Consumerism can indeed hurt your pocketbook if you are not careful. There are so many things out there in the world which tempt us to buy, buy, buy!
You may want to evaluate and re-evaluate those reasons for purchasing various items for yourself or for your family. Ask yourself, "Do I really need all this stuff"?
This can become a problem for many people, and/or for the family as a whole, in that society puts the pressure on us to buy things that we think we want or need, when we really do not need those particular things.
Television commercials, magazine and newspaper ads, ads from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and You Tube seem to bombard us with more and more products to purchase which may promise to help make us look good, feel good, and become good! As you can see around you, sometimes those ads do lie and have very little to no truth in them at all!
At times you'll come across a purchase that helps you live your life in a more comfortable way, or one that will aid you tremendously if you have a hardship or something of that nature. But many products out there are sold to us in a seductive way as to entice the general public to continue to buy.
We see nowadays that we as consumers are buying more products every year, even more than years past. In thinking we must get ahead in life, while purchasing this or that, the effects can drastically hurt the Christian family, and therefore, must be curtailed so as to not allow it to happen.
I'm sure you have noticed within your own family, how spending out money for various things when you either don't have the money to spare, or just going out to buy something anyway for the sake of buying it, can possibly and most likely hurt you or others within your family.
You hurt them if you are taking away money that should be used and set up only for paying rent/mortgage, utilities, daycare fee, music lessons, food, etc. Yes, you know, things that are all important to your kids and spouse while maintaining life, house, and home life.
I think everyone gets caught up in consumerism from time to time, but then again, we must determine what our priorities are in life and as Christians, and considering many of the effects it may have on us and the rest of our family as well. Here are some of the effects, just to name a few:
I'm sure you have no doubt come across those people who rush around, work feverishly through many hours of the day/night, buying this and that, all in the attempts of "keeping up with the Jones's" and having what "they" have.
Or, perhaps you are one of those people I'm referring to. I too am guilty of this from the past; however, the Lord delivered me out of it. Now I wonder what all the genuine fuss was about! One can tire and burden oneself so much to the point of sheer exhaustion, just to keep up with these people. By the way, who are the Jones's anyway? And why are they so special??
Sometimes you will find that folks go into debt, not really thinking things through before buying something, or even knowing how to spend their money wisely, which gets them into trouble later on. I found this to be true for myself for many years until I poured myself more into God's Word to find out what He had to say about it.
We get into the habit of thinking we "need" to have money on us or with us, or somewhere where we can get to it, as a way of obtaining security for ourselves. Instead of looking to Jesus for our security (including financial security), so often we take a huge leap of faith (in ourselves) to purchase that which will make us feel good, or for what we "think" we need; oftentimes, confusing our needs with our wants as well.
Consumerism ends up becoming a vicious circle in that, when we buy an item or product, we have to then go and buy something else in addition to accompany that product, or make it even better. The spending seems to never end!
Have you ever noticed, buying induces more spending, and more spending?
Consider how Jesus spoke to His disciples as He sent them out into the harvest to spread the gospel message, or in healing those who were sick and afflicted with disease. Jesus wasn't concerned about consumerism or in buying some item or product which might help them do the work He sent them out to do. He wanted them to trust Him for everything. Here's what Jesus spoke and taught His disciples as they went out from Him to do the work He commissioned them to do:
Another thought I will present here is that, consumerism can and does bring many into temptations to sin against God and against His Word. It doesn't only destroy those who are falling into and feeding addictions to various things, such as being a shopaholic, but also to gambling, overeating, abuse of food, drugs, and drink (alcoholism), idolatry, covetousness, jealousies, envies, theft, and greed, and so on. Consumerism leads us to all kinds/types of sin and shame in a person's life.
As you know, the Christian believer has many hurdles and obstacles when it comes to deciding on what to spend his/her money and other resources on, especially when you want to align your decisions up with godly values and principles for you and your family to depend upon.
Challenges come from everywhere actually. We are faced with the pressures of society for purchasing everything we consume (or don't consume).
Materialism is worldwide and seems to exceed even more so as the years push forward. I have noticed in my own life that if I have a lot of space to fill, I will fill it with those things which I feel are pleasing to me, make me happy, or of which I deem to be important for my progress in life (whatever that maybe).
Nowadays, there is a new rising of individuals who have brought in the minimalist movement, where we are now taught that decluttering and consuming less is the better way to live. I believe there is some truth to this way of living, but then again, one must be careful in how he/she approaches this way of life and philosophy.
I have come across certain groups who have made this lifestyle into some kind of cultic movement and "religion" of some sort. That is going way to far which sets up idols before God. Be very careful and discerning about your reasons for living the minimalist lifestyle and decide what your purpose will be as you do so.
The same token is applied to consumerism. One can swing either way on the pendulum scale; either we go too far with purchasing a lot, or we give away and withdraw from purchasing very much at all. You have to be the judge of what is correctly balanced for your life and that of your family.
My suggestion and/or advice on this matter would be to seek God's way first, on all matters, regardless if you find an item you want to purchase, large or small, and ask yourself and the Lord if indeed you need that article before buying it. Only buy and bring items into your home that you actually need or that will have a meaningful place there, instead of a lot of things that just take up space or which have no great value to you.
So, how can we curtail those societal pressures and temptations of materialism that come our way on a daily basis without allowing them to infiltrate our lives, homes, our walk with God, and our testimony towards others?
It is possible to achieve however, as we look to the Lord for our instruction. The following are wonderful scripture verses that shed some spiritual light on how the believer should regard consumerism:
Indeed, consumerism can have its ill effects upon society, but as a believer and follower of Christ, you and I must maintain a continual check on our checkbooks and pocketbooks, and make sure that we are applying biblical values and principles to our economic lifestyles.
Allow the Lord to aid you in all things, including that of providing for your every need. In this way it is He who gets the glory. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. Ask the Lord for what you need or want; Allow Him to decide whether He wants you to have them or not. Also, remember Romans 8:32, which reminds us that, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. How shall He not with him also freely give all things?"
In essence, don't give this driving force of consumerism the right to dictate your purchases or your spending habits. Trust in God to freely give you all things, and in doing so, you honor and bless Him as the Lord of your life and over all.