Got asked a twist on an age-old question today. A student asked, “Since we are supposed to follow God and surrender our lives to God, why do Christian men tell people to follow their dreams and to have the job they want?”
That’s just another way of asking, “What is God’s will for my life?”
I chose to answer this using wisdom from Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven model of ministry. Here’s my response:
About following your dreams…that can be fully in line with God’s plans for us, but not necessarily always. God put us on earth to fulfill five purposes:
- Fellowship (building relationships)
- Discipleship (knowing God better)
- Ministry (serving God by serving others)
- Missions (reaching out to others beyond our immediate sphere of influence)
- Worship (honoring God)
We fulfill those purposes through our S.H.A.P.E.
- S – Spiritual gifts that we get when God’s Spirit fills us
- H – Heart (what we’re passionate about)
- A – Abilities (what we’re naturally good at or choose to develop)
- P – Personality (being an introvert or an extrovert)
- E – Experiences we have (educational, work, circumstantial, painful, etc.)
God uses all of our S.H.A.P.E. to serve him and others. Because he uses what we already love to do and are passionate about, when somebody says “follow your dreams” they can be telling you to do what God wants you to do. Those dreams you follow, though, need to also fulfill the five purposes he put you on earth to fulfill.