Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Redefining Femininity - The Heart of Materialism

Hello all!

Redefining Femininity, a blog managed by one of our friends Rebeka Fry, has some great thoughts on "The Heart of Materialism" that we found quite challenging.

The Heart of Materialism

“The best things in life . . . are things.”
~ J. Paul Getty ~

That’s the mantra of materialism. The fundamental focus of materialism is on and a trust in what we can touch and possess. It describes the unchecked, unrestrained, and stockpiling of stuff. While this may be more apparent in others, it still pervades every heart.

But materialism is so much more than just acquiring junk we’ll never use. One journalist describes it this way in an article from The Washington Post Magazine:

“Consumerism was the triumphant winner of the ideological wars of the 20th century, beating out both religion and politics as the path millions of Americans follow to find purpose, meaning, order and transcendent exaltation in their lives. Liberty in this market democracy has, for many, come to mean freedom to buy as much as you can of whatever you wish, endlessly reinventing and telegraphing you sense of self with each new purchase.”
~ April Witt ~

This observation confirms the ignorance and rejection of the aforementioned statement Christ made: “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” We have a default tendency to link who we are with what we have. Christ rescued us from that. For those who believe, we are sheltered in the grace of God and clothed with His righteousness – we are His. By targeting materialism, Jesus isn’t just teaching a truism; He is addressing a sickness of the heart. The issue isn’t about the stuff without – it’s the stuff within. God loved us so much to rescue our coveting souls from materialism and to give us the grace to resist the seduction of a fallen world.

Coveting is replacing our delight in the Lord with our joy we find in stuff. Or, to put it in other words:

“Materialism is what happens what
coveting has cash to spend.”
~ Dave Harvey ~

In and of itself, stuff is not evil and wicked or a sin to consume. If received with gratitude, used in moderation, and stewarded in faith, earthly goods can actually become resources for the glory of God’s Kingdom. But through covetous attractions that stem from the heart, things can take meaning in our lives that is far beyond what God intends. Stuff can become an idol (see Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 4:5). Idolatrous cravings avert our attention from the Giver of gifts to the pithy materials of this world.

“No one can serve two masters;
for either, he will hate the one and love the other,
or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon [money].”
~ Matthew 6:24 ~

Covetousness is choosing earthy trinkets over eternal treasures. The sin is not having stuff – it's stuff having us. When we’re blinded by our things, we become just like Mr. Oblivious from our story in Luke 12. We find it easy to become numb to all things except that which we apparently lack.

Covetousness stalks the rich and poor alike. The mere availability of stuff provides covetous desires in our hearts. But we’ve been chosen for a higher calling – to combat our covetousness with the same intensity of our desires. Yes, I agree that financial affluence can make it harder to thrust complete dependence on the grace of God. Christ Himself said it quite simply and seriously.

“. . . ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to
enter the kingdom of God!’ “
~ Luke 18:24 ~

But God isn’t saying He’s biased against the rich – He’s driving the point that most often, the rich are biased against Him. Because their affluence meets their temporal needs, they often fail to see their eternal need to fulfill the lack of salvation in their hearts.

Covetousness isn’t a cause of our outside surroundings; it doesn’t begin with a shopping addiction or “an offer I just couldn’t pass up.” The root is sin. Indulgence won’t cure the bankruptcy of the soul and the emptiness which accompanies free-reigning covetousness. But God’s remedy for sin stands in the personhood of Jesus Christ. He has freed us, redeemed us, called us His children, and He seeks to unshackle us from a covetous heart and liberate us with a vision of freedom secured in the cross. Covetousness may be powerful, but it’s no match for a benevolent Savior.

What excellent principles that we should all seek to abide by! As Rebeka has said, materialism can be tempting, but we have something better; we have an eternal and ever-lasting relationship with the Lord. Let us not trade our devotion to the Lord for the things of this world, the temporary and materialistic.

God Bless!

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