Is the American Dream God’s Dream for us?
Throw out the world’s measuring stick. As believers, the aim of our lives is submission to our Good Shepherd, our yieldedness as He molds us into increasingly accurate reflections of Christ. We’re on a JOURNEY, not a fast track to Western “success.” And He’s the One leading – not us.
As Americans, we unknowingly get cultural values mixed up and intertwined with Scriptural truth. It’s subtle – the mix-up usually goes undetected. And everyone around us seems to reinforce the idea that “Surely God’s plan for me is the American Dream. Get my college degree. Get my dream job immediately upon graduation. Get the perfect spouse, home, children, and picket fence. Climb the ladder of success.”
With this silent assumption comes the need for our 5-, 10-, and 30-year plan. There’s constant expectation for us to have all the answers about our lives. If we as believers go with this cultural flow, we will wrongly buy into the idea that “we’re in control of our own destiny, on our way to being self-made.” Self-made. Just listen to the godlessness of that phrase.
Friends, NONE of us are self-made. Perhaps an atheist can be excused for using such a phrase – but for a believer, it simply doesn’t fit. We are sheep; He is the Shepherd. We are clay; He is the Potter. We are children; He is the Father. In every way imaginable, we are the dependent ones.
And to be clear, there is nothing wrong with pursuing education, vocation, etc. The key in the life of the believer, though, is that JESUS is the pursuit. Vocation [which is inextricably tied to calling] and everything else flows from that pursuit. As we follow Him, blessing and increase will inevitably come – but so will hardship and warfare. And the point of it ALL is to become more like Him as we follow – not to accumulate a list of possessions and personal achievements.
He’s the One driving this train. He’s the One writing our stories. So He’s the only One capable of giving an accurate measure of our lives.
So let’s throw out the world’s measuring stick and lean in to hear the trustworthy words of our Shepherd.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2