STOP Following Your Dreams!
If you can believe it, you can achieve it; dream big and never give up; follow your dreams at any cost. These are just a few of the myriad clichés floating through the ether about our dreams. A dream can inspire one to innovation, transformation, and success. Scarcely is a self-help book written that is not the result of someone abiding in the “follow your dreams” mentality. One man’s dream may inspire others to see the success of his dream or to dream bigger for themselves. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who is not supportive of the idea of focusing on a vision until it is actualized. After all, you only live once.
What is a dream? A dream is simply a desire for something that is not yet real. Whether that desire is wrought from necessity or from whimsy it remains a desire. To further clarify, in our modern parlance, a dream is generally the thing that we want most out of life. More often than not it is linked to a career path. Very rarely do we find one’s dreams to be anything less than self serving, though they may, as a byproduct, serve others in some capacity. I would dare to say that money/materialism is inextricably tied to most people’s dreams in some capacity. There are, of course, exceptions to everything, but this is speaking in general terms. Many people dream of freedom for example, which may have nothing to do with materialism at all but we are, here, speaking of dreams in the often used modern sense.
This subject is being approached from a decidedly Christian perspective and, as such, it is the objective to withhold conjecture from the matter, as natural inclinations are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). Personal opinions (wants) like personal taste in music cannot be transferred in any meaningful sense and are ultimately useless. One man may enjoy listening to Chopin, while another enjoys B.B. King. It is purely a matter of opinion as to which artist is “better.” Opinions seek to answer subjective questions; we are seeking to answer an objective question. A personal something is not an objective anything. What are those things common to all of us; those universal truths that remain despite opinions? This is the goal. So, should people follow their dreams? NO!
Stop following your dreams! Notice what was NOT said; “stop feeling a certain way,” or “stop wanting something.” We are not speaking of a mere proclivity, but the acting upon it. One may be predisposed to attend live heavy metal rock concerts. If the question were posed: “How can I prevent my hearing from diminishing?” The answer would be, “Stop attending heavy metal rock concerts.” So, what is the real supposed question in mind. We suppose that anyone endeavoring to follow their dreams ultimately wants their highest good. They are following their dreams because they suppose that the achievement of them is in their best interest and is therefore worth the pursuit; the pursuit of happiness. People tend to suppose that the fulfillment of a dream will bring about the highest form of happiness. With this supposed objective in mind we will now address why “following your dreams” is the most destructive maxim in today’s world.
“Follow your dreams” is a phrase that presupposes you are in control of your own destiny; the god of your life, so to speak. When one makes declarative statements about their life with absolute authority they usurp the One that gave them the breath to declare it in the first place. The pot, ever questioning the potter, knowing nothing of pot making but only of “pot being.” The pursuit of dreams is predicated upon the notions that one has the right to pursue them and that those dreams are worthy of pursuit. But, where has this idea come from? Propaganda! The propaganda of cultures, both modern and past (there is nothing new under the sun). We must begin at the beginning.
Man has no rights any more than a pot has a say in what it is or what its purpose “ought” to be. God has made man for His own purposes (Jeremiah 1:5), and therefore our only dream ought to be whatever His will is (Matthew 26:42); to please the one who gave us life. The pride of man is challenged by nothing else in creation. The sum of creation could not begin to approach the Everest of pride that exists in a 3 year old child, much less a 43 year old “well educated” man. We begin from a place of absolute authority, and lead ourselves down a path of destruction rather than saying, “What has God said?” Dreams consume people; they will go without food and sleep in some cases to achieve them. This unbridled pursuit of mere desires is covetousness and idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Any “dream” which does not have as its chief end, ‘submission to God and the glorification of Jesus,’ is a sure path to destruction. Let’s not mince words here; following your dreams will lead you straight to hell. Harsh words you say? The concern should rather be what is true, not palatable. Gravity is not a particularly pleasant reality at times, but one to be diligently heeded when in high places. Palatable or not; is it true?
Dreams are the pursuit of our own desires, whose end is death (Proverbs 14:12). Jesus said very clearly, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). The pursuit of our natural desires is in accord with fallen man and the disregard of God. In effect, this is a violation of the First commandment which says “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). When we define our own terms have we not become gods unto ourselves? Jesus further clarified that the first and great command is to, “…love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew22:37). How can I love God with all of my being, when I am the dictator of my being’s every action? That type of rule is indicative of an unparalleled love of self. This is exactly what propaganda has duped people into believing. Our problem is not that we need to learn how to love ourselves, it is that we need to learn how to love God. When we do this, we will begin to hate ourselves (Romans 7:24), and understand that within us no good thing dwells (Romans 7:18). The great lie being perpetuated today is that you are amazing just the way you are, and that all of your natural inclinations are beautiful and God given. Banish the thought! Your dreams are the result of God-hating machinations, whose chief end is unabashed selfishness. Recall the interaction with Jesus and a rich young ruler, who when propositioned with abandoning his possessions (dreams) to follow Christ, “went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22).
