Why the American Dream is bad for living out the Gospel…and other ramblings – be patient with me today

It’s no secret that we are blessed in America. But those blessings seem to have become the tail that is wagging the dog.

The vast majority of Americans have one thing on their mind—more stuff. It’s the “American Dream Syndrome” as I like to think of it. We are raised to believe that we can become anything we want, have anything we want, live anywhere we desire, and drive whatever we want. The problem is that we get this mindset ingrained into us and treat God the same way. We live like God is just another luxury that we can attain on our checklist.

Knowing Christ should not be on our checklist. It should BE our checklist.

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2

America is slowly turning into the Church at Laodicea as mentioned in Revelation 3. We have become lukewarm towards God because in America our focus is on what we can earn, not on what we have the opportunity to be given.

Foreign missions are so successful because the people there are in despair for a savior. The American Dream skews that despair and makes us think that our money can solve all the problems we have. Money doesn’t solve problems, it just creates more of them, just ask Biggie (ok, that reference was probably lost on 80% of you – ask your teenager, they’ll know).

Fifty-three percent of the world lives on less than $2 per day. No, I didn’t leave off a zero. 2. One plus one. Square root of four. Number of BCS titles LSU has won in the past 5 years (Geaux Tigers). T-W-O.

But here we are spending $5 on a latte and thinking nothing of it. It would take a month of work for 53% of the world to fill up my gas tank.

To many, affluence has reduced God to a safety net for eternity, not a compelling, life-sustaining presence in their lives. Many of our lives are not ones lived by faith, but on the comfort of our savings account. Our daily bread comes not from God, but from the overstocked, stainless steel fridge sitting in the kitchen with the granite countertops in the nice neighborhood down the street from the good school.

By now, some of you reading this probably think I’ve gone off the deep end. I know I’m over-generalizing, but stick with me.

What I’m getting to is that no matter how many zeros are in our paychecks, no matter how big our Roth IRA is, we must daily live like we have nothing but God. Our love for Him should be so great that without Him we would feel bankrupt with no hope.

And you know what, without Him we would be bankrupt with no hope. And we must remember that there was a time in each of our lives that this was true. Imagine the Kingdom work that would be done through CrossPoint if every member lived with reckless abandon for nothing but God and just let the other stuff fall in place. The greater our zeal for knowing nothing but Christ and Him crucified, the more He is made known in our everyday lives.

I’m usually not a big New Year’s resolution fan, but last year, I heard possibly the best one ever. Here it is: “to be more in love with God tomorrow than I was today.” Since I heard it, I’ve taken it on as my own. I encourage you to do the same.


1 Response to “Why the American Dream is bad for living out the Gospel…and other ramblings – be patient with me today”

  1. 1 Regina Stewart
    July 16, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Hi Jonathan, An awesome blog today! I wonder if America is headed in the direction of another Great Depression like in 1929 and ’30’s. Jenny, Megan and I went to see the new American Girl movie last weekend, “Kit Kittredge”. It is set in the early 1930’s during the Depression and Jenny and I both wondered to each other after the movie, if America is not headed that way again. My parents grew up during that time and I remember some of their stories. As much as I do not want to have to go through a period like that, it may be the only way Americans turn back to God, acknowledging that He is Everything we need, He is our All in All. I wonder if we will have to be deprived of all we think is important, our “stuff”, our “status”,etc. to realize when God is all we have left, we find out He was all we needed in the first place. I would encourage everyone to see “Kit Kittredge”. It is a family movie with a very good story, but most of all, those of us who have no first-hand knowledge of the Great Depression can get a taste of how painful it was. Unfortunately I don’t remember God have direct part in the movie, but He is there as people help others in a very sad and difficult time.



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