The Idolatry of Stuff


Who or what gives your life direction and power? When you receive meaning from anyone or anything other than God, that’s idolatry.

Most of us would not admit to being idolaters. If I asked, “Do you worship an idol?” most of you would withdraw in horror. We know there’s only one God.

But what if I asked the question with a little more subtlety?

“What makes you feel best about yourself?”

“What makes you feel most alive? Most strong?”

The answers to these questions may reveal a little more. For instance, if you pointed to anything outside yourself to find your strength or meaning in life, it may be an idol.

Without realizing it, too many of us get sucked into the materialism of our world. We’re told we’re defined by the clothes we wear or the car we drive. We know we’re somebody by the stuff we have.

When you get your life’s meaning from anything or anyone other than God, that’s idolatry. I know this sounds obvious—even too easy—but the world is sneaky.

We have to be careful. If we’re going to help others get free from the tyranny of stuff, we have to deal with our own addiction to stuff.

So, here’s your homework. Think about your own life.

  • What’s important to you?
  • What marks your life as successful?
  • What or who gives your life direction and power?

The answer to these questions and others like them has to be God and God alone.

If it is anything else, we end up being slaves to our stuff.

How can we expect to help anyone else get free if we’re slaves ourselves?

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