Dream, but Don’t Sleep
In April, Pastor Creflo Dollar responded to critics who opposed his ministry’s campaign for funds to buy a $65 million dollar Gulfstream Jet. In the video, Dollar took a few minutes to address why his critics got him—and the situation—all wrong. Dollar then began to challenge his congregants to dream big, while focusing on Jesus.
Here is one of the things he said during his response.
“I dare you to tell me I can’t dream. I dare you to tell me that I can’t believe God. If I find Jesus, I’m gonna look at Jesus until it comes to pass, because with God, all things are possible to him that believe. And so, I say to you, dream on. Dream on baby. Don’t dream on what you can have; dream about what the devil says you can’t have. Dream for the best. Dream for the best healing. Dream for the best deliverance. Dream for the best house; dream for the best car. Just ’cause the world don’t have it, doesn’t mean you can’t have it. You are the children of the Almighty God. Dream.”
Read more of his comments here.
Underlining Prosperity Gospel
It’s clear Dollar wants his congregants and followers to dream big. And there’s nothing essentially wrong or sinful about that. As a matter of fact, it’s the message we often hear proclaimed in national bestselling books, and from the mouths of great motivational speakers. It’s the American Dream! But was this the message of Jesus? Is this the hope Jesus’ followers are to build their lives on? According to Dollar, faith in God and looking to Jesus is the means through which big dreams come to pass.
This doesn’t sound terribly wrong or destructive, but it leads me to ask the question: what is Dollar looking to Jesus for? The answer: Jesus will give both him and his followers their best and most successful life on earth. Out of his own mouth, he states the best healing, deliverance, car, and house belong to God’s children, and it’s the devil who says you can’t have these things.
This is the message of the prosperity gospel. It says Jesus guarantees the forgiveness of your sins, but he also guarantees your absolute economic, material, and physical success in this world. You just need enough faith to obtain it.
Jesus For Only Material Things
This prosperity message leads many people—especially our people—to run after a god who only gives them material things; similar to the unbelieving crowd who wanted to make Jesus king, because he gave them free food and healthcare (Matt 14:13–21); (John 6:1–15). For Dollar and many others, Jesus is good because he heals your body, not because he heals your soul. Jesus is good because he pays your bills, not because he has paid your debt of sin. Jesus is glorious because he gives you your desires, but doesn’t give you his.
The graciously rich and abundant benefits of the gospel are minimized for a comfortable earthly life, packaged in decontextualized Bible verses. Yes, Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Mark 10:17-27), but he was specifically talking about salvation. He was responding to the disciples’ inquiry about who could if it is hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom. Dollar uses the verse to imply “all things” means “whatever I want”.
None of this means followers of Jesus can’t dream. Dream big. Dream about God saving your friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers. Dream about God reaching people who have never heard the Gospel. Dream about the wealthy, the poor, the sick, and the wicked hearing the good news about Jesus, and responding in joy.
Dream about the God who causes us to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge, and who fills us with himself (Eph. 3:19–20). Dream about the God who works every situation in our lives for his glory, and our good. (Rom. 8:28). Dream about the God who supplies our every need in Jesus (Phil. 4:11–19). Dream about the God who will wipe every tear from our eyes, and who will eradicate both sin and death (Rev. 21:4). Dream about the God who has made all of this possible by sending Jesus into this world to die in our place for our sins. Dream, but don’t sleep.
…But Don’t Sleep
Don’t sleep and let temptations lure you into believing a good life is defined by having the riches of this world (Matt 13:22). Don’t doze off into the belief your acceptance before God is based on the material blessings he gives you. Don’t drift off into the lies that tell you Satan is winning because things aren’t financially or physically good for you.
Don’t be rocked to sleep by the lullaby of the prosperity gospel that sweetly sings you can demand God give you your heart’s desires. Don’t sleep on what God has done for you in the Gospel. What God has done through Jesus is far greater and far more satisfying than you could ever dream. God gives you far more than an improved earthly existence: he gives you himself.
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2 thoughts on “Dream, but Don’t Sleep”
Ibojo ojo nelson
How does the headline interpretation tell same opinion? It’s interpreted ambiguously
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