What does it matter if you achieve every dream you’ve ever dreamed if you should lose your own soul? What dream will you give in exchange for your soul (Matthew 16:26)? If the pursuit of dreams is ultimately to achieve “happiness” and “fulfillment” should this not be done with eternity in mind? Happiness cannot be intelligibly spoken of without viewing it from eternity. Eternity is the place where happiness is permanently actualized or forfeited. “Happiness” rooted in temporal things is not true happiness but vaporous euphoria. Any “dream” that meets its death at the same time you do is a vain pursuit. 30 seconds inside eternity all of your dreams will look rather grim. If your life has been spent pursuing your own desires to the exclusion of God, you will stand before Him in shame and hear the dreadful words of Jesus, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). This is no light matter. Your dreams can and will send you to hell. Your self love can and will send you to hell. Your wholehearted pursuit of ANYTHING other than Jesus Christ Himself, can and will send you to hell.
Don’t hear what is not being said. One can pursue God, bringing glory to Jesus and be quite “successful” or innovative. The 17th century is replete with scientists who invented disciplines and were Christians. But, to pursue any goal that doesn’t have God in mind as its chief motivation, no matter how noble it may appear, is a death trap. In fact, for many scientists, it was their devotion to God that inspired them to study His creation. Incidentally, when one is first devoted to God, innovation is the natural byproduct. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge were all divinity schools initially. The pursuit of God had as its natural byproduct the highest standard of education in general, and thereby innovation. George Muller founded the Ashley Down Orphanage in Bristol, England, and cared for over 10,000 orphans during his lifetime. He established 117 schools that educated some 120,000 children. Muller’s innovation was fueled first by his love of God, not his love of self, or the desire for some personal dream. Though the “dream” was personal to him, it was not for him, ultimately, but for God. This type of dream has the dual benefit of both temporal and eternal fulfillment.
Our world is saturated with the the unified theme of “YOU.” We have been lied to by blind leaders who, themselves, are in desperate need of guides. In short, the next time you hear the phrase “follow your dreams” you can rest assured that God has nothing to do with the sentiment. At best it is the creation of a wicked and deceived heart, and is very likely the invention of Satan himself; the father of lies. Everything about the concept of “your dreams” is a grotesque elevation of the stature of man; temerarious foolishness, indeed. If we are going to dream of anything we should dream of God. If we are going to pursue anything it should be His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). True happiness can only be achieved by being in communion with the source of it. Happiness is not something that is found within, but without. Just as with “love” if our definition of “happiness” is off target, then our entire course is off. Now, if your chief goal is to achieve temporal euphoria, with no concern of eternal torment and separation from God then, by all means, follow your dreams. But if, on the other hand, you are concerned with being ultimately happy, then it would be better to experience untold temporal misery, rejection, desolation, and shame in this life for the sake of eternal happiness in the next. Yet, when the Christian is weak, then he is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).
What then is the conclusion: If your dreams have as their chief end, the pursuit of Christ and His glory, and have been tested against the Word of God to see if they are truly noble, then pursue them with all diligence. If, however, they are the result of mere desire and are precluding you, in any way, from pursuing Christ and His glory then abandon them at once. If it would be better to enter heaven maimed and without hands that caused you to sin (Matthew 18:8), how much more (and easier) to enter heaven with certain “dreams” unattained? Many a rich man remains in the throes of untold depression and despair seeking to be fulfilled by that which cannot fulfill, and many a beggar is content (and even temporally happy) with his lot, knowing the eternal riches and bliss that await him in Christ Jesus.
If you want eternal happiness, it will come at the expense of your “dreams” which only seem to provide happiness. Just as cotton candy provides apparent sustenance, so does the realization of an earthly dream provide apparent happiness. It is all fluff. The pursuit of a temporal dream will result in an eternal nightmare. Let God, instead, be the author of your dreams. Let HIS dreams be your pursuit.
STOP following your dreams!!!! START following Jesus! Count the cost (Luke 14:28).
I feel more passionate in life not having to obsess over career. Our duty to YHWH is the most important thing in life. This is the best article you’ve written.
I pray you have been encouraged by it and continue to be by whatever material you find here.
Blessed to know the Lord has used this article to minister to you in some way.
Vanity of vanities… all is vanity. Fear God and keep His commands, said Solomon.
This is very convicting truth. I’m convinced, please keep inspiring others to wake up to the reality of their demise. Love the truth that you share in your videos. God speed, brother.
I pray you have been and continue to be edified by whatever you find here. Sit at Jesus’ feet often.
May the Lord bless you and guide you in truth as you are conformed to the image of Christ.
God bless you.
The hammer slams the nail. Thank you for this article.
