Where dreams fall short

04.09.2016

Today’s guest blogger is Nathaniel Bettcher.

If you had told me a year ago that I would currently live in Arkansas, I would have thought you were joking.

Frankly, if you had told me I would be doing anything other than fulfilling my goal of being a professional musician, I would have thought that you were just trying to put down my dreams.

You see, I have been a musician for most of my life, and have been a dedicated guitarist for nearly a decade. Throughout my high school years, when most kids were playing video games or participating in sports, I could be found practicing guitar in my basement for about six hours a day. Because playing guitar was all I ever wanted to do, when college rolled around it seemed natural for me to get a degree in music.

I began pursing a Bachelor of Music in Artist Development from Liberty University. This degree is a bit unique in the sense that it’s not only a Music degree, but a degree in Worship Ministries. Both of these aspects proved to be very beneficial to me, as I had the privilege of learning how to use the craft of music to point people towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, even though I was pursuing a degree that was focused around Church Ministry, my focus wasn’t honed in on The Lord.

While I did not necessarily have dreams of traveling the world and becoming a rock star, my goals were centered around myself. The plan was to go on to a Master’s degree in Guitar Performance, and basically become an awesome guitarist. I had convinced my friends and myself that I was going to serve the Lord through my music. Not to say that someone can’t do this, but in hindsight, my goal was ultimately to rise to a level of “greatness” and to be recognized and sought after as a fantastic guitarist. Not exactly the holiest of ambitions.

Thankfully, the Lord got a hold of me. Strangely enough, He did not diminish my love for the guitar or for music. Instead, he showed me that my goals fell embarrassingly short of His glory.

During the later half of my sophomore year, I began reading God’s Word and studying theology like never before, and the Lord flipped my world upside down. Theological presuppositions I had held for my entire Christian walk were uprooted and thrown into a wood-chipper, and my arrogance was stripped away as I began to see the wretchedness of my sinful condition in contrast to the amazing grace of the Gospel. To think that Jesus took my sins upon himself, paid for them on the Cross, and then rose again from the dead because He loved me, blew my mind in a new and fresh way. The incredible truth that God had opened my eyes to see the truth of His Gospel even when I wanted nothing of Him, wrecked my heart.

The Lord changed my desires by showing me that to know Him is the greatest treasure. As He gave me a passion to see others know Him and love Him, ambitions of fame and recognition collapsed under the weight of His glory. I realized that whatever I could accomplish in this life would ultimately die with me if it was not about Christ.

The best way I can describe what God did in my heart is through what the apostle Paul described in Philippians 3. He was at the pinnacle of Jewish society, but after he met Jesus everything else fell short.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:8-11, ESV)

Once this paradigm shift happened, God did some incredible things. Soon, the door opened to serve as a Summer Intern at Cross Church. Now, after a fantastic summer, I have the privilege of being back at Cross Church and enrolled in their School of Ministry on the Worship Ministry Track. The Lord has put me on the path towards full time ministry, and I am far more satisfied now than I would have been with my old dreams.

All that to say, your dreams are probably far different than mine were. However, whatever your dreams and desires are, I would invite you to ask yourself if Christ is at the center of them. The situation will undoubtedly be unique to each person, but the result will always be the same, and that is this:

Christ is the greatest treasure that any of us could ever receive, and anything and everything else will fall short. I implore you, don’t strive for something you can lose. Seek the eternal joy that can only be found in Christ.

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