Everywhere you live there are challenges to the Christian faith. If you are a Christian living in China or the Middle East there is the challenge of staying true to the faith under persecution. If you are a Christian living in a remote village in Africa there is the challenge of finding fellowship. If you are a Christian living in America there is the challenge of the American Dream.
Recently I have been trying to examine my Christian walk to see in what areas I am weak. As I look at my life, without question, my biggest downfall is trying to follow after “success”. Perhaps the greatest of all values in America is that of success. We strive for nice cars, big houses, important jobs, and so on because they give off the image of success that we so desperately seek. Far too much of our time, energy, and thoughts are devoted to either becoming successful or dwelling on the fact that we are not successful. In the end we feel trapped. We never have enough; we are never satisfied.
This type of thinking is far different from what we read in the Scriptures. Our culture values pride while the Scripture speaks of humility; our culture values being first while the Scripture speaks of being last. In America we strive to be self-sufficient, whereas the Bible tells us to rely completely on God. Perhaps there is not a culture that has its values more contrary to the Bible than ours.
I cannot remember where I heard it or who said it but this is a paraphrase of his question–If you had all material things but did not have Christ would you be satisfied? Could you find enough joy in a car, an i phone, or a successful career that it would not bother you at all that God was not a part of your life? On the flip side if you had nothing–no place to live, no earthly success, no earthly possessions–but you had Christ, would that satisfy you?
If we are honest these are hard questions to answer but are questions that we must ask ourselves. As you live your life, are you so radically and passionately in love with the Savior that if the Lord gave or if the Lord took away you could sincerely say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord”?
I encourage you to take stock in your life and search to see where your heart is. Are you spending more time asking God to bless you with more goods or a better job rather than asking God to show you ways how you can bless others? Are you not satisfied with where you are in life? Do you struggle to be content with what you either have or do not have? Do you have to have the latest and greatest gadget? If you can answer yes to these questions, you have been sucked into this American Dream. I urge you to escape now before it becomes a heavenly nightmare.
May your focus, time, energy, effort, money, talent, life all be used with a heavenly/eternal mindset. May your love for Christ and the gospel be your greatest motivation to live for eternity and not get bogged down by the rotting treasures of this life. Why, you ask? Because Jesus is so worth it and in the end only he can satisfy!