willing to give up your own. If you are willing to drop your nets and follow Jesus. If you yield to His will, no one could imagine the reward waiting for you, perhaps in this life and in eternity.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:11-14
Rarely are God’s plans for your life a part of your dreams. Rarely does He cater to your desires, but He asks you to walk upon His chosen path. To trust His plan by faith, even when you can’t see one step in front of the other.
His aspirations for you are far greater and His plans more beneficial to the place He wants you to go, for the position He has for you in the Kingdom of Heaven. Why don’t you take your hands off the nets you are casting into a fishless sea? Let the Lord Jesus direct where to exert your efforts. Leave everything behind and follow Him? That is what the Disciples did and they are now pillars among men.
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him. Matthew 4:18-22
Did David dream to be anointed as a king? Was it His desire to be chased like a criminal for years, though he was innocent? Did Joseph dream of being mocked and sold into slavery? Was it his desire to be put in prison for crimes he didn’t commit? Did Noah dream of laboring for one hundred years building an ark, while being continually mocked by all the people who saw his labor?
Yet each one became something great in the eyes of God and before men. If they had not followed God’s path they would only be ordinary men.
Did Abraham dream of wandering from place to place without a home, not knowing where he was going? Did he desire to take His son up the mountain to slay him as a sacrifice? Did Job dream of losing almost all he had tragically overnight? Was it his wish to be told by his friends that he deserved it, because of sins they assumed he committed?
Absolutely not! None of them were acting on their dreams or desires. They did not look ahead to goals and personal aspirations and by their own hard work, blood, and sweat attain their objective.
But they followed God by faith into the unknown. They toiled and suffered greatly on their journey through life, upon the path God had chosen for them. Because of that firm faith in God and His promises, they reaped a bountiful harvest greater than most who have walked this earth. Their rewards are great because their faith in action was great. Because they put their own desires behind them and put God first.
They turned from their dreams and instead of being like everyone else, they denied themselves their selfish wants and followed God’s plan. They looked forward to the future God had for them.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, and they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated of whom the world was not worthy, wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:32-40
They all received a spectacular reward in Heaven. Far beyond any riches or greatness on the earth. So what will you do? Will you continue to walk your own path? Will you stay in the comfort of your own desires, doing whatever you can to obtain your own dreams? I guarantee you that God’s dream for you is far greater than you could imagine.
Drop your nets and your mending tools. Leave the old leaky boat of human success and visions of grandeur and wealth. Turn your eyes on Jesus, take up your cross, and follow Him. Run after Him with a dedication like you have never mustard up before. It will be a rough road and a hard struggle to obtain His dreams for you. But the eternal rewards will be out of this world.
Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26