For a long time I thought that the tensions I felt as someone trying to follow Jesus were a bad thing. In reality, I’ve learned that not having any tension is a sign that something is amiss.
The Bible says that we are “foreigners” here on earth and we ought to abstain or run away from earthly desires that wage war against our soul (see 1 Peter 2:11).
Thus, we may see how the culture looks around us, or even imitate it (knowingly or unknowingly), and then Jesus awakens us to the areas in which He doesn’t want us to look like the world, and tension is produced.
I’ve learned that these spots of tension are good. This is where Jesus is speaking to us. This is where there’s a choice presented to fight against the tide of the culture and obey Jesus, or to go with the norm.
I’m going to write a three-post series called “Fight the Tide” in which I discuss three areas of tension I’ve dealt with in my life: consumerism, debt, and purity. There’s certainly many more, but these are three that are so rampant in our culture, and it’s time that we fight the tide in these areas for His names’ sake.
Recently, something stood out to me in Colossians 3:5. Here, Paul gives a list of behaviors to “put to death.” Look at what he says about greed in this verse: “…and greed, which is idolatry.”
Greed is idolatry.
If this is true, which it is, then we have many idols.
Idols aren’t necessarily statues we erect so we can bow down to them. According to this verse, idols can be things we don’t even have, but things we want!
My whole life I’ve struggled with consumerism. I’ve become painfully aware of it in my adult years and have truly been trying to fight against the tide in this area, but it’s not easy.
Recently I needed some new clothes, so I bought some of them used and then said no to the pair of jeans I really wanted, because I would have had to go beyond the cash I had in my hand.
I’ve also been considering not buying the latest greatest phone next time my contract is up. It will save money and remind me that I can live without the newest, coolest thing.
I wish I had better answers for how to fight the tide when it comes to consumerism, but I think it’s a case by case thing we deal with while listening to the Holy Spirit. A couple tools that help:
1) Meditating on verses like 1 Timothy 1:6 (and others): “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Wrestle with the tension of being a Jesus-follower in a foreign land. Fight against the tide of consumerism.
Jesus, please forgive us of the times we’ve followed our culture more than You. Please deepen our walk with you. Speak to us and help us to be obedient to Your still small voice, especially as it comes to fighting against greed – which is idolatry. Let us have no other gods before You, for You are Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.