Coming into Restful Plans and Dreams

Over the course of a few weeks, Lianna is taking Of Larks through a series on coming into rest in Christ. Today's post is the final post in a four-part series. Follow along with the series here.

Admittedly, I can catch my plans and dreams being drained on the useless, the temporal, and the outside-of-my-control. But at my best, the subjects of my plans and dreams are lent to another world.

Focusing on dreams over which I have little or no control is wishful thinking. My mind and heart could potentially spin endlessly on what I’d like to happen and what might deliver me to, for example, where I want to live, what I want to do with my time, the family I desire, etc. But when are my plans ever fully accurate? When does it ever all happen in the way I desire? And if it does, when does reaching my imagined goal ever become what satisfies? In purely my own plans, there can be no sure joy because there can be no sure expectation.

In View of Christ

But a heart set on Christ avoids that wastefulness. When this planning capacity of my brain is set on Him, I can consider the reality that living for Him is of eternal consequence; instead of my plans and future dreams being about what might or could happen in life, what comes into view is myself in view of Christ. I picture standing before Him. And it makes me want to put the efforts of my planning into how I can better be faithful and diligent as a Christ-follower.

I will meet Christ. And He will set me before His throne and judge me for what I have done—not to determine if I merit heaven. I don’t; solely through Christ do I have that glorious expectation. But I will be reviewed in the bema seat judgment, which was a name for the place where prizes were distributed at the end of sporting events in biblical times. It’s the finish line for believers at the end of this course of life. We will receive rewards according to how well we have run this race for Christ (2 Tim. 2:5; 1 Cor. 9:24-25; Rom. 14:10). Jonathan Edwards viewed his days in light of this judgment; of his personal seventy resolutions[1] to help govern his life, he devoted five to this theme:

Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die. 

Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expect it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump. 

Resolved, That I will act so, as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. 

Resolved, To endeavor, to my utmost, so to act, as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven and hell torments.

Heaven's Happiness

I can find my visionary tendencies put to good use. This is what can always be in view: what do I want Christ to say to me, how do I want Him to look at me, and what do I want to be heard about me on that day? And remember, Lianna, today could be that day. These kinds of dreams produce so much joy and expectation that they affect my today. This dreaming of meeting the Savior whose favor I already posses is restful. It’s the dear hope of seeing Him pleased with me and how I have aligned myself with Him in this life. I am not worried about how it will all turn out—it will certainly all be in my favor because of Christ. Jonathan Edwards wrote:

And the apostle Paul tells us that, as one star differs from another star in glory, so also it shall be in the resurrection of the dead. 1 Cor. 15:41. Christ tells us that he who gives a cup of cold water unto a disciple in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose his reward. But this could not be true, if a person should have no greater reward for doing many good works than if he did but few. It will be no damp to the happiness of those who have lower degrees of happiness and glory, that there are others advanced in glory above them: for all shall be perfectly happy, every one shall be perfectly satisfied. Every vessel that is cast into this ocean of happiness is full, though there are some vessels far larger than others.[2]

He motivates me; my solidified future motivates me; living under Him motivates me to create as big of a space in my life for His plans and priorities as possible. I naturally and inevitably dream and plan for the future. But in Christ, my dreams are at rest because they are sure, and my visionary capacities are put to spiritual usefulness. The slogan “dream big” more than applies in a particular sense—I get to biblically dream about standing before my Lord and plan for it. Two questions I am learning to ask myself regularly are these—What future are you dreaming and planning about? And following that one, are your sure expectations in Christ motivating you to know the truth better, believe it more fully, and then, be more faithful to Him? 

What Jesus said, that He came to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10) and that the harvest is plentiful but the workers few (Lk. 10:2), the example of Paul going from place to place to preach the Word throughout the book of Acts, and other influences, like my family and Edwards’ The Life and Diary of David Brainerdhave brought this follow-up question: What am I doing for the lost where I live, and the lost around the globe? Out of the eternal rest and security that I have gained from Christ, how can I better plan and dream my life around the sharing of His message with those who have not yet heard (Rom. 10:14)? 

Coming into restful plans and dreams

[1] Jonathan Edwards, Sereno E. Dwight, and Edward Hickman, The works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), xx-xxii.

[2] Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1969), 164.