Steve CookI love watching young people as they’re growing into adulthood, so filled with excitement and teeming with energy. Sure, there may be some fear, but I have never met someone who wants their life to suck. Forgive me for using such a term, but I really need to make a point here.

Have you ever met anyone who actually wanted to live confused life, constantly wrestling with struggles on a month-to-month, week-to-week, or day-to-day basis? Have you ever met anyone with financial struggles as one of their goals in life? Ever met anyone who wanted a life controlled by debt?

Well I’ve never met anyone like that either. Never.

In fact, most everyone I come across wants to enjoy a life that’s pretty much the exact opposite of that. They want peace, stability, financial freedom and to live and experience life on their terms.

So then, tell me: Why are most Americans heading down a path that’s leading towards the opposite of what they really want out of life?

What’s chronically derailing the masses?

If I polled a group of people, I’d get with many different answers blaming things like:

  • the government,
  • big business,
  • cultural differences,
  • some form of privilege,
  • Or, fill in the blank: ____________

But all of these are simply blaming someone else when it comes down to it. But be careful—pass the buck like that and you’ll miss the real underlying reason.

Let’s further explore the question:

Why are most Americans following a path that’s leading towards the very opposite of what they really want out of life?

Good, smart, ambitious people are all doing it. Many of them find themselves in a place they never thought they would be. They did everything that they thought was right. They made good financial decisions, they got educated, they picked up a good job, but at the end of the day, they still find themselves in a place they never wanted to be.

Sure, they might be driving a nice car and living in a nice home in a nice neighborhood. But so many “living the dream” like that find the pressures of life all too consuming. Somehow they just don’t feel the peace, stability, and freedom they hoped to experience or thought they’d be enjoying by now.

Sadly, I’ve seen this happen over and over again.

There’s hardly any well-intentioned  American that escapes this paradox. Sure there are a few who escape it, but most don’t. Most people are frustrated and confused, because they’ve “done everything right”, but the results just aren’t what they thought they would be.

So, what’s wrong? Perhaps, what we think is right actually isn’t. Perhaps we’ve been told a lie.

In fact, I honestly think this IS the real problem: We’ve bought into a lie—a pretty, well-packaged little lie.

What makes sense isn’t always right…

Very few would intentionally do something they believed to be actually wrong—would willingly follow a path that they believed was going to make life really hard, right?

No, most people try their best to choose a path they believe it likely leading to an abundant life.  But then we find out that it doesn’t.

So instead of questioning the path itself, and if we picked the right one, we try harder, focus more and become more determined to do better the things we’re think we’re probably not doing well enough or hard enough or fast enough on tour current path.

I submit that, instead, we need to go back to the beginning—we got on the wrong path by listening to a lie.

Consider:

 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

—John 10:10

Personally, I believe the Bible to be more than just a “good book”—it’s the inerrant word of God. You might not believe in God, and that’s okay. But still, I challenge you to take a moment and consider the above verse. Consider it with me for a minute…

  • The speaker here is Jesus, saying that he came for the people to have life, a full life.
  • But, the thief came to steal, kill and destroy it.

He came to do the exact opposite of what Jesus came to do. There are two forces working here: one to build up life and the other to destroy it.

How do you lure someone into their life being destroyed?

destruction

Well, if you tried targeting only one person at a time, others would see it happening, wise up to you and stop you—or at least try to keep you as far away from themselves as possible.

Think about it: If a serial killer is noticed in a city, robbing people of life, then people become guarded, don’t they? Then eventually, the serial killer is caught and stopped. Anyone would be more cautious and careful who lived in that city, wouldn’t they? People certainly wouldn’t willingly put themselves in harm’s way—they’re too smart for that.

So, how would you successfully destroy people’s lives? You’d figure out how to get the masses on board, right? You would have to get them all moving in the same direction.

During the holocaust, the Nazi’s didn’t tell the Jews they were going to concentration camps or going to be killed. Of course not! They told them that they were being relocated or going somewhere for a better life, so they much more willingly went.

A good life, cleverly disguised…

How does the thief rob you of life?

You’re promised a great life, and it sure looks pretty. It seems to makes great sense, and everyone buys into it too, and assuring you that it is what you should be doing. Today, most Americans are pursuing what I call the Distorted American Dream and life is being stolen, killed and destroyed.

Jesus, on the other hand, promises abundant life, didn’t he? A big reason many don’t believe in him is because so many things he said and taught appear are counter-cultural—because you’d be expected to live differently than most of the rest of people out there.

It’s more blessed to give than to receive.

That makes no sense at all, right?

The last shall be first and the first shall be last.

Huh? Again, doesn’t seem to really make sense.

Which is why many people turn to the ways of the rest of the world.—they want things that seem to make sense to the masses. For instance…

Good Debt Vs. Bad Debt

good debt myth

I believe this is a myth.

It’s something the rest of the world tells us is “just smart”, but is actually a justification that’s led many people into bondage and slavery under the guise of “good debt”.

So most Americans nowadays accumulate good debt, along with some bad debt, because they believe there’s no other way to create an abundant, enjoyable life. It’s part of the “American Dream” today, but this “good” thing has stolen prosperity, killed dreams, and destroyed lives.

Perhaps good debt is one of those pretty-packaged lies. Whereas here’s what Gods Word has to say about debt:

Rich people rule over those who are poor. Borrowers are slaves to lenders. —Proverbs 22:7

And then…

No one can serve two masters at the same time. You will hate one of them and love the other. Or you will be faithful to one and dislike the other. You can’t serve God and money at the same time. —Matthew 6:24

Is “good debt” in that picture anywhere? I don’t see it.

In closing, let’s re-touch on something I mentioned earlier: blaming others.

Perhaps this is a lie that we believe as well. What better way to destroy life than to put people in conflict with each other—even people you don’t know.

And maybe—just maybe—the enemy’s using this conflict to steal, kill and destroy life. Rather than take responsibility for your own life to make great things happen, if you can be distracted with the lie that someone else is responsible for you not experiencing an abundant life, then the enemy can keep you from experiencing the abundant life that Jesus came to give you.

Maybe what seems right is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing…  Perhaps it is wiser to choose the path not every American is taking?

I’d love to hear your comments below.

Blessings,

—Steve

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