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T.E. Lawrence said: “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” The world needs “dreamers of the day”: people who have a vision from God to enact a different reality. Doing this will involve swimming against the current of the world and it won’t be easy. David Livingstone, when his mission agency asked whether there were good roads upon which new missionaries could travel, said: “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.” There are many roads that haven’t been walked yet. We are the ones who are called by God to act, even if no one has walked before us.
Sometime the Bible refers to this dreaming of the heart as our “burden”. It’s a weight you carry because God put it there, just as Moses said: “the burden of all this people is on me” (Numbers 11:11). It’s a burden that is born in you when God shares His heart of mercy and compassion for a broken world, or when He shows you a vision of the future He wants. It’s a dream that spoils you for everything else, something that you know God wants you to spend your life on. It creates a holy discontent in you, and makes you uneasy until it comes to pass.
Romans 12:11 says “never be lacking zeal but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord”. It doesn’t matter if you’re not excited about anything else, but it does matter that the dreamers of the day are enthusiastic about God and His mission. Keep your spiritual fire burning! The first Christians turned the world upside down because God turned their hearts upside down with His passion for them, sinners. That passion gave them strength to live their lives in fullness and to endure all manner of suffering. When you’re full of the Spirit, you’re too hot for the Devil to handle. Fill yourself with the passion of God.
The word zeal these days is often connected to fanaticism but the fact is that we should be more embarrassed that we have quenched the fire in us. Maybe we are missing a passion and enthusiasm in us. The New Testament word for zeal originally meant to be jealous – to burn for something and want it with all your strength. The Holy Spirit can create that sort of heat in us, a heat that creates steam in cold spiritual environments. The New Testament’s word for enthusiasm was originally used to describe someone who was obsessed, who was overwhelmed by God. The most enthusiastic people on earth should be Christians. It’s God’s will to get us to be passionate to the point of boiling. It’s better to risk things getting over-boiled than to never get to boiling point.
But, how does a dreamer of the day look in the broken world? John 2:14-17: “In the temple courts He found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
It would wrong not to be angry in a world broken by sin. Jesus was angry on multiple occasions: with self-serving religion and with self-righteousness, among other things. How can we look at poverty and not be angry? How can we see the imbalance between rich and poor and not be angry? How can we look at political corruption and not be angry? How can we look at domestic violence and divorce and not be angry? How can we consider the confusion of sexual identity and not be angry? How can we look at the state of the church which looks like it’s lost its way and not be angry? You simply cannot look with God’s eyes, full of His passion and His dreams for a different reality, and not be angry.
In a fallen world, anger is a good and essential thing. People of character will always be angry. Anger is something we need to re-learn: how to be godly and angry at the same time. We need to learn a righteous anger that leads to prayer, that’s how we diffuse frustration within us. That is where our anger finds some peace. That is where we pour out our hearts before God and say “How long must I wait for this dream to become a reality? Please come and do something!”. It’s this channelled anger that also causes us to realise that we can use our resources to help. It’s this godly anger that gets us up and involved in the suffering of others.
What makes you alive? Jack London wrote: “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” Regardless of your age, use your time! Don’t turn your life into dust, turn your life into ashes. Burn for God in a magnificent glow! It’s time for God’s people to set the tone, to changes the prevailing winds, to change the world. It’s time for the world not to see us as a sleepy institution, but to see us what we really are: the family and army of Jesus Christ.
There is a new world to be created and you and I have it in our hands to be part of creating it. God has given us everything we need. We have the Holy Spirit in us, we have the God with the blueprint. Yes, it’s tough but God is great. Let’s be part of what God is doing because what He’s building is absolutely magnificent. What is your dream?