We just wrapped up the Christmas season and many of us were blessed to receive many nice things. How did getting those new things make you feel? Maybe you were filled with joy and excitement unwrapping those gifts; maybe you were filled with disappointment at not getting what you hoped you would receive. Maybe, by now, the newness of those things has worn off, the high of new stuff has faded, and you are thinking about more. This is how it works. No matter how much we get, we want more.
If I’m honest with you, the story above is my own. As people looking to put their sins to death and be transformed more and more into the image of our precious Savior, we all have habitual sins we struggle with. We all have those sins that no matter how much we fight and seek to kill, we come back to them. We are wrestling for the victory and asking the Spirit to please help us conquer. They are hard. At times they feel defeating. Mine seems to manifest itself in materialism.
A New Perspective
This is a war I’m hoping to have victory over in 2018. Maybe you fight the same war. I think it is only when we pray and seek to have a God honoring view of things that we can begin to make traction in this war. Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus offers us a clear picture with these words about these things we may find our hearts treasuring here on earth. He tells us that everything here can be stolen, taken from us in a natural disaster, or at best one day will end up in a landfill. Things on this earth are to be used and are expendable; they are not treasures. To find real treasure, Jesus points us to eternity. Store your treasure in heaven.
Jesus tells us that where our treasure is is where our hearts are. Are we focused on the here and now and acquiring more? Do our hearts love this world? Or are our hearts longing to be with Christ in heaven? Is Christ our treasure?
When it’s all boiled down, our materialism is an idolatry problem. We are seeking joy and satisfaction that can only truly be found in the finished work of Christ. The joy we get from opening something new satisfies for a short time, but ultimately leaves us looking for that next fix. It is only when we take our eyes off the temporary and set them on the eternal that we will find lasting satisfaction.
Kill Sin with the Gospel
Christ gave Himself on the cross for our sin of materialism and in His resurrection He gave us true joy in bringing us back into relationship with our Creator, the only One who can satisfy our hearts. When we constantly remind ourselves of eternity and the joy given to us in Christ, the temporal joy we seek in stuff loses its luster. We exchange temporal satisfaction for eternal treasure.
John Calvin puts it this way, “If God contains the fullness of all good things in Himself like an inexhaustible fountain, nothing beyond Him is to be sought by those who strike after the highest good and all the elements of happiness.”
You and I were made to have a relationship with the Creator of the universe. Let that sink in for a minute. Sin broke that relationship, but Christ came and died to restore it. Everlasting, unquenchable joy is found in walking with our Creator and being about what He’s about. Why would we trade that for decomposing trinkets?