Materialism is an attitude. It makes us seek after things that are temporary and don’t add any value to our lives in the long run. Love of worldly things, money, and pleasure are fine examples. We can begin to value things more highly than people, and we put ourselves over others while money becomes a key driver in our life.
1 John 2:15 – Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him
At any point when our earthly desires and our love of things begin to come in between our life and the Will of God, and when things start taking us away from God, we are falling into the trap of materialism.
James 4:4– You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
It is not wrong to be prosperous, but it is wrong to have our priorities messed up. When we love things in the world, and if those things come in between us and God, we can be sure it’s materialism. Things like obsessive shopping, spending too much time on worldly things like TV, movies, social media, undue attention to fashion, mobile phones, etc. are just some signs of materialism.
The solution to get rid of materialism is to renew our mind with the Word of God.
We have to realize that all worldly things are temporary, and cannot satisfy us. The only thing that can truly satisfy is a relationship with God.
There was once a young man who came to Jesus and asked Him “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”. Most of us would consider this person a ripe candidate for preaching the Gospel to, and would grab this opportunity with both hands. In fact this is a common question that many people have even today.
Jesus however knew what was in the man’s heart. He did what most of us would find very strange. He answered saying “Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is, God”. He goes on to ask this man to keep the commandments of God. This is shocking to most of us, because we know that He is the Way, The truth, and the eternal life that this young man was looking for, yet Jesus did not answer his question directly.
The young man then answered that he kept the commandments of God from his youth, so he wanted to know what else is needed for eternal life. Jesus replied “go and sell all that you have, and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: then come and follow me”. At this point the young man was very disappointed, and with a sorrowful heart he walked away.
Jesus knew deep down that this man was wealthy, and although he loved God, his love for the world was greater. He was willing to let go of little things, but his heart was tied to his material possessions, and deep down he was not prepared to let go of the worldly things. Jesus then used this example to come up with the famous saying
Matthew 19:24 – It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God
We have a tendency to go after material goods and earthly riches, even though we know they are temporary and drive us away from God. We do well to remember that God can see our hearts and He knows our deepest desires. We may intellectually know that the investments in eternity are of far greater value, but in our hearts it still remains a challenge for us to give until it hurts.