LIVE UP God's Dream 3

There's a common thread to living up to God's dream. LIVE UP!

L - Lean, Listen and Learn. We just don't drift in life. We learn and we become who we lean into, and listen to. Though we absorb life lessons in different ways, we need to move past just being copy/past learners or even a paraphraser and into a transformed learner, willing to learn to be transformed by the Master Teacher, the One who can only transform lives.

I - Infuse Reality with Grace. God dreams that we live in His grace--- for our reality, our everyday, our present, our today. Accepting God's grace moves us from our past and turns our today into a blessing, a present from heaven indeed. With His grace infused into every corner of our lives, we can be gracious with those around us, including even ourselves. We are able to forgive for we have been forgiven. We can give for heaven has given us everything in Christ Jesus. We can even give of ourselves, care and love for we know that God takes care of our every need.

V- Voice out Truth. The only standard for truth is God's Word. We can never live up to God's dreams for us when we listen to the lies of the enemy, value others' opinions above God's Word, and depend on our own wisdom. We need to voice out truth over our circumstances and over our own feelings. All else will pass away. Only God's Word will remain. Knowing God through His Word, His character and will, gets us to fulfilling His dreams for us.

E - Embrace Servanthood. As I'm writing this, every ounce of my flesh is rebelling. How can somebody want servanthood gladly, willingly? Ask Hannah.

Hannah is a friend's seven-year-old daughter. She is pretty and smart and has already bagged a beauty title at such a young age--- the Little Miss Earth - Philippines title. So when my five-year-old daughter, Angelika, suggested to her, one day during a play date, that Hannah be her maid while she gets to be the princess, Hannah right away objected. "I don't want to be a maid!" Being smart, she found a way to diffuse the high tension. She said, "You will be the princess and I will be the queen." My daughter was happy with the royal arrangement.

We (myself included) all want to be pampered, to be waited on, to be served, to lead; rather than to serve and be the tail. Is this really what God wants from us? Does He want us humble and serving? Like Hannah, my carnal flesh says 'no'.

Yet, I read something from Moses story that many must already have done. There was Moses taken out from slavery and death in his babyhood, and placed in a palace in his youth, trained to lead and command. But somehow, that was not what God dreamt for Moses. He didn't dream of him as ruler of Egypt. He has something far more greater for him up His sleeve.

God wanted him to serve. But that would be impossible to do in a palace. So God took him to the wilderness where he got a special training in service--- shepherding. There he was, humbled, lowly, no self-importance left  in him from all the daily grind of leading and tending the sheep in his care. And in that condition, God called him. God thought that in that condition, he was ready. Unconfident, unwilling, scared, Moses went in the power of God and led God's chosen people out of slavery, endured their stubborness, patient in their rebelliousness, up to the border of the Promised Land.

Does God want servanthood from us? After Jesus washed the disciples feet, he sat down and said: "I have given you an example that you should also do as I have done for you" (John 13:12-17). The way to the Kingdom is Jesus. To be great is to serve just as Jesus had done (Matthew 20:25-28).

Yes, the path to God's dream is often not what we envision. It is more. And it often demands from us far more than we are comfortable to give. It demands from us not just duty but service; not just faithfulness but longsuffering and patience; not just lip-service but heart-service; not just cheerfulness but passion. It demands from us a heart of a bondservant.

A bondservant only has one desire: to please her Lord. Paul totally understood that there is no way to repay God for all His benefits. And it is with a heart of gratitude that he lived his life as God's bondservant, always on God's beck and call. With freedom given to him, he knew that there is no other way to be free but to live to please God and to wait on Him (Galatians 1:10).

Every sincere follower of Christ knows that the path Christ took was not the most popular, the most comfortable, not even the safest. But too often, we think that as long as we follow God we will have the smoothest life there ever is. And so we treat God as a waiter, waiting on our every whim when we so desire to pray. And when our prayers aren't answered the way we want, we get miffed. We have been spoiled. Our society has trained us to expect instant results and pleasure from the stuff that we have. And we often think that we are entitled to what we want. We expect comfort, safety, success and a happy life. We miss God's dream for us. We miss growing up.

In contrast, read what being a servant to God entails. (2 Corinthians 6:4-10)

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

However Paul served God, this is nothing compared to what his King went through. Read James 2:6-8 prayerfully, and reflect on what it took for Christ to do all these for us.

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God

Something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,

    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man
    he humbled himself

    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!

How ridiculous for us mere human beings to even aspire to be something when our very God made Himself nothing for us! How preposterous to think that we desire importance, recognition, respect when Christ chose servanthood. How puny must our acts of service look beside His unwavering decision to take on humanity and suffer the most obscure of life and shameful of death. It would take all of our pride and self-importance, cast at His feet, then His cross taken up just to follow Him in His footsteps. But even that is not enough.

How can we do as He did with all our pride and self-importance? The only way we can really follow in Christ's footsteps is to have the heart of a servant as Christ had, embracing servanthood and all that it entails: pride shattered, and in its place, humility. Only by God's power.

Even understanding this, I continue to struggle with my heart of flesh. My selfishness often gets in the way of my longing to be one of those called by the King as His servants. So I ask God everyday to help me die to self and to humbly submit to His will, living for the audience and pleasure of Him alone, and not of men and not even of myself (Ephesians 6:6). Being God's servant, our joy, our glory, our every dream is anchored on Him. "Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hands of their masters, as the eyes of the maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God" (Psalm 123:2).

I don't know if I'm even close to embracing servanthood, really embrace it and all that is in it, but I find that there is joy in God's service, and I wonder if that is why Christ willingly took on the nature of being a servant and in so doing fulfill the plan of salvation for me and for you. In the same way, in the joy of the Lord, we can fulfill God's dreams for us--- that dream of having "the same attitude that Christ Jesus had" (Philippians 2:5). We embrace the path of servanthood because we have been served by God, because He has promised to walk the length of it with us, and because it serves a greater purpose than our own selfish agendas and desires. Servanthood is a path of blessing that rewards us far more than what anyone of us can dream of and unequaled by what the world can give.

Next post: LIVE UP God's dream 4. Sorry. I promise there won't be a 5. :)

You may also like to read...

LIVE UP God's Dream 1
LIVE UP God's Dream 2
Living God's Dream


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