We are all consumers. I know it, you know it, deal with it. However, what we consume does not have to be worldly things, but in fact we can consume things that are imperishable. Have you ever stopped to think what it is you treasure in life? Better yet, have you ever stopped to think what God treasures? In Exodus 19:5, God says that if his people obey him and keep his covenant than his people will be his treasured possession along with the WHOLE EARTH. This isn’t saying that obeying God and keeping his covenant are mutually exclusive entities that both have to be obeyed because that would mean that God’s covenant with his people is against his will. Now, some of you hyper-Reformed folks reading this might say, ‘Exactly, that’s the point, God has two wills.’ I know that argument and this is not about that. This is about being obedient to God and keeping his covenant as being the same thing. Now, as his new covenant community we enter into covenant with almighty God through his Son Jesus Christ by grace (that is, though we are guilty of sin and are undeserving of anything besides death Jesus Christ was sent to suffer and die on the cross wherein all of the sin of humanity was placed upon his shoulders and sin and death were defeated through his willing sacrifice on our behalf for the forgiveness of sins that we might be raised with him to new life as new creations as a result of his resurrection from the dead and victory over evil, though despite all of this we have merited nothing but death and by the favor of God we are given life) through faith (which means that the Spirit within us has turned us from our sinful ways, repentance, and we have confessed our sin before a holy God, confession, and professed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who is God and his Gospel through which salvation was accomplished, profession, and as a result of the Spirit working through us our flesh is put to death, mortification, and we are brought to new life in Christ, vivification, that we might be capable of living a life of faith under the grace of God by the power of the Spirit enabling us to imitate Jesus Christ though reminding us of our finitude as human beings bringing us to humility and worship of God in all we do, sanctification) and this is a gift of God apart from ourselves (Ephesians 2:8). Therefore, the treasured possession of God is his people and all of creation. He has the right to claim us because he is God and we are not. He also has the right to not claim us because he is God and we are not. God is sovereign over salvation and he is sovereign over creation. We are his stewards in this world, but we are not him (Genesis 1:27-29). We bear his image, but we are not God. So, how foolish is it then if we get angry or frustrated if something that we have is taken? How foolish is it then if we act as a child does when a toy of theirs is taken from them as if to say, “That is mine, give it back!” As a child, we were dependent upon our parents for all things, yet, longed for independence with all that we were. As an adult, we are called biblically to do the opposite. We are called to be independent in one sense in this world, yet, to long for dependence upon our heavenly Father with all that we are. If we are not dependent on God, than we do not trust in him. Being independent is not depending on anyone or anything. Yet, I wonder how many of us literally don’t depend on anything.
Do we depend on drugs to keep us healthy and well? Do we depend upon our job to provide food, nourishment, and comfort for ourselves and our families? Do we depend on things of this world which perish and don’t last to “look good” and presentable? Do we depend upon entertainment to satisfy our hunger to laugh, cry, or think? We were not created to be independent, we were created for dependence. As a child to be dependent on our parents and God, and as an adult to be dependent on God and our spouse if we are married. We have been created to depend on something or someone. The world reveals this. That is why people consume things. People seek pleasure and fulfillment in many things that aren’t God and depend on their things to make them happy. People exchange the truth of God for lies as Paul says and turn to makeup and plastic surgery for immortality, to winning a competition or attaining a sought after job for glory, and to money, cars, food, and sex for happiness. Which of these things lasts? None of them! We are consumers not just because we live in a capitalistic culture which promotes consumerism, but we are consumers by nature because we desire to seek immortality, glory, and happiness outside of God for ourselves to consume for our own fulfillment. That is because we are sinners and to say we don’t do these things would be to say that we are perfect human beings which even that statement implies pride and arrogance unless our very character which is by nature part of our being is sinless perfection. That is to say, if by nature we are God, and we are not. The desire to be like God is the very reason we were fooled by the serpent in the Garden of Eden in the first place and were expelled from the presence of God. Think about it. Who is the one who is immortal, glorious, and is the source of joy which supersedes any source of happiness that we could possibly produce for ourselves in this finite life? GOD.
I chose to discuss consumerism because I believe that many Americans worship what they consume whether it be their work, their car, their house, their family, their church, their stuff, their doctrine, their Bible (Bib-olatry), or themselves. This is not at all to say that working, having a family, having a house, having a family, going to a church, having stuff, supporting biblical sound doctrine, and believing in the blessed Scriptures is bad. I am saying that when we find fulfillment in something that isn’t God and put our ultimate trust, devotion, and love into something that is perishable and doesn’t last, we have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. Then, we have committed idolatry. Don’t consume your faith, cultivate it and don’t do things for your fulfillment, do all things for the glory of God in whom we find our fulfillment as Christians created in his image.
I started this blog not because I wanted to use it as a source of electronic online therapy for myself, but as a forum for everyone to discuss faith, culture, and theology. I have been disappointed lately with already putting up 2 posts and having nearly 200 people visit this blog, yet, only a handful have made any comments and no one has attempted to discuss anything. You see where I’m going now, don’t you.
What is your joy? If the first thing that comes to your mind is a shopping mall, an action movie, a sporting event, a tv show, a pair of shoes, a physical activity, a shelf full of books, a library, the internet, sex, or anything else that doesn’t start with Jesus and end in Christ, than you are guilty of the sin of idolatry. Search you hearts brothers and sisters. I know I continually struggle with putting my trust in things as opposed to Almighty God. If you struggle with this than I challenge you to repent and confess you sin before God right now. If you are not a Christian and this resonates with you, than I challenge you to seriously consider going to someone who is a Christian in your life and talking to them about your guilt and asking them about the freedom which comes through knowing Jesus Christ as savior.
Don’t be a consumer of this blog as so many people have become consumers of their churches today, but get involved, invest, contribute, discuss, converse, and really wrestle with these issues.