I believe every man needs a dream worth dying for. Without a big enough godly goal in his life, a man’s heart will shrivel up and die. God made men to fill, rule, and subdue the whole earth (Genesis 1:28).
Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created man in his own image . . .” What is easily overlooked here is the first phrase “God created.” If we are made in his image, this means we must be creating too or else we will not be accurately reflecting God’s image.
That’s what I mean by “a dream worth dying for.” I mean a man must have such a lofty godly goal that it consumes him in a deep way. If a man lacks this and has instead filled his life with little pleasures, safety, and is only dreaming about how he can use his two weeks of vacation this year, his heart will slowly stop beating.
A man without a big enough dream is a sad spectacle to watch. It’s like looking at lion at the zoo. When you look at him, you know he’s something fierce and amazing. But you also know he’s dead on the inside. He rarely moves. He looks bored. He won’t even look at you. All we want is for him to stare us in the eye, to roar, and for him to say with his body language, “I could kill you instantly if I wanted to.” But the caged lion never does that. He just lays there and flips his tail at the flies, waiting for his next feeding time. It’s incredibly sad because you know he would be so much more in the wild. This is a man who isn’t pursuing a big enough dream.
I believe the acceptance of a dreamless man is one of Satan’s greatest tactics against modern masculinity. The devil has put a little carrot in front of us in the form of job security, suburban satisfaction, social acceptance; and many of us follow it right out of God’s will for our lives. We then wake up one morning and wonder why we feel dead inside even though on the outside we have everything we were told would make us happy.
Are your dreams too small? I pray not.
Here are 5 signs your dreams are too small as a man.
1. If You Still Feel Comfortable Talking About Them Publicly, Your Dreams Are Too Small
When your dreams are the right size, you will quickly learn not to talk about them with other people. You will sense their dismissiveness. You will feel them holding back the laughter. The confusion will flash over their face before they regain their composure and say something nice like, “Wow, that’s really cool.”
And this is not a slight or a complaint against other people. It’s your dream. Not their dream. They can’t understand it because God didn’t give them the same vision he’s given you. And they don’t need to understand it. They don’t need to think it’s possible. God gave this dream to you. It’s yours to steward. Not anyone else’s.
If they told you their deepest desire, you wouldn’t understand it either. Proverbs 14:10 (NIV) states, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”
Additionally, it’s dangerous to talk too much about your dreams with others because if they do praise you for this dream, it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something already. Proverbs 14:23 states, “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”
If you’re comfortable talking about your dreams publicly, they aren’t big enough.
2. If You Know How to Accomplish Them, You’re Dreams Are Too Small
If your dream is so simple that you already know how to accomplish it, that’s a problem. Of course there’s no problem with being wise and having a good sense of what to do. That’s needed! That’s a sign you’re walking in your God-given gifting.
But when your dream is the right size, it will include barriers and problems you are not sure how to solve yet. A godly man learns the power of taking the next step he knows to take instead of standing still until he sees every step he will need to take.
It’s like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They didn’t know how the whole story was going to end. They just knew they were not going to worship the false image King Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to worship. They said God could rescue them even if they were thrown into the fire (Daniel 3:17). And then they also said, “But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:18).
When you’re walking in your calling, it’s not all going to make sense all the time. So what. Keep moving forward. If you know how to accomplish everything already, your dreams are not big enough.
3. If You Have Enough Time to Still Be Acting Like a Boy, You’re Dreams Are Too Small
Perhaps the hardest part about being a man in our society is the lack of examples we have of true, biblical masculinity. When we look around, everyone agrees that we are entitled to vacations, breaks, fun, entertainment, good food, a nice car, and so on. I’m not saying these things are inherently bad, I’m just saying that it’s good to need to sacrifice to accomplish something meaningful.
If you aren’t willing to use some of your vacation time to pursue your godly dream, if you aren’t willing to work on your dream in the evening after work and on Saturdays instead of playing video games, if you can’t pursue your dream because you have too many friends you need to hang out with – your dream is not big enough.
1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
4. If Quick Pleasures Are Still More Appealing than Working on Your Dreams, You’re Dreams Are Too Small
What would it take for you to not look at porn anymore? What trade would you make to choose to never play video games again? What would motivate you enough to stop going to the bar on the weekends? The reason you keep falling to quick pleasures is because you haven’t found your calling yet.
When you are pursuing your God-given calling, you don’t have time to waste on stupid, sinful pleasures. I’m talking from experience here. The seasons of backsliding I’ve experienced in my life have occurred when I wasn’t pursuing a big enough goal. When did King David commit adultery with Bathsheba? When he was supposed to be on the battlefield but instead he was resting at home (2 Samuel 11:1-4). Hebrews 12:1-2 states:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
5. If You Can Accomplish Your Dreams in Your Own Strength, They Aren’t Big Enough
One reason modern men lack passion for God is because their lives are so safe they don’t feel like they require him.
Satan loves earthly safety because it fools us into thinking we don’t need God. As C.S. Lewis wrote in the Screwtape Letters, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
Small dreams are dangerous because you can try to do them in your own strength. Your dreams are the right size when you know they are impossible for you to accomplish unless the Lord intervenes. May we all have stories of deliverance to report, like Paul did. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 states:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”
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