Consumerism doesn’t offer true fulfillment, but the One Who we follow does
(15) Don’t love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. (16) Everything that is in the world — the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions — is not of the Father but is of the world. (17) And the world and its cravings are passing away, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.
So reads the message of 1 John 2:15–17 (CEB), a truly important message for our era and in my opinion one of the most important ideas in Christianity, though it unfortunately gets overlooked by many, Christians included.
We live in a culture that pushes consumerism on us. It’s nearly impossible to escape because we see it all around us. “Buy, buy, buy.” Companies have mastered the art of selling us things we don’t need by tricking us with advertising to think we need them, and/or by enticing our lusts, desires, and appetites through (once again) advertising. Companies are very good at appealing to our desires, an emotional part of us, to persuade us to make an emotional, short-term decision to purchase something. In the process we may even ignore what the intellectual side of us has to say about this purchase.
A Never-Ending Cycle of Seeking Short-Term Enjoyment
And whatever pleasure we can enjoy from these things is short-term indeed. The company appealed to our emotional side when it convinced us to buy. But products and things don’t provide any true, long-term happiness. They may provide some entertainment and short-term distraction, but it won’t last. The joy of it will wear out, probably sooner rather than later. We have to think long-term. Instead of falling for the advertising and buying short-term enjoyment for our life (or distractions from our life as the case may be), what will really make us happy long-term? No matter who answers that question, I’m quite sure they won’t answer with any product!
Besides, just as the above passage from 1 John 2 says, the world, the physical things in it, and our desires and cravings are all passing away — they don’t last. So if we put all our hopes for happiness in those…