Materialism can cause havoc on your finances, bring discord into your family life, and creates a strained relationship between you and God.
Sure, it's fun to buy things, go shopping with your friends, subscribe to various magazine, audiobook, cd, or book club subscriptions. I know because I've done all of that myself from time to time. In the past I've collected so much that it would just gather dust. Over time those purchases weren't really that important after all and it's become long forgotten since then. How quickly and often our likes and dislikes change from year to year.
This is a major problem for many families, whether they be Christians or not. And what's so bad about it is that it creates this habit of thinking that you just must have that thing you've set your heart on or else!
If you know the cause of a thing, many times you can affect the effect of it. Here's what I mean by that:
Example: You desperately need a new pair of shoes for your sister's wedding. Although you have tons of gorgeous shoes already in your closet- some still brand-new that you've never worn yet, your desire for newer ones overpower the fact you are so far in debt right now that the very last thing you need is a pair of new shoes!
So you shop around, looking for a sleek pair that will not only look super on your feet and will match your outfit, but will hopefully serve you for a few more years to come. You decide on a certain pair and head to the checkout counter in a sweat because you are completely aware of the fact that you have no cash with you on hand, nor is there enough in your bank account. However, you do have a couple of credit cards you could use. Problem is, you haven't paid last month's bill on either of them yet and you're not too sure that either card will scan through. Well you go ahead and try. Yes! The purchase went through and was accepted. You bought those shoes anyway knowing it will just add to the huge debt you already have on your credit cards. Hey, I have been more than guilty of that same scenario too. I've been there as well.
The point I'm trying to make here is that the main causes of your debt could be that your expensive desires and spending habits have outweighed the smaller amounts of income that's really coming into your household. You may not seem to care much about it if that has been your mindset for many years. Preparing a family budget and learning how to curtail your spending habits can affect your financial life in a much more positive way.
Our culture says to buy, spend, buy, spend! There are so many temptations out there that overpower us and lead us into bad financial decisions. Materialism can come in various forms but it is our choice whether or not to succumb to it.
Perhaps you are thinking of buying a car for your work or family, but money is tight. You have your eye set on the newest year's model and make of a certain car but you know in your heart that in purchasing that vehicle it would set you back a lot! Buying an older model that is in good condition would be a more frugal way of getting your need met and would do the job of getting you and your family back and forth to work, school, church, and other places. It's just a matter of setting priorities and being a good steward as well.
I've witnessed families in the stores arguing and fighting over how much they've spent on a particular thing. And during the holidays, such as Christmastime, there's no better example of the effects materialism has on families and their pocketbooks. We find many couples heading to divorce court over this issue of always wanting and spending more, but having to struggle to work and pay for everything. Our wants and desires grow faster than the income we are bringing into the home.
Our Lord is very serious about this particular sin of covetousness. Materialism was prominent in those days as well when Jesus was here on earth, and they are still plaguing Christian people today. If you have a problem with loving things more than God, He has a few words from His good book to share with you. Consider these passages of scripture when dealing with these issues:
Finally my friend, if you and I keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, looking to Him for everything we want and need in our life, we will not have to struggle so much with the pains of materialism and the constant aggravation of"keeping up with the Jones's".
We can be happy of all the physical and spiritual abundance we have in Him, and not become a stumbling block to our brother or sister in Christ who may be struggling on materialism. Let us continually pray for God's love, grace, and guidance for all our needs and to remain whole and totally complete in Him.