Let me suggest an alternative lifestyle—the biblical alternative. Read carefully these words of Paul found in Philippians 4, from the Message translation, “I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am“.
Most of my life, I’ve struggled between being a giver and a spender. For the last few years, I go to a bookstore, not just to shop for myself but to see if there’s a book some of my friends or the staff would like. I’ve learned the joy of giving. Not just money, but hugs, cards, clothes, tapes, books, whatever the Lord prompts me to give.
Contentment is hard in a consumer society. Advertisers push you to be discontented and dissatisfied. They want you to want more stuff. This is a battle of the will and the wallet. The best way I know to fight it is to give yourself first to the Lord and then be a steward of what God’s given you.
If you are on the altar, you’ll be more committed to investing in things eternal. You’ll find ways to get freed up financially so you can do more for the kingdom. You’ll enjoy life because you will no longer be a puppet always having your pocket strings pulled.
Here’s a suggestion. If you are in bondage to debt or consumed by the desire to have, decide now that things have to change. Limit the amount of credit cards you bring out with you or go on a “cash only” basis when you shop. If you want something, make a note of it and return in a few weeks…if it is still there than it is meant to be.
Some have never learned the joy of giving. I’m not sure why. The point is to start small until it becomes part of daily life. On this day, Christ have his life that we may find God and be dead to sin. He asked us to live as He lived, adopted for the modern age. We, of course, cannot be free from our Earthly responsibilities; there are some elements to our lives requiring material products. The point, do not be ruled by your consumer desires. Christ gave His life for you.