The last few months as I’ve scrolled through social media I’ve noticed something troubling among some of the Christian posts and pages that I’ve come across. I’ve noticed more and more preachers and Christians are preaching a gospel that’s tied to promoting YOU and what YOU want. It’s like a really slick and subtle version of the prosperity gospel. It’s not the full out, “sow a seed and receive a tangible blessing” kind of preaching, it’s more like, “everything you’re going through right now is so that God can finally bless you with your dream of how you want your life to be and that thing you’ve been waiting for” kind of preaching. Both are wrong, and both can lead people astray. In reality, this teaching is all wrapped around the American Dream – your version of the American Dream and using God and the things of God to obtain it. It says God’s ultimate goal is to blow you up into this big star (or whatever it is that you desire) and give you everything you want. So many are shifting to this mindset and have ulterior motives for seeking God altogether because they have an expectation of God giving them what they want. Social media is simply exposing what was already in many people’s hearts. Although it may feel good for a moment, it will only create insincere Christians and will cause so much damage later, that’s why it’s important to expose it now. I pray that as you read this that you truly evaluate yourself: have you shifted from being a true disciple of Christ to only “serving” God so that He can help you obtain your version of the American Dream?
The American Dream – we’ve all heard of it – the big house, two kids, white picket fence, and dog; the ability to obtain financial wealth, be able to buy whatever you want and climb up the corporate and financial ladder. That is the standard American Dream but we all have our own versions of it. I believe we’re in a time where many believers are simply trying to use God to obtain their version of the American Dream. For some people, their American Dream is a huge ministry platform, a business, great wealth, a spouse, a family, etc. Now, of course, we should all have visions, goals, and plans for our lives that we want to achieve and there’s nothing wrong with that, but what if the dreams we have for our life isn’t God’s dream for our life? What if we’ve made our American Dream into God’s Dream for us? What if we’ve convinced ourselves that what we want is what God wants, therefore, we chase down all of our heart desires in the name of God, never consulting God for what He really wants? Or what if God has revealed something to us that He plans to do in our life, but we’ve taken things into our own hands by trying to make those things happen? Ask yourself: am I seeking God and doing the things of God simply to obtain my version of the American Dream? Do I subconsciously believe that all the things God is doing in my life are simply to reach my dreams and obtain what I want?
It all really goes back to motive. It’s so important to always check our hearts and our motives for everything we do. There have been times that God has had to check me about my motives for certain things, even my expectations in doing certain things. We can be on good behavior or “bear fruit” in a certain area because we want God to bless us with a specific thing we’ve been praying for. For example, there are many single Christians who are practicing purity in their singleness only because they think it will make God bless them with a spouse. In reality, they should be doing it simply because they love God, want to please Him, and want to honor His word. But if we don’t really take out the time to evaluate our motives, we can do things (even things that line up with the word) simply because we expect something out of it and not out of a pure heart. Maybe God has told you to start a ministry, write a book, share Christ on social media, or something else, let your reason for doing it be simply to please God through obedience and genuinely wanting to see people blessed through what He has you doing. Don’t worry about numbers, likes, attention or anything like that. Don’t try to use it to gain some sort of “fame”; simply OBEY GOD and leave it at that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people trying to use God and ministry to promote themselves. These people will often compromise in some way later on just to climb up that ladder of fame in the Christian world. Many of them have either forgotten or do not know the real purpose of ministry. They are simply doing it to achieve their goals and dreams and are just dragging God along. Promotion comes from the Lord, He sets up and sits down, He exalts and brings low, He adds and takes away all for His name sake, our job is simply to obey Him.
Whatever you find yourself doing in life right now, whatever the Lord has you doing right now, do it with pure intentions to advance God’s Kingdom. As I said, there’s nothing wrong with setting goals and aspiring to be something, but don’t let those things cause you to move ahead of God. If He does not tell you to go, do not go. Ask God to give you a heart like Moses when he said: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Pretty much, Lord if You don’t go with me, I will not move. Many have sent themselves and God never sent them, nor is He with them. Many have allowed their dreams to lead them ahead of God and they have no idea that God is no longer even with them. Many ministers have set goals outside of God’s timeline and even outside of His will for them and have put themselves in places that God never desired for them to be. They preach but God is not in it. Many have gone ahead of God in their career and even in their choice of major all in the pursuit of their American Dream and they wonder why they don’t feel close to God anymore, they wonder why they feel empty inside. Don’t leave God’s presence and His will while trying to chase your dreams. It is very possible to build something in the name of God and God not be apart of it at all. Some have built whole relationships and even marriages, tagged God’s name on it, claimed it was a “godly relationship/union” and God never sanctioned them to be together. Why? Because of their desires; because they wanted to obtain their dreams so badly, because they heard a false gospel that said God wants to give them the desires of their heart. Don’t move ahead of God, certain things cannot be undone.
It’s not God’s job to fulfill all of our heart desires or make our dreams come true, it’s our job to lay down our life, pick up our cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). See, in the American Dream and in this gospel that says God wants to give you all your desires, there is no death. There’s no death to self, there’s only promotion of YOU. There’s no death of what you want to pick up what God wants because the lie is: ‘what I want is what God wants for me,’ and that is not always true (especially not in every area of our life). This is why it’s so important to die to self. The gospel is all about dying to our flesh so we can become like Christ. There is a process of death for every believer. My process may not look like yours and yours may not look like mine, but we all have a cross to bear and a fleshly nature that we must die to. We must be willing to die to our desires in order to live in Christ. We can set ourselves up for so much disappointment when we don’t die to our desires. We could expect something so bad and end up being crushed when what we’ve chased never happens. God is only obligated to bring to pass His word, not our desires. Lay your desires down and have an open heart for God’s will (and His timing for everything) even if it goes against what you want.
