If your dream survives such challenges as the passage of time, the lies of the devil, and the opposition of friends, the final challenge is often the most difficult and painful — because it pertains to your family. Time passes and brings new seasons; the devil’s voice can be rebuked and silenced; and you can tell your friends good-bye. But your family is with you for your entire life! You grow up loving your family members, and you never lose your deep desire for their love and approval.
However, sometimes it’s difficult to show love and respect to your family and obey God at the same time. At times, it’s like walking a tight rope, even as you continue to believe God that one day all your family members will be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and taking faith-filled steps toward their own divine destinies!
My own family has seen me take many leaps of faith in my life. At this point, they no longer question me when I tell them I’ve heard from God on a matter. But this wasn’t always true.
The fact is, when any of us first begin to hear from the Lord, He may ask us to take certain radical steps in order to follow His plan for our lives. In that situation, our family members — because they love us — may very well question our judgment.
When Denise and I been married only a few years, I was the pastor of a small church, and we were so poor that my gross income for one year was a little less than $2,000! The windows in our house were all broken, so we used towels, underwear, and anything else we could find to cover the cracks in the glass.
Only one room in our house had heat, and because the kitchen had water leakage, its floor was often covered with a thin sheet of ice in the winter. And when any of our family members came to visit us, they’d always eat before they came because they knew we wouldn’t have hardly any food in our home.
It was during this time that Denise and I began to dream about beginning a traveling ministry. We were young and inexperienced, but we sensed that it was time for us to get started with the dream God had put in our hearts.
When my family learned of our vision to begin a traveling ministry, they immediately converged on the scene. “Leave your church?” they asked me. “Leave your house? Are you sure this is right?” As my family members voiced doubt after doubt, I kept thinking, It isn’t like I’m giving up a whole lot here! Even so, launching out into a traveling ministry with no guaranteed income was a great step of faith for Denise and me at the time, and it was difficult for us to handle the uncertainty voiced by our family.
This last dream thief is much more personal to you. After all, your family members watched you grow up in the natural. More than anyone else in the world, they know your faults and weaknesses. So when you announce, “The Lord told me to do this,” some family members may try to explain away your dream by reminding you of your past mistakes and failures. They may try to convince you that you’re compensating for your inadequacies by living in a fantasy world instead of facing your problems realistically and living life as “normal people” do.
But here’s what you must always remember: All the dream thieves will come to you with an element of truth. Your mind will respond:
Yes, time, it has been a long while since the Holy Spirit spoke to me about my dream.
Yes, Satan, I do have an ego that likes to exalt itself above others.
Yes, friends, I am making major changes in my life right now, and I don’t even recognize myself at times.
Yes, family, I admit to the faults and weaknesses you have seen in me all my life.
But you must face head-on the accusations and uncertainties voiced by these dream thieves. Deal with them according to the Word and the Spirit of God. As you do, not only will you persevere and hold fast to your dream, but you will also be strengthened in your inner man and become more like Jesus!
So hold fast to the vision God has placed in your heart —
No matter how long it takes.
No matter how many times you have to tell the devil that your selfish, egotistical old man is dead.
No matter how many friends tell you that your plans are crazy and then forsake you.
No matter how much it hurts when family members come against your dream because of their love and concern for you.
If you know that God is the One who placed the vision in your heart, this must take precedence over every other argument.
If you know that God is the One who placed the vision in your heart, this must take precedence over every other argument. This fact must assume the position of most importance in your life. It must be the truth you never lose sight of.
Hebrews 10:23 admonishes us to hold fast to what God has spoken to us, not to what our family or friends say. When we receive a word from the Lord, we are to embrace it with all our strength — to hold down that divine instruction so firmly that nothing and no one can steal it from us. We must hold fast to our dream with everything in our being!