Society has taught us that with enough hard work and determination, we can accomplish any dream or goal that we set our minds to. Although this is true to an extent, I believe that there must be more to success than simply hard work. I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who have sacrificed much energy, money, time and effort, but sadly never quite saw their dreams materialize.
We as human beings are made up of body, soul and spirit. Because the spirit is the “quieter” part of our being, it can often get overtaken by the body and soul (mind, will, emotions), which are often much louder and more demanding! As a result, our emotions, along with the need to “do, do, do” can drive us into a cycle of activity, thinking that being busy will create results.
Unfortunately, religion often teaches us the same thing. We have been taught that in order to get God to do something for us, that we must first work hard for His approval. You’ve heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? Although many live by this principle, it can be found nowhere in the Bible. Actually, it's a quote from Benjamin Franklin.
We have been taught through religion, however, that we must “help ourselves” before we can expect help from Above. Perhaps that means that we need to read our Bible or pray more. Or maybe we need to go on an extended fast. Or perhaps we need to be nice to seven people in a single day in order to get God to pay attention to what we need.
Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are wonderful to do, and are something that we in fact ought to be doing. We do these things because we desire to do them, for our spiritual growth and benefit. We cannot do these things in order to compel God to be good to us. The Bible calls these things “works”. Galatians 2:16 says,
”Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
In simple terms, we are told here that no amount of self-effort can ever validate us before God. Only our belief in Jesus gains us approval from God. In other words, God is not good because WE are good. God is good because HE is good!
In fact, Hebrews 4 tells us that it is God’s desire that we be diligent to enter into a place of rest. This resting means that we are not working to gain God’s approval, but we rest in the fact that He loves us, and that He will take care of all we need - which includes guiding us to our dreams and life purpose.
So the next time you find yourself running on that hamster wheel, ask yourself these two questions:
- Is my mind at rest, trusting that Jesus loves me and will get me to my destination?
- Is my hard work based on what I’m hearing from God, not from my own self-effort?
If so, keep on moving toward your dream! If not, it may be time to simply step away from the wheel…