There are a lot of things that we desire that is not in God’s plan for us or that goes against God altogether. We have to be knowledgeable of the Word and sensitive to God’s Spirit enough to know the difference between God’s will for us and our own desires. It’s very possible to believe that God wants something for us when in reality we want it because it fits within our dreams and then convince our self that it’s God’s will. We should always have an open heart to what God wants. We should be less mindful of the things of our flesh and more mindful of the things of God. Satan wants us to be mindful of the things of the flesh. He doesn’t want us to deny our self or go through a process of death (see Matt. 16:21-23). Anytime you find yourself trying to avoid self-denial or death to your flesh, check yourself, know that Satan is always trying to find that place that you refuse to die so that he can enter in you and influence other areas in your life. No death equals no Christ living in you and no resurrection. Satan always wants to promote YOU (the desires of your flesh). In Christ, we all have a process to go through, but in your American Dream you skip that process and go straight to getting everything you want. When your mind is fixed on getting what you want, you often don’t want to submit to God’s process, you are not mindful of the things of God but of the things of your flesh (which Satan loves).
Everything that God does in our lives is for a much greater purpose than blowing us up or giving us what we want. When God does something, it’s to advance His Kingdom – whether its something personal in you or something He has you to do for others, it’s all to advance His Kingdom in some way. God takes us through a process so that we can be used in the work of the Kingdom, not so He can finally bless us with all of our desires. The ultimate goal of all that we go through as believers is to look like Christ and to be a witness to someone else of the saving power of Jesus Christ. It’s ALL to bring Him glory, not to bring us fame, fortune, platforms, spouses, etc. Whether God has you to reach thousands and millions of people worldwide or just reach your neighborhood or your workplace, its ALL for HIS glory and for the saving of more souls. It’s completely up to Him how He uses you.
Let’s get back to the basics of the gospel; let’s not use God as a means to fulfill our version of the American Dream. Let’s get back to simply wanting to please the heart of the Father and being willing to do whatever He tells us to do, go wherever He tells us to go, and say whatever He tells us to say. Let’s get back to the place where we willingly lay down our desires and agenda, no matter how much it hurts, just to be where He is. If your vision board isn’t God’s vision for your life, let it go. Jesus said, “if anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). If God doesn’t fulfill your dreams, are you still willing to be His disciple? Let go of any ulterior motives you have for serving God and serve Him just because He is God and you love Him. Dreams fulfilled or not, He is worthy of our life.
If you find that your desire for something is much greater than your desire to serve God (if He doesn’t give you that thing), then that thing that you want has become an idol and you need to ask God to help you let go of that idol. Don’t go on covering it up. Allow God to deal with that area. If not, when the time comes and that thing (your American Dream) does not come to pass or you are tempted to compromise to obtain it, it will be a stumbling block in our relationship with God. Anything we want more than God can easily become the reason we denounce Him. Let God search your heart and whatever He reveals to you, release to Him; He loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you. But remember, Christ didn’t die to make you successful, He died to save your soul and make you like Him. So, wherever His process for you leads you, remember that it’s all to make you like Him.
- For those who don’t know, back in October I started a business called Integrity By Design where I sell custom designed Christian apparel and more and encourage God’s people to live out their faith with integrity. I would love your support! You can find the website and catalog of products here. (You can also easily access it by clicking on the “SHOP” button to the left and tab in the menu). You can also follow us on social media: Facebook & Instagram. 20% of all profits go towards helping orphans around the world. And please continue to keep my husband and I in prayer as we embark on this new journey. 😊
- Many of you are continuing to email me seeking advice on relationships and other personal matters. Although I’d love to reply to all your emails and will still aim to do so, at the moment I’m unable to answer every email. So, if you’ve emailed me, know that I’ve seen it. I noticed that most of the emails have to do with relationships and ask very similar questions. I’ve addressed most of the questions in some of my blog posts. Below are links to the posts that will help answer your questions. Also remember, there is no better helper than the Holy Spirit. Simply ask Him and wait patiently for Him to answer you. If He hasn’t given you an answer yet, then you do not need to know the answer right now. In the meantime, focus on your relationship with Him and whatever He has you doing right now. 😉
- I can’t believe 2017 is nearly over! This year went by so fast! Since I started this blog in 2015 till now, I’ve watched God’s faithfulness in using the posts to bless and encourage so many people around the world. I just want to say ***THANK YOU*** to everyone who has read, shared, emailed, commented, and followed! It’s not always easy to step out into something new that God is leading you to do but as you obey, you begin to see the fruit of your labor and obedience. As God has used me to encourage you all through this blog, so many of you have encouraged me to continue doing it and I appreciate it so much! My prayer is that going forward this blog will continue to encourage countless people to live a life of total surrender to Christ and that your lives will teach others what true worship looks like. I pray that you all have a blessed New Year and that 2018 will be our best year yet! Love you all! ❤