Dilemma 6 – "Materialism"

Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians Chapter 3:4 KJV

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You can be highly educated, professionally successful, and financially illiterate. Many people are making over 100k a year, and they’re still struggling with bills every month. Why? They don’t understand financial freedom. Financial problems are caused by trying to keep up with society. That’s why they live paycheck to paycheck. Once you know the difference between ASSETS and LIABILITIES, you’ll understand why you’re broke —- Emmanuel Valerio https://www.facebook.com/TheTruthMovement777.

The world entices you with the lure of brand names, especially those high-end designer logos like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel or Hermes. I must admit that we all have fallen prey to the lure of material goods at one point or another. The promotions via billboards, television promotion, and following the Joneses all perpetuate this behavior. The lust of wanting to be seen as more than you really are. This society is based on what you have and what you look like. This attitude dictates and unrealistic notion of success. This is a fantasy mirrored by Hollywood. It’s not only that the more you care about impressing other people with your appearance, the more likely you will overspend. In fact, the more focused you are on your own thoughts, feelings, and impressions you make on others, the more you’ll seek outwardly-recognizable status symbols like handbags and overpriced clothing. The EGO is the ringleader with this disorder, the thrill to maintain a different reality, the reality that goods will make you happy. It is all vanity, as King Solomon stated in the bible.
Vanity goes beyond just looking fabulous for others, it is about the praise and self-admiration that comes along with this behavior. We are to never think more highly of ourselves. This brings me to the theory by Leon Festinger in 1954, which centers on the fundamental belief that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations. The theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others to reduce uncertainty in these domains and learn how to define the self. Following the initial theory, research began to focus on social comparison as a way of self-enhancement, introducing the concepts of downward and upward comparisons and expanding the motivations of social comparisons. The downward social comparison is a great coping process because it allows you to view a bad situation by looking at others who are worse off than you (more impoverished, less attractive, more stressed) and concluding that things aren’t really so bad. An upward social comparison can cause you to berate yourself unnecessarily because you feel that you’re being outdone by your neighbors, comrades, family, co-workers, and Instagram-youtube-facebook friends. Your (EGO) desire to impress people that could care less about, but not realizing that this disorder can promote psychological disorders. At the end of the day, is it really worth gaining the whole world than losing your soul?

Being that man or woman of substance not being concerned with being called a big baller or the big man or woman on campus. Life is not about how many things you own but being that real man or woman of substance.

We have a market-driven society so obsessed with buying and selling and obsessed with power and pleasure and property. — Cornel West

Terry Walker testimony…

Right now I am in $200,000 worth of credit card debt and what do I have to show for it, this ill-gotten gain now has me working 3 jobs just to make ends meet. I have no time for my wife or our kids. This American dream really isn’t worth the hassle. If I only would have lived within my means. My wife can’t live with the pressure of the bill collectors calling the house. If I would have only listened to her and kept the budget going. Now I have lost everything and what to give an appearance to my co-workers that I was a baller, but in reality, now I am worse than an infidel, can’t provide for my family. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17 (KJV) When our life’s pursuit is on making the profit, pursuing pleasure, and obtaining the position, it leaves little time, energy, and ability to focus on the Most High and his plan for your existence. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24). An expression used for people surrounded by confusion living in a vicious circle of lies and illusions. They hunger for prestige and luxury and thirst for higher society while creating a bubbled reality floating over society’s misery controlled by companies, getting us to buy the image of the good life – a fantasy that values materialistic communities and they are blind to human qualities. They dream up things to brag about like expensive things or trips around the world. It has come that having the latest IPad, computers, iPod or iPhone is the norm something they can’t live without. These devices have replaced the desire to converse with actual people in person. Standing on line for 24 hours excited for a product then you complain about being 3rd online in a bookstore will allow you find that you are programmed robot just as confused and abused by the system we call materialism.

The American Dream

The white picket fence, large house, two cars, vacations every year, 2.3 children, and a dog packaged in a cup of illusion. Now, how many people do you think to live the American dream with poverty on the rise, homelessness, lack of food, and jobs. The American dream, in reality, is a nightmare. Hard-working people, and weak, most of them, in worldly goods–but how rich in compassion! How filled with the goodness of humanity and the spiritual steel forged by centuries of oppression! There was the real joy of laughter in these homes, folk-wit, and story, hearty appetites for life as for the nourishing greens and black-eyed peas and cornmeal bread they shared with me. Here in this little hemmed-in world where home must be a theatre and concert hall and social center, there was a warmth of the song. Songs of love and longing, songs of trials and triumphs, deep-flowing rivers and rollicking brooks, hymn-song and ragtime ballad, gospels and blues, and the healing comfort to be found in the illimitable sorrow of the spirituals. Paul Robeson, There is an old adage, “Keeping up with the Joneses” wanting all they have and more… There is a danger is desiring something that someone else has ever felt the pressure to maintain a level of possessions equal to those of your neighbors. When envy sets in this cause contention among friends, the desire to possess what they have. In this society your as good as what you own, drive, and where you live. This causes a social perplexity based on material goods- what I own is better than your new and improved.

The Illusion of wealth

Gary’s testimony…

“Park Avenue, on a winter day, walked into my favorite upscale store, I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with matching pants, the shop girl ignored me as if I had the plague. Revisited the store the next day, all decked out in my Armani suit, Cartier watch and crocodile shoes. My elegant attire opens up the doors to 5-star treatment, I couldn’t keep the shop girls away all 5 of them catered to my every whim. Now, who says being wealth or appearing to be doesn’t have its advantages?” In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, (Luke 16 KJV) we see that Lazarus lacking material wealth, got something much more critical “eternal life with the Savior” while the rich man will burn “in hell for all eternity.” What the rich man failed to realize that the things on earth are temporal, and only the things you do for the Savior will last. Let that be a lesson for men and woman that put the world and its possessions before the Most High. The Book of James talks about the dangers of measuring one another by what we perceive to be the wealth of their belongings. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a diamond watch and an Armani suit, and a poor man in tattered clothes also comes in, which one would you serve? If you show special attention to the man wearing beautiful clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but speak to the poor man, ‘you stand there,’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers” (James 2:2-4, 8-9). Possessions can become more important to us than our knowledge of the Most High. The Savior told us the story of the of a rich young ruler. The pull of his goods was so strong that the young man chose them over eternal life (Luke 18:18-30). In the Old Testament is the story of Lot’s wife who could not leave her possessions behind to flee certain death. She, too, valued her properties over spiritual truth (Genesis 19:26). Luke, in his gospel, warns us that we can be in danger of losing our life also when the Son of Man returns, if we cling to our material goods like Lot’s wife did (Luke 17:32). The Savior said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). “For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:21). How can we escape the power of materialism? If you see your brother in need, give some of your money to him that puts your perspective in the correct place by disarming the power of possessions.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2: 15-17

The choice is yours?
 The answer is to repent of your sins, seek the Most High God of Israel, and keep His commandments.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV