Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thoughts on Consumerism

"Consume" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as, "to spend wastefully" or "to squander." I find this interesting because I feel like America has a "consumer" mentality. As December has begun and Christmas is right around the corner, there is an urge in Americans (or maybe even humans) to buy more and spend more. As a society we are almost forced into this mentality; we have to buy presents and decide what we want to be bought for us. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with gift exchange. I think though, that we get so wrapped up in the buying and wanting of mere things that we forget about the simplicity of the message of Christmas and of life in general.

Let me explain what I mean by people consuming life in general. Recently I've been listening to some sermons about family and marriage. The pastor was explaining about how in our marriages we often have a consumer view, we are in the relationship to GET/GAIN something from it. Happiness and fulfillment happen in marriage (and other relationships), but this is not the goal or the purpose of marriage. Rather the purpose is to be about giving of oneself and ultimately its about sanctification.

I think that we have this mentality in all of life. We, as "good" Christians might never say it out loud, but our actions speak to what we believe and hold in our hearts. We, as people, are selfish. I get so frustrated with myself sometimes because I am supposed to be about Kingdom things; earth is not my home; I am a citizen of heaven, and yet, it seems like earthly principles and world views sneak in and take over my Kingdom thoughts. There is a pull on me, and Christians as a whole, to live a life that goes along with our society's norms. But we are to live counter-culturally. Lord, give us grace to do it!

In the Sunday school I teach, we're talking about Jesus' return to earth. The point that I am trying to hit home to them this month is that we need to have an eternal perspective. Our hope is Jesus. He is who he said he is. He is returning one day to "right the wrong" in this world. He is coming in glory and splendor to renew and restore ALL things. Titus 2:11-14 says,

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."

We look forward to this blessed hope, the appearing of Jesus. This is the reason we deny ungodliness and worldly desires such as consumerism.

Consumerism pervades most of our lives as American Christians. Let us be aware of our own actions and hearts, that we may live in a way that is indeed counter-cultural. And that we may be givers of all that we are to the glory of God, in this season and in every other, looking forward to the hope of His coming.

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