A gentle whisper from the LORD...

"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:11-12

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pursuing the American Dream?

"But King David replied...'No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not...sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.'" 1 Chronicles 21:24

I find myself writing this post with hesitation. When God lays something on my heart, it usually means making a change in some way. And the reason this would make me nervous is because I find myself grasping too tightly to the things of this world...or even more specific, the things of this country of ours...America.

I hear so often the phrase "American Dream" and so many people hold it up as THE standard for living. But as I sit back to analyze what the American Dream entails, it begins to break my heart. In reading "Radical" by David Platt, I learned that the phrase came from James Truslow Adams and he gave this description, "a dream...in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are." Platt goes on to explain that this is not a Biblical thought because it focuses on our own abilities and all the praises we can receive as a result of our own efforts. Then he gives this powerful statement: "While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God."

So it makes me wonder. How am I living the American Dream and what is God leading me to sacrifice in order to make much of God? This is where it becomes somewhat scary for me. According to King David, a sacrifice must cost me much. When I look at Jesus' life and his ministry, he was so simple. He did not have all that we have today yet He was so powerful and his ministry was life changing. I look at my life and see so many unnecessary things that just might be getting in the way of what God wants to do through me. For example, how much time do I waste watching TV rather than spending time in His Word? How do I spend my money...could it be used for others who need it more? What do I think about, maybe even obsessively, that become distractions and keep me from focusing on Christ? Is my time focused on serving others or fulfilling the "me time" needed each week to revitalize me? What must I sacrifice that costs me much in order to make much of God?

I find these to be overwhelming questions. But maybe my overwhelming feelings are a result of listening to a lie rather than the truth. In "Jesus, The One and Only" Beth Moore says, "Satan has convinced us that laying down our self-stuff is some huge sacrifice...Our self-stuff is what makes us most miserable!" As mere humans, we run from sacrificing and think the other side will be desolate, boring and lonely. But in all reality, when we give it all up to Him and for Him, God will be glorified and He will fill us with unspeakable joy! And when much is made of God, the American dream becomes a shallow and empty dream.

So what's it going to be...the easy American dream or the sacrificial Christian life? You decide!