Getting to the Heart of Materialism

'Tis the season to celebrate the advent of Christ. But it's also the season of shopping, gifts, commercials, and a culture that tempts consumers that they need and deserve stuff.

In Worldliness (edited by C. J. Mahaney), contributor Dave Harvey gives some practical warnings and advice:

Materialism is fundamentally a focus on and a trust in what we can touch and possess. It describes the unchecked desire for, dependence on, and stockpiling of stuff. In some people it's more painfully obvious than in others. But it pervades every heart.

Materialism is a far deeper problem than having stuff. It's an expression of worldliness with incredibly persuasive force . . .

Covetousness is a glutton for stuff. Through covetous attractions and distractions within the heart, our stuff takes on meaning in our lives far beyond what God intends. In fact, the apostle Paul makes the point that covetousness is a form of idol worship (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). Idolatrous cravings maneuver our hearts away from God and affix them to things of this world. Hence the ultimatum from Jesus recorded for us later in Luke:

No servant can serve two masters, for 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 God and money. (Luke 16:13).

Covetousness is choosing earthly trinkets over eternal treasure.

Dave continues to describe the chains that bind our hearts to the world:

  1. My stuff makes me happy
  2. My stuff makes me important
  3. My stuff makes me secure
  4. My stuff makes me rich


C. J. Mahaney

Worldliness equips readers to avoid the dangers of being shaped by the subtle influences of the world and offers practical help for pursuing godliness through the grace of the gospel.

Ideas of what your guard against these things should look like:

  1. Consider your true riches
  2. Confess and repent
  3. Express specific gratitude
  4. De-materialize your life
  5. Give generously
  6. Parents: Guard and guide your kids

Check out Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World to learn more!

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