Friday, March 11, 2011

Food For Thought Friday: Materialistic??

This post is for me. It’s a reminder to myself because this is a struggle for me and I have to keep perspective. The Lord REALLY convicted my heart about this issue for the first time when I was in college, and since then I have definitely been better; but I still struggle occasionally.

It is SO easy to get caught up in the materialistic things of this world. To focus on acquiring earthly things rather than building up treasures for ourselves in heaven. The Bible teaches the total opposite of this principle, but particularly in today’s society, people get lost (hello, look at the DEBT problem in America!) in trying to keep up. I’m not saying it’s not okay to want and to have nice things, because it is. I drive a nice car, wear nice clothes, and have a few designer purses I received as gifts. My point of this “Food for Thought Friday” post is that some of us need to get ourselves in check, and focus on what we are DOING for Christ rather than what we have/want for ourselves. Materialistic things of the world should not be our heart’s desire; nor our purpose.

There were a group of girls who went to North Georgia that instantly pop in my mind when I think of “materialistic.” They all wear designer clothes, have designer accessories and expensive things, and to be honest, they aren’t very nice people. They are all about their fashion and wine nights. They seem to thrive on making other girls feel inferior. Don’t get me wrong; I am certainly not trying to be judgmental. In fact, I pray their relationship with Christ is stronger than it appears. However, I can say that from an outsider perspective, their faith certainly does not seem to be a priority. I have learned from them that it is important to live so boldly for Christ that others know exactly what I stand for…because Matt 5:16 says “in the same way let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven.” I want other people to KNOW that I am living for Jesus….not for my Gucci purse, Seven jeans, or D&G sunglasses. I don’t want anyone to ever look at me and think that “material things” are what I’m all about. We are called to higher living than that, and are to be a light and an example in today’s dark world.

Even more than that, I want my heart to be in the right place. I want to DESIRE God’s continual presence in my life. I want to constantly be drawing closer to Him, to be seeking Him, glorifying Him with my thoughts, actions, attitude, speech, and desires. I want to be so EMPTY of myself and so FULL of the Holy Spirit that I don’t even have room for materialism. I want to be content with what I have….to focus on what I can to on earth to be a SERVANT, not to be served. Our pastor tells us every Sunday night that we should focus more on being a blessing to others than asking God to bless us. What an excellent reminder!! We are already blessed in SO many ways….and it seems as if the only time of year we focus on all of our many blessings is Thanksgiving (unless you’re an avid blogger and you participate in Thankful Thursdays).

We feel like we deserve happiness, and for many of us, that means material things (because most of us are fortunate enough to have all of our basic needs met; relationships, health, food, shelter, etc.) We don’t DESERVE anything….We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. We are not called to be happy, we are called to be HOLY, and that should be our focus. (P.S. Anyone who has accepted Christ as their savior is called to have joy- ALWAYS!- which is totally different from happiness. We should have joy, all the time, despite circumstances, trials, etc…)

Check out these Scriptures related to materialism:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matthew 6:24 NIV) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:28-34 NIV)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18 NIV)

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands. (1 Peter 3:3-5) (**When I teach this verse to my girls, I make sure to explain to them that our body is a temple and we should take care of ourselves and make sure they look presentable, as we are present-day representatives for Christ.)

If you’re honest with yourselves, what are your priorities?? Is it time to get yourself in check? I have to get myself in check on the reg, for real. There are certain people in my life who bring out the “materialistic” side of me, so I’ve had to be aware and conscientious when I hang out with them. There are some places I go that make me want nicer, fancier things (Lenox, Pottery Barn, Nordstrom)…So I have to avoid them. Maybe it sounds drastic, but it is what it is. If I catch myself getting sucked in, I pray for forgiveness and ask for God to transform my heart (I’m a work in progress….He is constantly molding and shaping me!) and help me be content. Here’s to changing my perspective!!

Blessings to you today, my sweet friends!


Living Our Love Song said...

I needed this girl! Thank you SO much! SImple reminders sometimes is all we need. Its so easy to fall in the temptation of material items. Thats why its so important to pour scripture continuously into our hearts. Thanks girl!

Kelly Ford said...

What a great post :-)
I'm reading "Radical" By Platt right now and it speaks right to this truth: that most of us who call ourselves "Christian" have traded the gospel for the American Dream. We aspire to be a self made man and to make much of ourselves through "our" accomplishments, belongings, etc... when in reality, the gospel tells us that we can do NOTHING apart from Christ and that EVERY good thing comes from Him. So, will God bless us with "Stuff" sometimes? YES! Because it gives us the opportunity to give Him glory. But does he also tell us to deny ourselves and to love on those who are not loveable? YES! And that, my friend, is where i struggle.
Its a daily battle for me... pride is a huge issue. Being proud of all we have and somehow thinking it was our good choices that brought these things into our lives is one of the biggest mistakes i make. Daily.

Laura Darling said...

I have to remind myself of this all the time too. Thanks for sharing!

Bethany said...

This was really inspiring and encouraging- thanks for this. And I agree with you on the American debt problem- whew!