Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Materialism

I'm M- and I'm a recovering materialist.

Here's where maybe you should say "Hi M-!" and then the coordinator would have us all talk about our recent victories, things we wanted but didn't buy, times we threw away the BassPro and Cabelas ads without looking (they keep mailing them, though, like they thought we didn't have a problem).  We'd confess falling off the wagon sometimes.  No excuses or rationalizations or "I wasn't THAT bad, I just..." are allowed.  Then we'd rehearse the twelve steps:

1) Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21

2) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. - 1 John 2:15-17

3)     Do not toil to acquire wealth;
        be discerning enough to desist.
    When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
        for suddenly it sprouts wings,
        flying like an eagle toward heaven. - Proverbs 23:4-5

4)     A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
        and favor is better than silver or gold. - Proverbs 22:1 

5)     As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. - 1 Timothy 6:17-19

6)     The desire of the righteous ends only in good;
        the expectation of the wicked in wrath.
    One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
        another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
    Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
        and one who waters will himself be watered. - Proverbs 11:23-25

7)    And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
    “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
    “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
    “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
    “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
    “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
    “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
    “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
    “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets." - Luke 6:20-26

8)    Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. - Luke 12:32-34

9)    Come, everyone who thirsts,
        come to the waters;
    and he who has no money,
        come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
        without money and without price.
    Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
        and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
    Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
        and delight yourselves in rich food. - Isaiah 55:1-2

10)     For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. - 2 Corinthians 8:9

11)     Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
        but righteousness delivers from death. - Proverbs 11:4

 That last one's a doozy, because it seems to tell the materialist to become a legalist, but it's true.  True righteousness delivers from death, and that righteousness is found in Christ alone.  He laid aside his heavenly glory (I'm humming "Thou who was rich beyond all splendor" here) to take up a lowly life.  Foxes had holes and birds had nests, but he had nowhere to lay his head.  What he did have was life, full, pure, divine life, and perfect obedience and righteousness.  And these two things he gave up so that we could have them.  Praise Jesus, indeed!  And yet in giving them up, like a farmer sowing his seed, he got them back, for it was impossible for the author of life to be subject to death, and in getting back life and righteousness, Jesus secured our inheritance in heaven. 

Leading us to number 12:     If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. - Colossians 3:1-4

That's all for this session.  Come back next week, and stay dry!  God will help you through it.

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