Recently, I taught what turned out being a 2-part series (and should have been a 3-part series) titled, When Jesus Comes to Town based on the account of the Triumphal Entry in Luke 19 and the events leading up to it. Over the past few weeks/months, I’ve been absolutely captured by this thought (which begins in Luke 9:51) concerning Jesus resolutely setting out for Jerusalem. It’s almost as if I can see Jesus’ face, taking Him to Jerusalem, to His death, to our redemption. That’s what Jesus was resolutely set out to do. As John Eldredge puts it, there is no more dangerous man than the one who has reckoned with his own death.
To get a picture of what this looks like, I believe it’s helpful to go back to Isaiah 50:7, and the prophecy of what God’s Messiah would come to do: Because the Sovereign Lord helps me…I have set my face like a stone (or ‘flint’ as most versions put it), determined to do His will -NLT. Something I find fascinating about this language here is the word flint, which translates to the root word in Hebrew, halam which also means to dream. In other words, we might find this passage saying I have set my face like a dream or toward a dream.
Which raises a great question here for all of us: What is God’s dream, His vision for our lives? Do we know what it is? Is that what my face is resolutely set toward?
If you were to try to picture Jesus setting his face resolutely toward Jerusalem, what if you could envision Jesus – face like flint – set out toward a dream of what you and I could truly become? What if this became personal? I believe this is exactly what Jesus came to do, liberating us from our limitations and freeing us to become the person that only God has dreamed of us becoming. We know all too well how people around us try to shape us into the vision and dreams they have for us, which can be so limited. We also know how the world around us can try to conform us into what it believes we should become. We know this because we, in some way, do it every single day…and we can feel when God’s dream is being taken away, whether we realize it for what it truly is or not.
One of the things I’ve been doing the last month or so to help me have my face resolutely set like Jesus has been to ask God to continue to clarify His dream and vision for my life. In fact, I’ve been asking Him to do that for a couple of years now. I’m not sure if you’ve ever asked God for this in your own life, but if you have, perhaps you’ve gained some real clarity on what that is. For others (like myself), maybe you’ve struggled to hear anything specifically at all.
It can be frustrating to get up in the morning (sometimes every morning) and not know what your face is resolutely set out toward in life. I desperately want my face and the faces of those around me to resolutely be set out toward God’s dream and vision for our lives. But I believe the better question is not simply asking what God’s vision is for my life. Rather, I believe the better question we have to wake up to every day is this: God, what is your vision, your dream for the people and the world around me, and how can I give my life to that? How can I set my face resolutely to that kind of dream?
Perhaps there’s some kind of explanation here as to why we have so much trouble figuring out what God’s dream is for us. Maybe we’re asking the right question the wrong way.
Since Julia was born over 6-months ago, I’ve been asking God to show me His vision for her life. My hope is that as her parents, Molly and I will resolutely love her into God’s future, His dream for her. What if we loved people like that? Could that be God’s primary dream for your life and mine, that we help move people around us toward His dream for their lives?
What is your face resolutely set toward? What is God dreaming?