I remember when my wife and I were expecting our first son together. There were complications with the labor and I was really scared. For 27 hours I had a lot of time to think about all the dreams I had for that little boy. Deep inside I was grieving what I might lose. When he was finally born, I had such a sense of gratitude!
I believe that embedded into the heart of every father and mother is a dream and a desire for their children. And if you’ve been a parent for a while, then you already know that older you get and the older your children get, you don’t care much about what your children end up doing for a living or how much money they’ll make.
At the end of the day, the real dream in your heart for your kids is that they become good, loving and kind people and that they have a genuine connection and relationship with you.
Our Heavenly Father has a similar dream for every one of his children. God’s primary dream for you is not about what you do or accomplish, or what kind of job you have, it’s about the kind of person you become and the kind of relationship you have with him.
God’s dream is to make you like His Son and to have an intimate, loving and deep relationship with you.
In fact, God’s whole purpose for us as the church is that we would be “built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4:13) He wants us grow up to be spiritually mature people who are gentle, kind, and walk in integrity.
Unfortunately, in our day we have a crisis in Christianity. The Gospel is going around the world and more people are coming to know Christ like never before. Yet most Christians aren’t growing in their spiritual maturity.
About 8 out of 10 people that claim the name of Christ have very little family resemblance – they don’t think or act like Jesus. For the great vast majority of us as Christians, our words and intellectual belief system about God don’t actually line up with our lifestyles.
I believe this is why lots of people are turned off to Christianity — they see that our actions don’t line up with our beliefs.
The greatest need in the world today is for Christians to actually live like Christians. This means that as Christians we’re to be disciples – or followers — of Christ. This is God’s will for everyone, regardless of nationality, denomination, and gender.
So how do we do this? God gives us a very clear picture of what His dream for us looks like. In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul gives us a snapshot of what it means to be a disciple and to be truly spiritual.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
True spirituality – being an authentic follower of Christ – starts with giving God all of our hearts and our lives.
This answers the question: what does God want the most from us? He doesn’t want our religious activity. Although there’s a place for prayer, Bible study and church, doing all of these things does not necessarily mean that God has our hearts.
What God wants most is all of you. This only comes from surrendering our whole selves to Him – our dreams, desires and needs – because we know and trust that He is good and wants only the best for our lives.
God’s dream and plan for each of his children is not about rules or religious activity but about relationship. His desire is not for our performance, but for us to learn how to live out of the grace and favor we already possess.
This week, we begin the series True Spirituality: Becoming a Romans 12 Christian. If you’re tired of all of the rules, religious activities and even the well-meaning church programs that promise transformation but don’t deliver, I’d like to invite you to join me for this series. Together, we’ll go on a journey of grace, faith and relationship that leads to genuine transformation. It’s my prayer that as we learn what it really means to be a follower of Christ, we’ll begin to experience His power and grace and actually live the radical and abundant life He’s always wanted for us.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip