It’s hard to be an American Christian. There. I said it.
It’s not hard because of persecution, tolerance, skewed theology, or denominational differences (though those lend to discomfort). I believe it is hard to follow Christ closely in America because we are voracious consumers of things other than Him.
I could say that consumerism is a plague, but that would be incorrect. A plague is recognized, feared and fought against. Not true with American consumerism. Instead, it is like a type of cancer with no discernible symptoms. We don’t even realize we are victims. It is so deeply ingrained in our lives that we don’t even recognize it.
Think about how many marketing distractions you receive in a day. (Disclaimer – I work in marketing. Technically, I’m the pot calling the kettle black. Alternatively, I have a deeper insight into its seduction). Emails, coupons, flash sales, stickers, billboards, commercials, logos, labels ====> distractions. We are constantly bombarded with interruptions from focusing on WHAT REALLY MATTERS. Which is? Living like Christ by spreading the hope of salvation, making disciples, fighting oppression, and meeting needs around us. In America, we are distracted from living with an eternal kingdom mentality by a deluge of materialism. For me personally, it’s hard to stay afloat. Anyone else?
The furry slippers…
I am embarrassed at how much I was seduced by these Pottery Barn monstrosities. They are so ridiculous that they are cute, and I affectionately call them my “lady of leisure slippers.” Need I say more? Seriously though, the day these arrived, I was more excited to receive the package than to spend time with the Bread of Life and Living Water (much less love my neighbor). Shamefully wrong affections.
It’s a silly example, really, but a valid moment in my life that I can repent of by acknowledging this subtle sin in my life. I must confess in order to be aware and to fight against the current of consumerism in my own life.
God showed me this through my studying of Isaiah [italics mine]:
Who has purposed this against Tyre [the known commercial/consumer capital of the ancient cities], the bestower of crowns, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth? The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory, to dishonor all the honored of the earth.”
Praying for the Holy Spirit to identify and defile my pompous pride of glory.