In the world of retail sales, people are simply understood as consumers. There may be other aspects to a person, but as far as marketing, advertising, and the sale of a product is concerned, we are all simply consumers. A lot of time, energy, and money is invested into understanding what the consumer wants and how a product can be presented to cater his or her needs and desires. The retail world is aimed at helping consumers realize their desires and convincing them that their product will fulfill them. They often cause consumers to purchase something they never really needed or wanted. The good news is, we are catered to in many ways, so that we will have exactly what we want. The bad news is that others are often telling us what it is that we want.
It's easy to see the dangers of falling prey to a consumer mentality. First, it makes us focus on ourselves, our wants, and our needs to an unhealthy degree. We become more self-focused, leading to a more self-centered being. There is also danger in having external forces tell us what we want and need. These forces don’t have our best interest at heart, the don’t really know us.
self-centered vs. god-centered
The greatest danger, however, is the way in which we allow a consumer mentality to bleed over into our spiritual lives.
So many churches foster a spiritual consumerism.
As they seek to cater to the needs or desires of people who attend or who may attend. We like being catered to, so we tend to go to churches that do the best job of satisfying our “church experience.” Churches want people to come, and people are used to being consumers, selecting “products” that are tailored to their desires.
As a result, churches often fall in to the trap of pleasing people, and people approach the worship in a corporate setting with a self-centered, rather than God-centered perspective. It is a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle, which ultimately brings great harm to Christians and to the witness of Christ in the world. Preaching and teaching become unbalanced, and even the message of the Gospel becomes distorted. The whole Body of Christ suffers, becomes weak, immature, and ineffective. The world suffers as well, because the Body of Christ has less ability and less motivation to impact the world.
As Christians, we are not to be
spiritual consumers, we are to
be servants of Christ.
It's easy to give thanks to the Lord when things are going well, but how often do we give that same thanks during rough times? Give thanks to the Lord, and pray without ceasing.
Are we actually doing more harm than good by doing nothing at all? Do we hurt those in need by taking no action at all? It's time for us to do stand up and do something!
While we may not love what we see in the mirror, most of us would never leave home without first checking our appearance to make sure everything was in order. Paul also instructed the Corinthians to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves" (II Cor. 13:5).
The idea of making a joyful noise to the Lord is often associated with singing, but our "noises" don't always have to be audible. When we live a life pleasing to God, we truly begin living loud.
We all have personal struggles we cannot always understand or control, but God is not overwhelmed by our chaos. Where are you at in your walk with God?
Our neighbor’s house, spouse, servant or ox would be no temptation if we were truly and completely content in our circumstances and life situations. It is as though we could rephrase the tenth commandment by saying, “Be content.”
The deeper and broader we look, the more we can see the hand of God moving over the earth in power and authority. How do you see God at work in the world?
We all go through periods of "dryness" in our spiritual lives, those times in the dry desert when we feel empty, alone, and far from God. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, the remedy for spiritual dryness is quite simple.
Maybe even the worst of times aren't far from the best of times when we trust our unfailing God all of the time. Do you believe God is working all things together for your good?
Like sheep, we have gone astray, but we aren't just any sheep, we are the sheep of His pasture.
Billions of people are waiting to hear the Gospel, but, "If you don’t know, then you don’t know that you don’t know." Will you tell those who don't even realize they need the Good News of Christ?
Every day, we make significant investments of our time, resources, and energy. We may not be climbing Mount Everest, but we do constantly take risks. The question we must ask ourselves is: Is it worth it?