Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything. ~~Napoleon Hill

I have been thinking a lot about dreams, wishes, desires and hopes this week—from personal dreams, wishes, desires and hopes to those of family to those of the church. While at General Convention, our first Acts 8 meeting featured a time when we could stand and finish the sentence: I dream of a church that . . .

Napoleon Hill, one of the earliest writers of personal success literature,  differentiates between desire and a hope or wish; obviously feeling that a desire is the much stronger emotion. Is that true? Is something more likely to happen if we desire it to happen? If we had been asked to finish the sentence “I desire a church that” would that have been a more powerful statement? Or have we simply lost the power behind the words?

We all have dreams, wishes, desires and hopes. And, some of those dreams, wishes, desires and hopes will come to fruition. And, just as obviously, many of those dreams, wishes, desires and hopes will never see the light of day.

The question is what makes one dream (wish, desire, hope) possible and the other, impossible?

The Bible tells us continually to put our hope in God. I think that may be the key to whether or not our dreams, wishes, desires and hopes will come to pass. As long as our hope (dream, wish, desire) is unselfish and directed toward God, there is no reason the thing cannot happen. It is when we allow those desires to be un-Christ-like (materialistic or sinful, for example) that we move farther away from God and into the realm of destruction.

There is a reason “May you get what you wish for” is often considered a curse, particularly if you’re wishing for something selfish and ungodly. People continually destroy themselves and those around them when their desire for something unholy blots out their better nature. Thus the need to say in the general Confession: We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.

Instead, we must stay deeply rooted in Hope. We must “put our hope in the Living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10).

If our dreams, wishes, desires and hopes for ourselves, others and the church are unselfish and directed toward God, great things can happen in our lives, in the lives of others and in the life of the church.