Materialism- The Prime Distraction
Why you have chosen to visit this web site is your business. We have chosen to make this information available for your consideration of the matters at hand. One of the concerns we have is addressing the circumstances that have kept men and women, good people, from the truth of God's word, and from the glorious freedom found in following the teachings of Jesus.
Materialism is best viewed as the preoccupation with things, that is, material possessions and experiences, which are pursued to fulfill the perceived needs of the heart of man. The standard of living which one erects as a goal serves as the prime mover in the game of "material pursuit," and is the place we will start our examination of this matter.
The American economy is based largely on consumption, with our mindset conditioned by marketing gurus to think in terms of what we shall purchase next. Indeed, whenever we get a few extra dollars, we generally consume them. This is evidenced by a negative personal savings rate among many, with the average savings being less that half of what is was a decade ago. The average personal credit card debt is near $4000 U S and growing each month. We continue to habitually spend more than we make.
It has well been said that "we spend money we do not have, to buy things we do not need, to impress people we do not like." That, when critically examined, is symptomatic of the average American consumer's mindset. It is also a sad commentary on the spiritual condition of many people, a condition which has led you to consider what the word of God has to say on the topic, which is, in and of itself, voluminous. Jesus said three times more about money and possessions than He did about Heaven! Obviously, God does know the heart of man.
To state it in its raw form, there is a God-sized hole in the heart of every man and woman which can only be filled with Jesus Christ. It was placed there by God to draw man to God, but man has gone off in every possible direction, seeking fulfillment in everything except his Creator. The teaching and acceptance of godless evolution as fact has created a form of reasoning (if you can honestly call it that) which profoundly limits the consideration of man finding his significance in God, through Jesus, and has led to this aching emptiness, which can never be satisfied with things.
The first step in overcoming the trap of materialism is realizing that there is a better way, and that way is the way of truth. There is such a thing as absolute, transcendent, immutable truth, and that truth is God's word, in its entirety. We realize that this concept, to some, is an insurmountable barrier, which can only be broken down by shattering the spirit of the one who will not believe. It is quite possible that the reality of the Rapture will accomplish just that in the lives of many.
Jesus taught on the subject of wealth and possessions repeatedly, for He knew that "where a man's treasure is, there his heart will be also."
He warned to "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15).
He then went on to paint a word picture of a man who did very well in his agri-business, and had anticipated a life of ease for the next few years. But this man made no preparations for eternity, and when he died suddenly, all was lost.
Face it... he who dies with the most toys is still dead, and if he took no consideration of his eternal soul, all is indeed lost. Not only lost, but he'll be eternally regretting his preoccupation with material things while burning in the torment of hell. Possessions did not send him to hell; the lack of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ did... a relationship which, to his own thinking, was unimportant when compared to the pursuit of this worldís goods and pleasures.
Where does this leave us at this point? Christ did not condemn material things. He condemned anything that keeps man that all important decision for God. The love
of money (not money itself) is the root of all evil, and has led many down the path to destruction. It can sometimes be a blessing in disguise when God allows some tragedy in a man's life to wipe out all of his material wealth. The wise man will see that the most important things in life are immaterial, and that true happiness is found only in Christ and in the people God brings into his life.
What effect have things had on your own spiritual walk with God? Is there a change to be made? What point is there to continuing on the road you're on? Study carefully the issues related to possessions, stewardship and the importance of these matters in light of God's word. You will find emancipation unlike any other when finally you are able to place Christ above all, with eternity in Heaven as the final reward.