“What more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” — Hebrews 11:32-34
The Bible tells us the just shall live by faith, but God also gives us each individual dreams, purposes and goals to pursue. Living by faith doesn’t mean we give up these dreams; living by faith requires us to learn how to subdue the dreams God has given us by trusting in His plan. When life happens, it often happens in such a way that causes us to either be tempted to give up on our dream or forget about it. But to subdue it implies a wrestling match, in which we take it by force.
With a new year comes a new opportunity to try to accomplish either what we did not complete in the previous one, or what the last year has been leading up to. The year 2018 has just started and we have the chance to set our focus on the faith God has given us to both subdue the goal and give Him the glory for it.
In Hebrews 11, the writer is sharing how these men lived their lives by faith, using their faith in God to subdue their dreams. In fact, the writer mentioned he didn’t even have enough time to talk about all the things these men were able to accomplish. But nothing they did was because of hard work, good looks, signed contracts or anything else they could have managed on their own. Everything was accomplished through faith.
God is ready to use anyone who is ready to put their faith into action. Faith doesn’t have anything to do with how you feel or what others say or think about you. Faith is between you and your Maker.
None of the Heroes of Faith (what many call the men of Hebrews 11) looked right for the job. They all had weaknesses, causing people to believe they would fail. Sampson was angry, David was too young, Samuel was just a preacher, Jephthah was considered an illegitimate child, and Gideon and Barak were both fearful. Not one looked capable.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.” — 1 Corinthians 1:25-29
God loves weaknesses. When we acknowledge our weaknesses and, through faith, allow our weaknesses to increase our faith in God, we can then accept His help. It is then when we are able to truly pursue and subdue our dreams. Don’t replace your faith with other people’s opinions. When we allow the opinions of others — which often are really other people’s fears — take root in our minds, we give them credence to become or influence our own beliefs.
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” — Hebrews 11:39-40
Just as God worked through unlikely men of old to subdue kingdoms, He has something better for you too. God wants to take you beyond the natural realm into the supernatural one. He wants you to have faith to subdue your dreams — dreams given to you by God — so they can then be used as platforms for His glory.
Dreams are images God paints on the canvas of your heart so you can imagine and believe in what others may think of as impossible. Dreams are personal gifts to you from God. Don’t waste your time trying to convince others of your God-given dream. Just show them His power through your faith put into action.
— Pastor Ted Winsley, Philadelphia Eagles chaplain