Summary: Most people believe joy comes from the things they own. In reality, things can steal our joy quickly. Paul understood how things could steal our joy, that is why he gave us two admonitions to keep us from the snare of materialism. Each of these admonitio

Our culture is trapped in a disease for the desire of things, and we are not sure what to do about it. Consider the following facts…


60 % of adult Americans gambled in the last 12 months

20 years ago, two states had legalized gambling, while 48 states outlawed gambling – today 48 states have some form of gambling while only 2 states prohibit gambling.

Credit card debt

US Consumers have racked up credit card at an alarming rate, today Americans carry 750 billion dollars in credit card debt, and the average family has $8,900 in CC debt

The desire for things has had its risk;

In 2006, 780,000 people filed for personal bankruptcy.

Crimes related to greed have also risen…

In May, six people in Oregon were indicted in a “PHANTOM COW” scheme, selling cattle that do not exist, bilking their investors for $100 million dollars

Recently in San Francisco, a police officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing Elvis memorabilia for his private collection.

A Florida teenager recently plead guilty to putting bleach in orange juice and rat poison in hamburgers, then feeding it to his grandmother hoping she would die and he would be able to cash in on her inheritance.

Hearing these stories, we have to realize we are living in a world caught up in greed. You say that is not us – after all it is easy to spot greed on a game show or in a casino, but greed has a softer side as well. In our abundance, we have acquired more and more stuff, trying to find fulfillment. We often times forget the things we think are necessities are actually luxuries.

William Boice wrote in his prayer journal…

Dear Lord,

I have been re-reading the story of the rich young ruler and his obvious wrong choice. However, it has set me thinking. No matter how much wealth he possessed; he could not ride in a car, have any surgery, turn on a light, buy penicillin, hear a stereo, watch TV, wash dishes in running water, type a letter, mow a lawn, fly in an airplane, sleep on an inner spring mattress or talk on a phone. If he was rich then what am I?

In our continuing series of joy stealers – I want us to look at what I believe is the #1 joy stealer for American Christians; the obsession toward materialism.

Mother Teresa spoke on the endless want of things saying, “Once the longing for money comes, the longing also comes for what money can give; nice rooms, luxuries at the table, more clothes and more and more. Our needs will increase, for one thing brings another, and the result will be endless dissatisfaction.

Lets be honest – we are a consumer nation. With blessings, other countries can only dream of. Consider the following facts;

We own…

71% of the cars in the world

80% of the hospital beds

60% of the world’s life insurance polices

82% of the bath tubs

We have…

7% of the world’s population

6% of the world’s land

50% of the world’s wealth

Yet with all the material blessings this life offers, the United States rates 12th among all nations when it comes to satisfaction and happiness in life.

While seeking the good life, someone has stolen our joy. Jesus warned his followers - "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot." Luke 12:15

Yet most people think that joy comes from the things they own. In reality, things can steal our joy quickly.

Paul understood how things could steal our joy, that is why he gave us two admonitions to keep us from the snare of materialism. Each of these admonitions strike at the heart of materialism

Do not trust in your credentials , but in Christ

Philippians 3:1-6

1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.

2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.

3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—

4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:

5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;

6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.


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