What is Consumerism?
Consumerism is an ideology that makes humanities purpose to consume goods and service. Entertainment and amusement are the priorities for the person operating with this worldview. Ultimately, the consumer lives for gratification of His own desires. This is EVERYWHERE you turn in our culture. From the minute you turn on the TV and see your first commercial, you are told that “you need to have it- you should have it- in fact, you deserve it!” This especially pervasive in American culture
What are the dangers of Consumerism?
In John 6, Jesus confronts the consumeristic mentality at work in the hearts of the people who were following Him after the feeding of the five thousand.
26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” (ESV)
While the people had seen the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, Jesus says that they really havent seen what the miracle really pointed to. Instead, the people have come not to submit to King Jesus, but for what they can get from Jesus.
This attitude is deadly for believers for at least two reasons:
- God becomes a means and not an end. With a consumeristic mentality, God becomes the way I achieve happiness and my dreams. Rather than God being the ultimate end I exist to worship, He becomes a genie in a bottle for my own pleasure.
- We are open to deception. Consumerism sets such a priority on gratification that nothing else matters. In fact, consumerism blinds a person’s thinking to only consider how the events of the world impact their ability to consume. This is why so many people are able to turn a blind eye to the lostness in our world- as long as it doesn’t influence their ability to consume, it doesn’t matter.
How do we remedy Consumerism?
The remedy Jesus offers in John 6 is a full and rich understanding of who God is. He shows this by explaining that He is the bread of life and that all who come to Him will never hunger again (6:35-48). From this we, learn two important things about God.
- God is Gracious. Jesus says that he will never turn anyone away who comes to Him (6:36-39). This is only possible through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for our sins. Upon our repentance and faith, God imputes a righteousness to us not from within, but from without. This alien righteousness KILLS consumerism because it reminds that we do not have what it takes to save ourselves. We do not need more stuff- we need Christ.
- God is Active. Christ also explains that God is drawing people to Himself (6:44). This means that NO ONE can come to God unless first convicted by the Holy Spirit. So, God is not passively sitting by waiting for us to figure things out and come to Him. He is ACTIVELY pursuing us! This pursuance KILLS consumerism because it instills humility as we acknowledge our desperate need for God daily.
Ultimately, we must repent of our view of God as a means and embrace Him as the gracious and active Lord of the Universe. For more on Christ and Consumerism, listen to the message here.