Who owns your life?
That may sound like an odd question, but it is an important one in the days in which we live. For a culture that has become obsessed with “stuff,” materialism and money can easily usurp God as the center of our lives.
In this episode, we examine materialism and the danger to our souls when our stuff owns us … for as Jesus says, you cannot serve two masters, you will either serve God or you will be devoted to wealth.
Jesus, in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, made the declaration: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24).
For many of us in the Western World, we often fall into one of two equally problematic areas in relationship to money:
- Materialism – where money and things become the central focus and delight of our lives
- Asceticism – where we see all money and things as evil and should keep our lives from it
Both of these are not biblical and cause serious problems to our souls.
Yet the one we tend to struggle the most with is materialism. We love our stuff.
Randy Alcorn, in his tremendous book Money, Possessions, and Eternity (page 31) gives a few statistics about our love for stuff:
- The average American shops six hours a week but spends only forty minutes playing with his or her children.
- By the age of twenty, the average television viewer has seen one million commercials.
- Recently, more Americans declared bankruptcy than graduated from college.
- In 90 percent of divorce cases, arguments about money play a prominent role.
Recently, I found out that over $38 billion dollars is spent each year on storage units. And as of January 2020, there is an estimated 6.5 square feet of self-storage space for every person in America.*
We have so much stuff that we are paying abhorrent amounts of money to store it.
Which begs the question: who owns our lives?
It appears that stuff, along with the pursuit of money and success, have taken ownership of our lives.
In the same book, Randy Alcorn discusses ten dangers of materialism (to take these ideas deeper, check out chapter four of Money, Possessions, and Eternity).
Ten Dangers of Materialism
- Materialism prevents or destroys our spiritual life
- Materialism blinds us to the curses of wealth
- Materialism brings us unhappiness and anxiety
- Materialism ends in ultimate futility
- Materialism obscures many of the best things in life, which are free – including the gift of salvatin
- Materialism spawns independence and self-sufficiency, which are deadly to faith
- Materialism leads to pride and elitism
- Materialism promotes injustice and exploitation
- Materialism fosters immorality and the deterioration of the family
- Materialism distracts us from our central purpose
What do you long for?
We all long for something. We strive, desire, and build our lives around something. What is it in your life?
Psalm 42 reminds us of what our longing should be: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2).
Likewise, David in Psalm 63:1 is in En Gedi, a desert wasteland, and cries out: “God, You are my God; I shall be watching for You; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and exhausted land where there is no water.”
What do you long for? Who owns your life?
It has been noted throughout Christian history that the more wealth one has is often accompanied by a decrease in godliness. Love of money pushes out a love for the Lord.
As Jesus reminds us, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one is affluent does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
What do you need to lay down? How can you surrender your materialism to Christ so that He can use your life, your time, your resources for His purpose and plans?
Listen to and Download the Episode
- Managing God’s Money (A Biblical Guide)
- Money, Possessions, and Eternity
- Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving
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Question: How have you experienced the dangers of materialism?
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NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) is a Christian who has an overwhelming passion for Jesus, the Gospel, and Studying God’s Word. He is a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps other believers understand and apply the Bible as they grow and mature in their faith—desiring that they gain greater intimacy with Christ, experience the victorious Christian life, and transform the world through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Read more about him here.
About the Deeper Christian Podcast
Many Christians feel frustrated because they don’t grow spiritually. The Deeper Christian Podcast helps equip Christians to understand the Word of God and cultivate a passionate love for Jesus that turns the world upside down.
Whether you want to learn how to study God’s Word, grow in your faith, cultivate a powerful and effective prayer life, share the Gospel boldly, deepen your intimacy with Jesus, live victoriously, or transform the world through the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit, the Deeper Christian Podcast with NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) will encourage and equip you to grow spiritually and live a Christ-centered life.