The commendable and admirable aspects of the current “American Dream” might be culturally defined as going to a prestigious college, getting a high-paying job that we enjoy working at, having a happy and fulfilling marriage, living in a beautiful house in a desirable location, having a family, having good friends, participating in sports, being active in our community, making a positive contribution to the world, being able financially to support worthwhile charities and to help other people, to send our children to college, to have grandchildren, to live long and healthy lives free of illness, and to be able to travel and to enjoy financial security in our retirement.
Certainly people who are born with easily recognizable gifts…such as the athletic talent to someday run 9.6 seconds in the 100-meter dash in track-and-field…or to play professional sports in the NFL, NBA, World Cup soccer, and the MLB…for example…should pursue these God-given talents…with everything they have in terms of time, effort, and determination.
The same thing goes for people who show promise at an early age on a musical instrument, or display the outgoing people-skills to run for political office, or demonstrate the argumentative skills to become a courtroom lawyer, or have the intelligence to be able to earn a PhD in mathematics.
I have friends who knew in late grade school or early high school that they wanted to become a medical nurse…or work in landscape gardening…or work in commercial building construction…or have a family and be a stay-at-home mom.
But the critical observation within the broad array of moral concepts…is that the biblical narrative stories of faith…the God-composed life-scripts for the people of faith recorded in the Bible…have little or nothing to do with the otherwise positive and commendable aspects of the American Dream…however these universal aspects are translated back in time to the various ancient cultures and geographical locations of the fully detailed, biblical life-scripts of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David all the way through to Paul.
This is the painfully offensive part of the biblical gospel message that infuriates worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
This is the novel and innovative feature of the biblical narrative stories of faith that creates the fork-in-the-road detour away from the narrowly exclusive emphasis by worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…aimed solely upon the pursuit of the current, culturally defined American Dream…through the means of our God-given talents to achieve self-validation and individual achievement…on our own…apart from God.
A God-composed journey of faith life-script…specifically tailored to each of us by the God who created us…is much better than pursuing the positive and enticing features of the current, culturally defined American Dream.
God displacing our ways with His higher ways…as actualized within God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…is not a negative…but is the most positive reality imaginable.
Unbelief in the realm of worldly conventional thinking will reject Jesus Christ…but Christians today must comprehend within their discipleship callings…the meaning of the concept of picking up our cross to follow Jesus.
No matter what are our varied career paths and the individual specifics of our unique callings and mission-plans…the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ applied to our lives…is better than the American Dream procured through self-effort and autonomous individualism (Mk. 8:34-38).
Finally, the rejection of Jesus Christ leading to the cross…is in part…the result of the worldly conventional offense of Jesus not in the slightest way satisfying the expectations of the religious leaders in Jerusalem…that they incorrectly assumed they were entitled to…for the Messiah to provide the new worldly context to inaugurate all of the positive aspects of the first-century version of the American Dream…starting with the military and political expulsion of the Roman occupiers of their country Israel.
But the amazingly divisive and differentiating character of the fully scripted and detailed mission-plans for Abraham through Paul are not about fulfilling the worldly aspects of the past and present versions of the American Dream.
The biblical narrative stories of faith are about enabling God to set-up and manage a program throughout human redemptive history…that allows God to actualize events and circumstances into reality…to fix our world and our lives.
This is an elevated program…that will run above and often contrary to the culturally accepted direction of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking (Mt. 5:3-12, 6:25-34).
This element of elevated unconventionality explains Abraham waiting in faith for the birth of Isaac…Joseph’s unusual MBA preparation in the house of Potiphar and the prison of Pharaoh…the Israelites in bondage in Egypt…the advance preparation of Moses as a shepherd of sheep in Midian…David being pursued for his life by the jealous King Saul…Peter utterly failing in the courtyard of Caiaphas during the night trial of Jesus…and the incredible conversion of Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus…creating the radical humility needed for a highly educated Pharisee to take the gospel message that Jesus is the Messiah to the larger Greco-Roman world…without looking down his nose in disdain at the polytheistic, idol-worshipping Greeks and Romans of his day.
These are the scenarios composed by God to fix our world and the problem of sin in our lives.
The cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ cannot be the invention of human literary fiction…because this divinely composed life-script does not come within miles of the aspects of any universally defined American Dream (Mt. 4:8-10).
The cross on Calvary Hill is the absolute worst thing that can happen to the long-awaited Messiah…the epitome of human failure as defined by the positive aspects of the American Dream.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the absolute best thing that can happen to any person…overcoming and defeating death.
The mission-plan of the Jesus Christ the Son of God…the Passover Lamb of God…”slain from the foundation of the world”…is to experience the absolute worst and the absolute best…in unselfish service to mankind…filling-up and encompassing the entire spectrum of human experience…for our sakes.
If the gospel message of salvation was aimed at…and accessible only…to the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the beautiful, and those few people gifted to be leaders…then we could easily judge in hindsight today that the appeal of Jesus Christ would have been to the religious and political elites in Israel…bypassing and disregarding altogether the common people…and attracting an entirely different retinue of followers than the apostles and disciples that make-up the early Christian church in Jerusalem.
But Jesus Christ instead is lethally rejected by the worldly-minded religious leaders (Jn. 11:47-48)…thus setting-up the context of the cross of Calvary…wherein God validates both the worst and the best events in terms of the worldly perception of absolute failure and success…divinely separating-out and parsing for us the key moral issue within the broad array of moral concepts…of God-sovereignty within the entire range of human experiences…above and outside of the aspects of the American Dream.
The brilliant creative capacity of God to get His arms around the vast stretch of human experience…maintaining fidelity to God-sovereignty in the midst of the lowest failure and the highest success… allows every person of faith that accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and King…to get to know God personally from the least to the greatest…as prophesied roughly 2,600 years ago by the prophet Jeremiah…in anticipation of new covenant believers (Jer. 31:31-34)…all energized by God-sovereignty rather than being fueled by the pursuit of individual achievement according to the tenets of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
The cross and the resurrection of Jesus were in service to mankind…at the peak and pinnacle of moral perfection…the purest essence of virtue.
The cross and the resurrection of Jesus were and are radical measures in the extreme…designed by God to fix the human problem of sin…of going our own way in autonomous individualism.
When this is separated-out and highlighted from amongst the broad array of moral concepts…this provides compelling evidence for accepting Jesus Christ into our lives…as the blemish-free Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin…being morally perfect and having sinless virtue.
The humanly inconceivable test of the consistency of God-sovereignty in the Garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary Hill…falls outside of and is entirely immune to the worldly wrong value-judgments placed on the appearances of failure and success.
This means that the human life lived within a God-composed journey of faith life-script…is independent of the otherwise commendable goals, aspirations, and worldly standards of the American Dream.
This validates the argument that the Bible cannot be the creative invention of human literary imagination.
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.