By Will Graham
A big house on several acres with multiple cars in the driveway. A prosperous life full of comfort and free from suffering. The opportunity to plot your own course and achieve your dreams through hard work and diligence.
These are a few examples of what some consider the American dream, that national ethos which was summarized in the Declaration of Independence: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
On the surface, this is almost all you could ever ask for; the opportunity to choose your own way and have the freedom to pick your path to happiness. It’s certainly something that is not promised in other parts of the world. Many would give everything they have to come to the United States and pursue the American Dream.
I must ask, though: how’s your American Dream going? Are you finding the happiness you’re free to pursue, or has your American Dream become a nightmare?
You see, I love the idea of the American Dream. I love the belief that we all have opportunities in this great country, and if we’re willing to work and sacrifice, we can reap the benefits. With that said, there’s a bit of an inherent risk with that attitude. When it’s all about me (I’m working hard, I’m making my way, I’m going to do what I need to get ahead), it leaves very little room for the One who has promised that He has a plan for us.
I believe in the American Dream and agree that we should all work hard, for the Bible has plenty to say about downfalls of laziness. But I also believe that it’s impossible to find true and lasting peace and happiness through simply chasing prosperity and comfort.
Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19-21, ESV).
I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb by assuming that many of you reading this are struggling with something in your lives. Maybe the American Dream has come true for you and you have all the money that you could ever need, but you’re finding that the material possessions aren’t buying you any happiness. Or maybe you’ve worked hard every day of your life but nothing has come easy, and it feels like you’re spinning your wheels with little hope of ever catching up, let alone getting ahead.
Regardless of where you are in the journey, I’d humbly suggest that you examine your life and see if everything you’re amassing—both your successes and struggles—are bringing you happiness and hope. Truly consider if you’ve allowed Jesus to consume your life. Are you following His path and calling, rather than your own?
The American Dream is fine—incredible, in fact—but don’t forget that for Christians “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20, ESV). By turning your eyes to Jesus, you not only find joy here on earth, but have hope for eternity as well.
Have you surrendered your life to Jesus as Savior? Visit PeaceWithGod.net to learn more.
Will Graham is the Vice President and Associate Evangelist at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. For more information on the BGEA, visit https://billygraham.org. This article was reprinted with permission.