5 Ways to Fight Consumerism this Christmas

Consumerism is the equation of personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possessions (Wikipedia). Consumerism reigns like a proud King in America. He’s captured hearts. Chained families to debt. Caused divorce. And has crept into churches.

But that’s not all. Consumerism is mainly an issue of the heart— the flesh’s desire for more, and a failure to trust in God to provide all things.

Here are five practical ways I’m trying to fight consumerism this Christmas:

1.) Remember former debt. It wasn’t a fun experience a few years ago paying off around $700.00 of credit card debt from Christmas time. (Thanks to Dave Ramsey, we cut our credit cards up so they no longer tempt us).

2.) Pray for a spirit-led shopping experience. Before I went out the other day I prayed that God would help me decide what I needed to get vs. what I wanted to get for other people. I  believe that prayer and being led by the Spirit helps keep me from over-spending.

3.) Accumulate experiences, not possessions (thanks Mark Batterson). I’ve tried to put relationships and time together with those closest to me in my life above accumulating stuff and things that don’t last.

4.) Be in authentic community. I’ve surrounded myself with friends who will ask me the hard questions. And they know our budget. While they don’t ask about this all the time, I know I have to be ready if they do.

5.) Give to those you know who are in need and love on them. This Christmas, we’ll be giving away some of the resources God’s given to us to certain family members who are struggling. Sometimes I think I’m only doing “good” if I give to a charity or other organization, but if a family member is in need- he or she really is who takes precedence.

Above all, the gospel is what transforms our hearts and keeps us from being led away by the desire for more. I’m thankful that as I daily surrender to the Spirit’s control, I can be victorious in the constant battle where consumerism tries to be King.

Have you thought of a plan of attack for fighting consumerism in the upcoming days?

Who You are is Not What You Do

best_thingsUpon making the great move to Dallas a few years ago, experiencing the culture here is like nowhere else I’ve lived. What you wear, how you look, what you do, and what you drive is valued above who you are. In our downtown apartment community alone, I can count at least 30 Lexus’s, mercedes, bmw’s, hummers, and jaguars (all owned by twenty and thirty somethings). So yes, the kind of car you have is important.

It seems like in other places, you just don’t see this. At least that’s what our friends say when they come to visit. But why is it that we love to place our identity in what we do or in things?

Perhaps it’s a security for us. It’s easier to find identity and meaning in those things rather than in Someone we can’t see. But what if we stripped all those things away, what would we have? What if people saw us for who we really are? Not what we do or what we drive?

I think we’d all be in for a real shock- to realize that we’re all pretty much the same even if the outside appears pretty: we’re all Messy people on the inside in need of a holy and perfect God.

Though far from perfect, that’s what I’m striving for when it comes to my real identity.

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