When it comes to America, I bleed red, white, and blue. I love the 4th of July, baseball, and apple pie. A term that has echoed throughout the history of our beloved United States is “The American Dream.” This term seems to resonate far beyond our shores. Immigrants are pouring over the border, college students are taking out back breaking loans, and blue collar workers are working as much overtime as they can handle in order to chase the American dream.
We all know the dream. The hope of a perfect family, a large home, a couple of brand new vehicles in the drive way, a boat in the garage, a dog in the yard, money in the bank, and a cold drink in hand. This dream that we as Americans chase has become our idea of happiness. We have been indoctrinated by media, magazines, and colleagues. There is an unspoken pressure that seems to exist in most Americans’ lives. I’ve heard it put that success is “buying things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.” This in essence is the basis for the dream.
The American Dream has captivated and crippled so many Americans, and many Christian Americans are the worst culprits. Recently, I read a book entitled Radical, and it was an eye-opening read. The author is David Platt, the pastor at the Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. In this book Platt challenges our ambition and desire for the American dream.
He touches on passages of the Bible such as Matthew 10, where, while Jesus was sending out the disciples, he warns them of how difficult it will be to serve Christ. He never promises them extravagant homes or large bank accounts, but instead persecution and strife. God commands us to be sold out for Him and separate from the things of this world. Why then do we believe that we have the right to spend our God-given money on self-indulgent items?
I am not saying that we are not allowed to have fun in this life, or that we are to buy only things that are completely practical and essential. What I am saying is that we are not called to live the “American Dream.” There is a higher dream to strive for.
Our finances are not our own. I encourage you to find ministries and missions that you believe in and give them some money that you would normally use for something else. So if you were going to buy yourself a new set of golf clubs, instead let your golf score suffer and use that money to fund a mission’s trip. If you were going to get a day at the spa, intentionally walk away and set that money aside to give to a family in need.
Many times people who make large purchases have what’s called buyer’s remorse. It is the feeling of “maybe I shouldn’t have bought that.” The reason may be that you feel you spent too much money on the item, or you didn’t really need the item, or you really couldn’t afford the item. The truth is many times I believe it is a God-given conviction that the money you spent on the item could have been used in a far better way.
Most of us as Americans do not know what it is like to truly struggle. The poorest among us have more than the richest in other countries. The American dream is one of the most dangerous lies that is hurting Christians. Don’t fall for a false sense of security or happiness found in the newest boat, fastest car or biggest house. True happiness is in the Lord. I encourage you to be intentional about denying yourself in one area and giving in another. The feeling is unlike any other, it is addicting and contagious. This is the real American dream, and the fulfillment last far longer.