Summary: All people can be freed from the disease of materialism by replacing love of money with Godly contentment.


All people can be freed from the disease of materialism by replacing love of money with Godly contentment.

1. The average American is addicted to spending.

Did You Know…

• BusinessWeek says that total household debt in the US was more than 100% of our disposable annual income last year. Now that is scary.

• The total consumer debt is at 1.7 trillion dollars. (You can visualize a trillion dollars as a stack of $1000 bills placed one on top of the other, flat side on top of flat side, reaching 67 miles high.)

• The personal credit card debt carried by the average American is $8,562 and the total interest paid in 2001 was $50 billion.... an average of $1000 in interest per consumer.

• The average consumer carries 8 cards and 20% of cards are maxed out.

• There were 1.3 million credit card holders declaring bankruptcy last year. Bankruptcies have exceeded 1 million per year every year for at least 7 years now.

• IRS tells us that 85% of those reaching age 65 do not have $200 in the bank and that 87% retire on less than $250 per week for life.

Something is obviously going seriously wrong in our country. More and more people are spending than they make each month. And it’s a dangerous trend – for each person as well as for our country.

Maybe this is you. IF so I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a way out of debt – and the patterns of behavior that cause it. And I am praying that as a result of this message many of you will change the course of your financial future. Because God wants you to be free from financial bondage.

TRANS: But if we are going to be set free from financial bondage we need to understand…

2. Debt is a symptom, not the root problem. Materialism is the root problem. (1 Tim. 6:9-10, Luke 12:15)

Materialism: seeking happiness through the accumulation of material things.

In Dangers, Toils & Snares, John Ortberg writes:

When we take our children to the shrine of the Golden Arches, they always lust for the meal that comes with a cheap little prize, a combination christened, in a moment of marketing genius, the Happy Meal. You’re not just buying fries, McNuggets, and a dinosaur stamp; you’re buying happiness. Their advertisements have convinced my children they have a little McDonald-shaped vacuum in their souls: "Our hearts are restless till they find their rest in a happy meal."

I try to buy off the kids sometimes. I tell them to order only the food and I’ll give them a quarter to buy a little toy on their own. But the cry goes up, "I want a Happy Meal." All over the restaurant, people crane their necks to look at the tight-fisted, penny-pinching cheapskate of a parent who would deny a child the meal of great joy.

The problem with the Happy Meal is that the happy wears off, and they need a new fix. No child discovers lasting happiness in just one: "Remember that Happy Meal? What great joy I found there!"

Happy Meals bring happiness only to McDonalds. You ever wonder why Ronald McDonald wears that grin? Twenty billion Happy Meals, that’s why.

When you get older, you don’t get any smarter; your happy meals just get more expensive.

Citation: John Ortberg, Dangers, Toils & Snares: Resisting the Hidden Temptations of Ministry (Multnomah, 1994), pp.99-100

There is a lie that Satan uses over and over again to lure people away from the life that God desires for them. It’s the “Happy Meal” lie. Buy this and you will be happy. Get rich and your problems will disappear. It is the lie that materialism will fill the empty place inside. What does the Bible have to say about materialism?

1Tim. 6:9-10 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Did you catch that – the love of money causes people to wander from the truth and actually pierce themselves. It is their own fault. They think they’re going to be happy if they just get the next thing on their list – but instead of receiving happiness they pierce themselves with many griefs. Can anybody relate to this truth?

Jesus said this:

Luke 12:15 (The Message) "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot."

Materialism contradicts this verse. Jesus says our lives are NOT defined by what we have. But when we spend and spend, getting ourselves into debt to have more things – what do you think that says about us? When you fall into the trap of materialism you are saying that at least to some extent you believe your life is defined by what you have.

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