Stop Trying to Fill the Void With Material Things

Dear Chuck,

Amazon Prime day just recently took place and I found lots of great deals. Many of my friends took to social media to share great sales they found, and it was well-talked about at work for several days. While big sales like this can be great for saving us money, I actually was saddened by the number of people I saw trying to fill a void with stuff. I think something similar happens on Black Friday. How do we strike the right balance between finding good sales and spending out of line?

Sad Shopper

Dear Sad Shopper,

We live in a materialistic society that constantly bombards us with things of this world. The enemy is hard at work creating countless ways to distract us from our chief end of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. It is time Christians take Paul’s command seriously and wage war in an effort to protect ourselves from deception (and, to warn others!):

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11 ESV)

Greed is ugly. We saw this in last year’s reports of Black Friday brawls, shootings and the closing of a mall in Alabama. But we should not be surprised. Solomon described it well:

A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. (Proverbs 28:25 ESV)

Here are a few tips to avoid falling into this materialistic trap.

Think It Through

When you or those you love are tempted to shop, extravagantly or not, ask these questions.

  • WHY do you want it?
  • Do you really NEED it?
  • Can you LIVE without it?
  • Do you HAVE the money to pay for it?
  • Do you have the ROOM to store it or the TIME to care for it?

As Isaiah asked,

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live… (Isaiah 55:2-3a ESV)

No sale, no things, nothing apart from the Lord will satisfy the longings of the human heart. That’s why we must substitute our wants for the temporal with the desires for that which lasts. We need to keep an eternal perspective!

Recognize a Good Sale

However, I do love a good bargain! It is wise stewardship to take advantage of these sales to purchase items that you need or have been saving up for at a discounted price. You shouldn’t feel any guilt in spending money on something on sale, as long as you’ve budgeted for it. Finding great sales on specialty items and everyday basic necessities is a great way to steward what God has given you.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley