One of our favorite things to do these days is dream. To imagine what our neighborhood could look like one day. To dream about how we can restore our old house in the hood and turn it into a home. To imagine what our family will look like one day soon as it continues to grow. To think about how we can minister to the inner-city and what that might look like. Dreaming and imagining and planning and praying . . .
Then this weekend I re-read chapter 3 in Radical. And his word smacked me upside the head a little. Or maybe the heart.
"Instead of imagining all the things we can accomplish, we ask God to do what only he can accomplish."
Hmmm. So how would all our dreams and imaginings look differently if they were God-dreams rather than Becca-and-Adam dreams?
Maybe instead of thinking about we can have kids over to our house to see a family dinner, we can pray that one day they will sit down to their own family dinner? Maybe instead of just growing a few vegetables for our family, God wants to provide an under-resourced and under-served community with fresh produce and healthy choices that aren't available to them right now? Maybe instead of helping some kids with their homework, God wants to transform the broken education system in Atlanta. Maybe, just maybe, God has bigger dreams than we do. Maybe, just maybe, He can accomplish those dreams with OR without our help. So even the title of this chapter, "Beginning at the end of ourselves" reminds me of what we need to do next.
We need to pray, we need to increase our dependence on and desperation for the Spirit of God in our lives and in our ministry. He must increase and we must decrease. What does that look like? I'm not sure yet. But we will be praying, and seeking, and trying to remember that we can do nothing on our own. Like the disciples, we are "confident that (we) are not going to accomplish anything without his provision."
Unfortunately, like Platt points out, the danger of trusting in ourselves can be subtle and insidious. Because it's so easy to fall back into relying on our own abilities rather than trusting in the power of God. We can be following and seeking the Lord, and then all of a sudden we start getting prideful, stop spending time with Jesus, stop depending on His strength. And the danger is that we end up with a "ministry" that has a whole lot to do with us, and a whole little to do with Jesus. And that, right there, is the LAST thing we want.
So we are committing to pray, every single day, for a reliance of God's power. To pray for dreams that are HIS dreams and not ours. To grow and serve and minister ONLY in His strength and our weakness. Lord, we pray that You will increase and we will decrease every single day.
*To read more responses to Radical (by David Platt) Chapter 3, visit Marla's blog!