Part 2 - God's Dream or My Dream?
Last week, we started our series by talking about Joseph and how God used him, despite the struggles and obstacles in his life. This week, we continue talking about Joseph. We learn how we can distinguish between what are our goals and ambitions, as opposed to God’s purpose and calling for our lives.
What you will need: A Bible or your Bible app, a notebook, pen, and highlighter. The verses highlighted below are linked so that you can easily access them during your study time.
1. What was your childhood or youthful dream and did it stand the test of time?
2. Read Genesis 37:5-7 and 9-11. We talked about Joseph and his youthful dreams last week. As you read them again, where are the two dreams similar and consistent? When you look at your own dreams, “Does the dream stay consistent or is it constantly changing?” What mistakes did Joseph make, early in the process of understanding God’s call on his life? Have you ever made the same mistakes? Have you ever “pooh-poohed” someone else’s dream?
3. We talked about how to test our dreams for consistency. Read Matthew 3:16-4:4. What was the very start of Jesus’ ministry? At the end of Chapter Three, what do you think His emotions were? What would yours have been? How is the temptation, and Jesus' reply to it so significant to our discussion of dreams?
4. Read the parable which Jesus told in Luke 12:17-21. What would you say is the dream of the rich man in this parable? How does his focus and purpose differ from Jesus’ actions at the start of the ministry. Consider: "Does my dream build my kingdom or God’s kingdom?"
5. Action Steps: Prayerfully consider these steps to determine if the dream is yours, or God’s.
a. Stop Talking: Don’t tell everyone your dream. Instead, commit to praying, “God, is this Your dream or my dream? Is this just an ambition of mine or a real passion from You?” Stay silent and listen more than you “talk” to God and tell Him what you want to do!
b. Seek God through Fasting: Seriously, ask God if you should fast. Ask Him for how long? Fasting from what? Follow God’s leading, not your own thoughts on this.
c. Search the Scripture: Does your dream fall in line with God’s Word? Is it contrary to the rest of the Bible? Do you find a promise or teaching that illuminates God’s plan for you?
d. Slow down! Take forty days to be sure your dream is from God; that it is in His Will; and that it is consistent with Scripture and His will for your life.
6. Read Matthew 4:1-4. What does verse 1 teach us about temptation and God’s role in it? How did Jesus combat temptation? Is temptation itself a sin?
7. Read James 1:12-17. Why is it important to know that temptations come from our own desires, and how can this change how we view our temptations? What does James mean when he tells us to endure our temptations, and why is it important to do so? If our temptation comes from our desires, how can our temptations begin to lessen? Have you ever experienced a “fading” temptation?
8. Read Ephesians 6:10-17. Which piece of the armor of God do you feel you have appropriated and are using to deal with temptation? What piece of armor are you missing right now?
9. What is the difference between testing and temptation? Read 1 Thessalonians 2:4. Why does God need to test us? Have you asked God to truly search your heart, examine, and test you? Why is that so powerful? If you are struggling with the concept that God would test you, skim through this article.