Personally I have always loved the song “God Bless the USA” and everytime I hear it I am ready to go into battle to protect this land. A few years ago I heard the song at a fireworks display and it brought tears to my eyes (the truth is, it does not take much, just ask my wife!). Despite being proud to be an American and thankful for each day that I have gotten to spend in this country there is one thing that I wrestle with everyday. THE AMERICAN DREAM!
From the day we are brought into this world as American citizens, we have the american dream drilled into us. Before going any farther I want to explain what I mean by the American dream as I have come to understand it. First it stems from that mentality that we can do it. That we can start with not much of anything and become millionaires. One such man who exemplifies the american dream is Howard Schultz, who grew up in a poor home, scraping to make by and then went on to be the driving force behind Starbucks. That is an amazing accomplishment! The american dream is also that mentality that makes us believe that we can have whatever we want. Many people feel as though they have arrived at the american dream when they have a wife, kids, a house, two cars (one their dream car) and a fat retirement savings. The american dream is completed when we have retired early on in life and then get to play golf and relax everyday (sorry I am a fan of golf).
As a result of the american dream kids are taught early on they need a good education. When they graduate from high school they have to go to a university so that when they graduate they can find a high paying job so that they can begin that path to fufill the american dream and finally retire at 45 in Flordia. Which by the way is defined by how much we acquire in things and money. Is my house as big as your house is my car as nice as your car. Do we have two or three houses. Where did your kid go to college. How is your 401k doing and is the stock market up or down. These are all the things that consume the mind of those pursuing the american dream.
A curse that is what the american dream can be to young followers of Christ throughout the country who have been ingrained with the need to fulfill the american dream! I have found that from early on I have had to fight the american dream. As a believer I am called by Christ to pour myself out for others for the sake of the gospel. The truth is that we can not serve both God and money. The american dream forces many into trying to serve both God and money. This simply can not happen. Just ask people how much debt they are living in and you will quickly find that they are living for the american dream. As children of God we must put this dream to death in order to pursue the dream of God. Namely that His kingdom will expand throughout the world.
What I am not saying is that we can simply look at a persons lifestyle and declare if they are serving the american dream. The reason is because God has chosen to bless some people financially and they can afford to have the things of the american dream. For many though they have chosen to live lives in great debt in order to have the things of the american dream. They are simply living a facide.
So I call out to children of God to be wary of the american dream. Be cautious when making decisions that the american dream is not the driving force behind that decision. Instead make decisions that will allow you to pursue the expansion of God’s kingdom. In reality when you choose to seek God and his kingdom He will provide the abundant life for you. Not neccesarily a material life but an abundantly fulfilled life!
So although I am proud to be an American I have come to understand that I must watch out for the CURSE of the AMERICAN DREAM!