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In our materialistic culture, we are inundated with messages that THINGS will make us HAPPY – that if we just have enough stuff, and the right things, we will be content and have wonderful, fulfilling lives. Sometimes it is really strange to imagine that this idea might not be true. We have heard it hundreds of thousands of times over our lifetimes – that stuff brings us status, romance, pleasure, luxury, power, and happiness.

But what if this premise is not true?

How would that change how we live?

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

What if seeking Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength is the path to true contentment, peace, joy, and fulfillment? And what if having way too much stuff gets in the way? Many of us have unhealthy relationships with lots of issues – food, things, people, self… Today, I want to talk about our relationship with things.

Do I use things and love people? Or do I love things and use people?

Things cannot bring us happiness. We do need certain things – food, clothing, air, water, medicine, shelter… Things can bring us comfort. I am personally super thankful for indoor plumbing, toilet paper, microwaves, electricity, cars, gasoline, etc… But is my life built around things?

Jesus offers us freedom from obsession with stuff. He lived a simple life. During His three years of ministry, He didn’t have a job, a house, or many possessions – mostly just the sandals on His feet and the clothes on His back. I’m not saying we must live that exact same way, unless He calls us to, of course. But, I do want to be able to hold the things of this world very loosely.

Here are some questions I ask myself about stuff:

  • Is there anything I have that I truly don’t use and don’t need? I can give that away to bless someone else.
  • How can I be the best possible steward of all that God has given me?Does this particular thing add value and usefulness to my life? If not – I can give that away or sell it.
  • Do I have too much clutter in my home? Am I consumed by all the maintenance of my things? Do I have to spend tons of time cleaning, straightening, dusting, organizing, searching for, and stepping over or around things?
  • How would God desire me to spend my money?
  • Are things taking over my life and becoming an issue in my devotion to God?
  • Are there things I am unwilling to give up if God were to ask me to give them up? If so, why?
  • Am I willing to live way below my means? There is so much freedom in having fewer bills and no debt.
  • Do I believe I must have the best of everything? Why?
  • Am I willing to be content with less stuff?
  • Do I believe that having lots of things or that not having lots of things will give me happiness instead of focusing on Christ alone for my contentment?
  • Would God desire me to live a more simple life with regard to things?
  • If I had less things, would I be able to then spend much more time with God and loving people?
  • Am I willing and able to give to things God desires me to give to – to the poor, to orphans, to the church, to those in great need? If I don’t have the ability to give to those in need and to the church, what things might God desire me to change so that I could give more generously to things He might desire me to?

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“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

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 12:33-34

The borrower is the slave of the lender. Proverbs 22:7b

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10:29-30

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” John 3:11 (quoting John the Baptist’s teaching)

RESOURCES:

For more about how to live debt free, check out Dave Ramsey’s site about godly stewardship and godly use of money.

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