We tend to think our dreams were too big when we were young, say when we were six, and too small as we get older. But maybe our dreams never reach high enough. When you were six years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Give yourself a little time to remember.
When I was six, I wanted to play basketball for Miami University (Ohio). My dad and I went to all their home games. I could say I wanted to play in the NBA, but the NBA didn’t seem all that great when I was six. I would play games of five-on-five by myself in our driveway, and keep stats. Miami (I called it “Your-ami” back then) always won.
Why did I dream about playing for Miami? Because it was basketball plus glory — what I already loved to do, except with the added glory of the arena — uniforms, a finished court, a massive scoreboard, thousands of fans, newspaper articles, and television coverage. That was the best I could imagine for myself at six.
The reality, though, is that Miami University basketball, or the NBA — or whatever your over-sized dreams have been — are like playing five-on-five alone in the backyard compared to what God has planned for us.
What is God’s dream for our lives? What are the highest peaks he’s put out in front of each of us? “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). In absolutely everything we do — even down to how we drink that Gatorade after we work out or sip our favorite Starbucks — we do it for the glory of God. In front of the mountain of purpose and happiness hidden for us in his glory, every other dream and ambition begins to look pale and stale.
What does it mean to live for glory like that? Paul goes on to say that he seeks “to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:33). We drink and eat, work and play, love and serve in ways that strive to win the world for Jesus. Whatever we do, we do it to say something about what God has done for us and about how much he and his love mean to us. We do it for his glory, and not our own.
A Real, But Fatal Glory
Satan will do everything he can to confuse us — to suggest smaller dreams, lesser glories, and other gods to our hearts. And the glory he offers is real glory — real pleasure and real purpose. But all the glory he offers is small and short compared with the glory for which we were made (Isaiah 43:7). And to the degree that it distracts us from God and his glory, any earthly dream or pleasure can be suicidal. It’s not going anywhere good. It’s not safe, or full, or lasting. It expires, and it kills us in the process.