You know what? America can be really stupid. I mean, I don't want to come off like a jerk, but... oh, I don't care; I probably will.
This whole American Dream thing, this whole "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" and "you can do anything if you believe and try hard enough" thing sometimes makes me angry. Very angry. Because, first of all, it's stupid. Humans have limitations. I will never qualify for the Olympics and I don't think I ever could have. I honestly don't think I could have passed college physics, no matter how much I studied or was tutored. My brain just doesn't work very well in that area.
The thing about saying that in America is people will assume I'm selling myself short when, honestly, I'm just being factual. It's stupid to say I could make an A in a college physics class because a horse has about the same chance of making an A in college physics, or qualifying for the Olympics for that matter. It's foolishness to believe that anyone can do anything if they believe they can and try hard enough.
But there's something more sinister in it. Or at least more worrisome. Americans have a hard time really actually believing that they NEED Jesus. That they can't get to Heaven by trying to be a good person. In fact, they balk when you admit that you aren't a good person. But none of us is. In my nature, I'm a bad person. I'm selfish and I want what I want and I don't really care about what you want or need unless it makes me feel good to do so. [and please, don't try to argue with me about this; I promise that I know myself better than you know me. I live with me all the time.]
I know that I'm a particularly selfish person, so don't feel like you have to agree with me on everything. I just mean, if we believe what the Bible says about sin, we cannot possibly believe that we are good people on our own. But it took me a really long time (20 years, in fact) to see that I couldn't turn my own life around. And when I don't rely on Jesus, I fall into the same sins (maybe to a lesser extent on the outside, but the heart is what matters). When I don't submit myself to the Holy Spirit, I'm still rebellious in my heart; I'm still a liar, a critic; I'm lustful, hateful, and incredibly selfish. In short, I fail. I'm a failure.
But that is the beauty of my God. His power is made perfect in my weakness. The faith that I have is not reliant on things I do or do not; it trusts that He will complete the good work He began in me. I have no bootstraps to pull on. No matter how hard I try, I cannot transform myself into Christ-likeness. I cannot make myself be good (or not for very long at all). But I don't have to rely on myself. Thank God!
So America, get over yourselves. You're hindering the Gospel.