I am in between things at the moment and I have reason to believe that my business has gone bust because I have fallen into this deceptive and widespread narrative of, “Follow your dreams; If you can dream it you can achieve it…”
Now here’s the thing though, I knew that there had to be something off about this narrative because it is so prevalent in the world. And why would the Lord allow a worldly and acceptable standard to be the same for His church. But without any alternative voices it was difficult for me to word myself correctly without sounding like somebody with a poverty mindset- however, I suspect that if Jesus walked the earth today and said that “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.” (Matt 8:20), he would be criticised for having a poverty mentality.
The real struggle for me has been laying aside selfish ambition in the light of the recent history of my country (South Africa) and the oppression (Apartheid) of non-whites, of which I am one. Since being given freedom in 1994, this has been the goal- achieve success and catch up to those who have the advantage of generational wealth.
As I say it’s been coming for quite a while that I have suspected myself of playing a worldly and self-serving game using the “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) out of context. So thank you again for being obedient in writing this article and allowing God to use you to say the things which are not being said in this very deceptive age. Dominionism is unbiblical, that is just a fact.
Been praying and asking the Lord where he wants me and I strongly feel that he wants me to remain in the field of business. But I believe it is not for me to become great in my generation. It is to become a tool in equipping those who go into full-time ministry.
I will pray that the Lord protects you and guides you Josh. God bless you man.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Our motivations are everything. Let Christ be your motivation in all you do. Heavenly success lies in our obedience to and exaltation of Christ. Worldly “success” is quantifiable; money, square footage, numbers, etc.
John the Baptist, the apostles and our Lord Himself, by all worldly accounts led “unsuccessful” lives. How we define success is all important. For Peter, success looked like hanging upside down on a cross. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is filled with stories of biblical success whose culmination was death often preceded by poverty and persecution. Let us lay up for ourselves heavenly treasures, my friend.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t work, only motivate yourself with the glory of Christ and use whatever talents you have to advance His kingdom. God allows some to be wealthy on earth, and they become a means of support for those who have nothing. We all have a role to play. But never allow the evil one to cloud your judgment with ideas of “success” which are “according to the basic principles of this world”
Biblical success often looks like sacrifice and is always obedient.
Isaiah was obedient and “successful” and his life ended by being sawn in two.
Our Lord, obedient unto death, led the most successful life in history. His words, “Not my will, but your will be done.”
This is success.
God bless you, brother, and thank you for the prayers.
Do share more Servus with many others about this! I hope you can look though strange fire and see how it can be improved? Cause it seem its not helping John macarthur as he has been compromising. 🙁
With dreams i think the charismatic are stressing that God has plans for you that you should seek out. Dreams are okay as long as it does not take your focus of Christ and you don’t need to look far with dreams anything in life can get your of focus of Christ. Even family could become the central focus and not Christ. I look at the women in the Bible they were providing for Jesus while working in their every day duties. So that is how we should also contend for our lives but since so many are confused cause no leader can show the right way most really won’t know how to live as a Christian? It feels like it does not matter any more cause the reform movement have fallen on its sword from John macarthur to Paul washer. Its all such a depressing shocking news! But thank you Servus that you raise the issue on this!
Sorry, I realize I am very late to the game here, but just wanted to second what Daniel wrote – this is the best article I think you have written. Wish I had come across it earlier last summer when I sat in a “church” where a 20 year old preached on “Follow Your Dreams.” (Exact title.) It was the last “sermon” I listened to there. I and my family no longer go there. Jesus says “Follow me” not “Follow your dreams.”
I’m blessed to know the Lord has used it to minister to you. Follow Him… unto death every day. Take up your cross, my friend. He is our reward; He is the prize; Christ in us the hope of glory.
THIS Word of our Almighty Lord has helped me over and over again and yet I urgently need to remind myself to HIS Word again and again…
Ephesians 6:10-18 New International Version (NIV)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Be blessed in Jesus’s name
Great article and completely true. Great job.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?
I could not agree with you more. If Joseph had dreamed to be set free from the enslavement of Potiphar’s environment, which at times was very restrictive, he would have gone outside of the Will of God and possibly the whole course of history would have been altered.
Well we know that this could not have happened as God’s Will and purpose can never be thwarted by man and will always be fulfilled.
The fact that only a fraction of the world will be saved, means that it is incumbent on all of those who will be saved and are called of God, to take God’s work very seriously and not get involved in any other worldly affairs. This is so because as stated before many are called but few are chosen, and the few will have more than enough to do,
Thank you brother Joshua. I have been uplifted and edified by your Servus Christi channel for years. I have now just seen this site and it is a joy to see truth written. I would love to read your testimony, but don’t know where to find it. I am praying for you brother. You seem to be hated by a lot of people (I usually take that as a good sign :))
“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”
— Luke 6:26
To the extent the Lord has built you up in truth through whatever you have found here, I am grateful to Him. My testimony is in the “about” section: https://servuschristi.com/my-testimony/