There are a multitude of dream thieves in life, but one of the major thieves that works to steal the God-given dreams of men and women is one's family.

If your dream can survive the onslaught of lies you hear through time, the devil, and your friends, the final challenge is usually the most difficult and oftentimes painful, because it comes from your family.

Time passes, the devil's voice can be rebuked and silenced, and you can tell your friends good-bye, but your family is with you for your entire life. You grow up loving them, and you deeply desire their love and approval.

To continue to love and respect your family, and to obey God at the same time, is not often an easy task. At times it is like walking a tight rope, but you pray and believe God that one day they will all be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and taking radical steps for God themselves!

The Cautious Family
My own family has seen me take enough leaps of faith in my life that they have reached a point where they no longer question me when I tell them that I have heard from God on a matter. But the fact is that when you first begin to hear from the Lord and take some radical steps to follow His Word, your family—because they love you—will question your judgment.

When my wife and I were first married, I was pastoring a small church, and we were so poor that my gross income one year was a little less than $2,000. The windows in our house were all broken, and we had towels and underwear and anything else we could find covering them.

There was only one room that had heat, and because the kitchen had water leakage, there was a sheet of ice on the floor in the winter. When any of our family would come to visit us, they would always eat before they came, because they knew we didn't have any food in the house!

It was during this time that God spoke to my heart and told me to begin a traveling ministry. When my family learned of our great new vision, they immediately converged on the scene. "Leave your church? Leave your house? Are you sure this is right?"

As they voiced doubt after doubt, I kept thinking, "It isn't like I'm giving up a whole lot here!" Still, it was a great step of faith for us at the time, and it was difficult to handle the uncertainty voiced by our family.

This particular "dream thief" is much more personal and sensitive, because your family has watched you grow up in the natural. More than anyone, they know your faults and your weaknesses, and when you announce, "Thus saith the Lord," they might try to explain away your dream by your downfalls.

They could convince you that you are compensating for your inadequacies by living in a fantasy world, instead of facing your problems realistically and living life like others do.

What we must always remember is that all of the different types of dream thieves will come to us with an element of truth: "Yes, Time, it has been a long time since the Holy Spirit spoke to me about his; yes, Satan, I do have an ego that likes to exalt myself above others; yes, Friends, I am making some major changes in my life and I don't recognize myself at times; and yes, Family, I admit to these faults and weaknesses."

You Must Hold Fast to the Vision
But as you face head-on the accusations and uncertainties voiced by these dream thieves, as you deal with them according to the Word and the Spirit of God, not only will you be persevering and holding fast to your dream, but you will be strengthened in your inner man and become more like Jesus!

No matter how long it takes; no matter how many times you have to tell the devil that your selfish, egotistical old man is dead; no matter how many friends call you a nut and forsake you; no matter how it hurts when your family comes against your dream with their love for you—hold fast to the vision God has placed in your heart!

What takes precedence over every argument, what is most important, and what we should never lose sight of is that God has placed a vision, a dream, and a desire for our lives in our hearts. And Hebrews 10:23 admonishes us to "hold fast" to what God has spoken to us, not what our family or friends say.

When we receive a word from the Lord, we are to embrace it with all our being, to hold it down so hard that nothing and nobody can steal it from us. We must "hold fast" to our dream with everything in our being!

Source: Dream Thieves by Rick Renner
Excerpt permission granted by Albury Publishing