President Abraham Lincoln once said, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
An ancient biblical proverb says, "Two things I ask of you (God) ... give me neither poverty or riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God." (Proverbs 10:7-9)
The idea conveyed is having little or much can affect the character of a person -- and a nation. The United States has seen both. In her early years, she had little, while in modern times she has had much. Today, the U.S. is the leader in innovation, has the greatest university system, the world's most powerful military, the largest economy and provides unequaled human freedoms.
Since the late 1800s, which began the industrial age, America has seen incredible growth, and I believe this success has changed America's character. Her pride has grown into arrogance. Her increased knowledge has questioned the need for God.
Her advancements in technology have made her like a god, and her high-tech weapons have replaced God's protection.
The principle of abundance leading to a denial of God is a predictable pattern. When riches, power and success mount there is a quiet shifting of the heart and soul of a nation that when left unchecked leads to its downfall.
What is America's greatest enemy? Ourselves. The lure of money and power is becoming our Great Destroyer. Its deceptive appeal has caused us to think too highly of ourselves. It has created a false sense of security bringing us to believe we are a nation that is indestructible and indispensable to the world. We have been willingly seduced by prosperity giving birth to the illicit children of ease, complacency and immorality.
What shall we do? Let us examine our ways and not walk the paths of other nations.
Let us learn from the downfall of ancient empires like Rome, Egypt, Greece and the once vast British Empire. America's future is up to its own citizens. Will we trust in ourselves or almighty God? The answer determines our national destiny.
Let us turn to Christ, and may He be the hope of our nation.
Clint Decker is president and evangelist with Clay Center-based Great Awakenings Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org