There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about your future, but at some point in time, you have to open your eyes – wake up sleepy head!  In today’s sermon, we will take a look at the type of faith that leads Christians to fall asleep on their faith.  We should not fall to sleep in our faith, but instead, wake up and live our dreams.  Today’s sermon was preached from the following scripture:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

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How do you see your future?  I remember being little, in school, and the teacher would go around the classroom asking every child, “what you want to be when you grow up?”  As children, we thought very highly of the future – it was all we could ever think about.  We all wanted to be “grown” and not a little child.  Now, you ask “grown” people about the future and eyes will often stare off into the distance; maybe thinking of how we used to answer that question.  Our thoughts towards the future go two ways:   pessimistic or hopeful.

On a ride home the other day, I was riding through downtown Atlanta and when I’m not driving I often stare out the passenger window in thought.  We were driving down Northside Drive, heading south through Atlanta, and my mom said, “there it is”.  She was talking about the Mercedes Benz Stadium, where the Falcons play.  We had passed it earlier in the morning driving north and so this time around I wasn’t paying it too much attention.

I was deep in thought about my future.  I was wondering about where my life would go, and in my thoughts, I realized that I was actually very hopeful about my future.  I began to realize the incredible role that faith not only plays in my life but plays in all of our lives.  By that, what I mean, is that faith certainly plays a role in our vision of the future.

Those who have very little faith, often “can’t see” or visualize.  They often spend their time being very analytical about things because they want certainty before moving forward.  This, in my opinion, is a very common thing and something I sometimes deal with as well.  On the other hand, there are those who can visualize their future – the future is bright for them.  Often times, these people will take risks and take leaps of faith.  Are you a leap of faith type of person?

As children, we were all more likely to take risks and make that leap of faith.  I truly believe that there is nothing more wonderful in this world than the mind of a child.  Why?  Because, as children, we believed that we could do anything and be anything!  We wanted to be presidents, doctors, lawyers, famous athletes, famous singers, and even astronauts.  Go ask a child what he/she wants to be when they grow up and you will have your mind blown away.  Then we grew up.

As children, the future was always bright to us but then we grew up.  We believed that we could do anything or be anything, but then we grew up.  In growing up, what we believed began to change.  Some would say that we “got smarter”.  I would say that we allowed the world (worldly wisdom) to influence our beliefs and we let what others thought influence our beliefs.  This influence happens in all three phases of our life: physically, mentally, and spiritually.  You’re never too old to have a future.

There are three types of faith that I am going to touch on over time – I will focus on one of them today.  The three types of faith that I am thinking of include content faith, impatient faith, and unwavering faith.  Again, I say, faith plays a great role in how we see the future and each type of faith can cause us to see the future differently.  When I speak of faith, I want you to know that this faith has to do with faith in the Lord – not self.  We can do nothing without the Lord.

Content faith becoming complacen

I want to focus on content faith in this sermon.  God says, in my key verse, that His thoughts towards us are of peace, not evil.  Just reading that part of the scripture fills me with great joy because it’s easy for us to get like Job and feel that God is working against us.  We will say things like, “why does God not want me to have this/that?”  The idea that God has thoughts towards me, little ole me, absolutely blows my mind away but to know that His thoughts towards me are of peace?  Thank you, Lord!

God says that His thoughts towards us are not only of peace but to give us a future and a hope.  We could very easily tie this scripture into the time that it was written:  Israel was being led away to Babylon and this is a promise of returning to Jerusalem.  We could even see a messianic message within this scripture with Jesus serving as both the future and hope.  However, I am applying this scripture to us, the believers of the church age.  God is still the same God from that day and you should certainly believe that the Lord cares for you the same way.

As a believer, this should fill you with much joy and much confidence in the Lord.  God’s got you!  Knowing such a message should make us become content in our faith.  However, I must share a dire warning to the Christians who become overly content in their faith – do not become overly content!  Am I saying that we should not content (happy) in our faith in the Lord?  No, that is not what’s being said.  We should be wary of letting our contentment become complacency – our content faith should not become a complacent faith.

