I think most Christians would agree that not every desire and dream is from God. We all go through many seasons and phases and cultivate new plans, hopes, and ambitions. But how to know if your desire is part of God’s plan for your life? Jonathan Malm at Relevant Magazine provides 3 Ways to Know Your Ambition is From God.
1. It Will Ultimately Bring Glory to God.
According to Malm,
“That doesn’t mean your dream has to be labeled with the Christian fish or cluttered with crucifixes. But it also means your dream won’t reflect poorly on God.
For instance, a dream that skirts legal lines and flirts with something unethical isn’t from God. God will never ask you to do something contrary to His Word. But a dream that demonstrates hope, love, peace—God gets glory in that.”
Author Brady Boyd writes of a time when he put his family on hold to relentlessly pursue his own interests. Though he was a pastor, coach, and volunteer (all things seemingly bringing glory to God), in truth, something deeper was afoot.
“I was in my glory. Which should have been my first clue that something was amiss. It was my glory I was seeking. And it was my glory that I gained.”
In the end he nearly lost his wife, and he was only able to rebuild his family (and bring glory to God) by surrendering his own priorities and activities.
2. It Will Benefit Others.
“God’s heartbeat is people, and He’s more concerned with how we treat others than with material success.
Any dream that involves taking advantage of people or capitalizing on someone else’s misfortune isn’t from God. Stay away from any business endeavor or plan like that…
‘Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows’ (Isaiah 1:17).”
Steve Goodwin shares an experience with Crosswalk where a business opportunity required a moral compromise he wasn’t willing to make. He turned down the offer, but in doing so, made a lasting impact on another person – even helping this person out of depression and back on the road to following Christ. Goodwin learned,
“Never be frightened to stand by your faith. Standing by your faith shows you care. When you shrug your shoulders and accept all and sundry, it implies you do not care about others and what happens to them.”
3. It Will Seem Bigger Than What You Can Handle On Your Own.
Everyone’s path is different, Malm explains, but everyone’s true vocation will be a challenging and growing experience.
“God doesn’t give little dreams. God loves doing significant things through seemingly insignificant people.
For some, an audacious dream would be to raise godly children. For others, it might be to love their spouse in a way they never saw their parents love. Still for another, it could be to write a book. To make a movie. To start an orphanage. God loves giving us big dreams so that when we see them come to pass, we know it was because of God’s hand and not our own.”
Hearing and pursuing a calling is a long road – some would say a journey that never truly ends. Melissa Hawks encourages us to remember that God Isn’t Limited By Your Success or Failure.
“God can use my choices. Wise and unwise. Brilliant and terrifying, for his purposes, because he is the most amazing writer of all time. And he sees the end from the beginning. He already knows which step or misstep this screwed up hero is going to take.”
And when asked to describe the difference between God’s calling, and simply a personal desire, Nicole Unice explained:
“I think the more we desire God, the more our desires will always match up with his. And that’s not something you can quantify, or know exactly when that’s the case. But what I want to tell people all the time is: cultivate a relationship with Jesus. Want the mind of Christ. Desire for his will to be done. And your desires are going to come in line…you can trust yourself more and more the more you love and desire God’s will.” (watch full video here!)
Have you ever struggled to know whether something you desires, or a job you really wanted, was from the Lord? Be sure to check our Crosswalk’s Careers channel for more on this topic, and for articles on the call to Christian ministry and church leadership, check out our Pastors channel and visit ChurchPastor.com.
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor at Crosswalk.com
Publication date: October 29, 2014