The American dream is a beautiful thing. Wikipedia defines it as follows:
“The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.”
To put it another way: the harder you work, the more success you can expect to see.
The trouble comes in when we start to apply that thinking to our relationship with God. We don’t earn more blessings by striving more to please our Father. Doggedly following the law is not going to change the way He sees us. This is not the American dream, this is the grace of God and the thing about grace is that it’s only received through one means, and that means is not our works!
Now while that may make you feel powerless, let’s consider the converse: if our behavior in trying to adhere to the law doesn’t change the way God sees us, then our incorrect behavior, our failings, our sins, also does not change the way He sees us – not if we are saved and under grace! And that beautiful truth is about the most empowering and freeing thing I can think of!
We need not strive to gain God’s approval; through the blood of His Son we have it already and eternally. Rather, we are free to simply enjoy God’s Presence. It’s an incredible thing: as we abide in Him, He does the work within us, changing us from the inside out.
The changes that He brings, through time in His word and in His Presence, are not born of gritted teeth and white knuckles striving in all our human strength to endure against temptation and all the troubles of this world. No. They’re the opposite. They are naturally supernatural. They are lasting. They are sustainable. Because they have so little to do with us and so much to do with Him.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”