Becoming complacent in my faith is a great fear of mine.  This is not to say that we are not being faithful or being too faithful – there is no such thing as having too much faith.  However, what I do see from many of us believers is that we often expect for blessings to simply fall in our lap.  If you started believing in God solely because you thought blessings were going to come to you more easily, then I’d tell you that you started believing in the Lord for the wrong reason.

We have this “Field of Dreams” belief when it comes to the way the Lord works.  We think, “if I believe it, then God will do it” and while this sounds like sound scripture, we must not forget that faith requires action.  You see, what I am trying to say here is that faith is a word of action.  However, what faith has become for many believers is simply a statement of one’s beliefs.  We will proudly say what we believe in and have prayed for, but that’s where faith stop.  We want God to do all of the work while we sit still and wait on Him.  James said you can talk about your faith all you want but “show me” the action of your faith (James 2:18).

Complacency leads to doing nothing, and faith that is idle is essentially a faith that is sleeping.  Are you a sleeping Christian?  I say today, wake up sleepy head!  What can the sleeping type of faith do for anybody?  Paul says:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Galatians 6:7 NKJV

The saying, “you reap what you sow” is definitely a saying you can tie to this scripture.  I’m not sure how many farmers read my sermons, but I feel most of us understand the idea that seeds have to be planted in order for a crop to be produced.  In order for the seeds to be planted, the farmer can’t lay around sleeping all day long; he has to get up and go to work, right?

If the sower chooses to sleep all day and night, does not sow his seeds, what do you believe he will reap?  The sower can only reap what he has sown.  This same lesson can be applied to those who become complacent in their faith.  We can believe in our dreams and pray all we want, but if we do not put forth the effort of living our dreams, they’ll stay dreams.  God will provide you with the tools to get the job done – He’s not going to always do all the work for you.  Paul said (Philippians 4:7), “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty;
Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.

Proverbs 20:13 NKJV

“Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty,” says Solomon.  The sleeping man can get nothing done.  Should the sleeping Christian expect to receive the blessings of his/her dreams?  You see, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but when there’s no action behind our faith, dreams remain dreams.  We must open our eyes, put our faith into action and then we will be satisfied with the fulfilling of our dreams.  Again, I say, wake up sleepy head!

Oftentimes, we say, “God has brought me this far” but we look ahead and see the rest of the journey and decide that this is far enough.  We see the hills, valleys, and mountains ahead of us and say, “no more”.  Instead of being content in our faith, trusting that God will take us even further, we become complacent and sit on top of that hill.  God will allow you to stay right there and continue to watch over you and keep you.  Instead of continuing towards the blessing of your dream, you have chosen otherwise.

Faith in your future will require us to continue pushing when we are ready to become complacent.  You see, there is a great difference between being content and being complacent.  The content Christian is happy in his/her faith and will continue to work towards something greater.  The complacent (sleeping) Christian wants to go no further.  One day, they look up and see that others continued going down into the valley, and over the hills and mountains and they become frustrated because those believers end up in a different place.

If you don’t put forth the action of your faith, God will let you stay where you are.  There is nothing wrong with being analytical about a situation, but in the end, we all still have to take that leap of faith and trust in the Lord’s thoughts towards us.  Again, His thoughts towards us are not of evil but are of the future and a hope.  I feel like we must go back to our days of having a child-like faith.  We must be willing, I feel, to push our faith in the Lord even further.  God does not ever want us to limit what He can do, but sadly we often limit what the Lord can do in our life.

The next time you are considering your future, consider where your faith stands in the Lord.  Let go of complacent faith and be willing to put your faith in the hands of the Lord.  Wake up sleepy head, if you are asleep!  I hope this message serves as a wake-up call for those who feel “stuck” in this life.  Many times we end up stuck because we’re not willing to take that leap of faith.   We say to ourselves, “God has brought me this far” and we settle.  God can and will take you further if you believe He will.

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