It is down right unnerving! We are in a society that overwhelmingly is composed of people who chase the American dream. As a society, we believe in the American dream without questioning. We are sure the keys to the "good life" are on the American dream's key ring. Thus, achieving the American dream makes life good!

The American dream gives us the right to pursue happiness. The keys to happiness are wealth, a superb lifestyle, many possessions, limited responsibility, and lots of personal pleasure (as defined by each person).

So we work ourselves to death pursuing the American dream. Why? We are convinced it is essential for the pursuit of happiness. We get money, but we are not happy. The conclusion: we do not have enough money. We purchase the equipment for a superb lifestyle (wonderful homes, "bells and whistles" automobiles, recreational equipment), but we are not happy. The conclusion: "We need something else." Most of us have difficulty listing everything we own (or does it own us?), but we are not happy. The conclusion: "Let's be super consumers who live to possess." We work hard to reach a time when we have little responsibility, but we are not happy (we are bored!). We indulge our pursuits of pleasures only to find devoting life to pleasure is meaningless. The conclusion: we are confused and feel betrayed!

Think! Is it not amazing that so many who pursue the American dream never find happiness? Many (the greater majority) commit to the journey. Yet before "the goal" is achieved, there is a death; there is an illness requiring all one's strength and endurance; there is a divorce; there is a child causing agony; there are dismal detours to "nowhere;" there is financial collapse; or there is the unexpected (and it is horrible!).

We live in an unredeemed world as an unredeemed people. We can become redeemed people, but that does not make the world a redeemed world. What is the nature of an unredeemed world? Injustice. Exploitation. Deceit. Failed relationships. Grief. Suffering. Sorrow. Death. Does the fact that we accept redemption in Jesus Christ protect us from an unredeemed world? No! It did not protect Paul, or Peter, or the twelve, or the Christian martyrs!

Could it be that there is something more important to live for than the American dream? Could it be that Satan has deceived us by getting us to blame God for Satan's work in an unredeemed world?

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:20,21).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 1 August 2004

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