How to Slay the Dragon of Materialism10/24/2017 | 5 Minute Read | Author: Nate Carden
We have talked a good bit about contentment over the past few weeks and thus this will be the last post on the subject, for the time being at least. I am content with writing about contentment and I suspect that you are content with reading about it 🙂
As a quick review, we have learned that contentment is not just being content with what you have, it is being satisfied with who you are. It is not laziness or settling for less; it is building a business without losing a family and achieving goals without ruining your life.
Discontentment continually nags at us and prods us to ask “what’s in it for me?” This chokes out our ability to dream God’s dreams. Contentment releases us and frees us to focus on what really matters. It is doing all I can with the gifts God has given me for His glory.
We have also learned that “More” will never be enough and that contentment is necessary because it leads to true joy. We now understand that we are in a war with a dragon called materialism whose only fear is a weapon called contentment. We know that it may take a lifetime to perfectly wield the sword of contentment, but we do not despair of learning and practicing because we know that our very lives are on the line.
Ok, we know Contentment is great, how do we get it? First, we must understand that contentment is attitude that we learn, not something that we achieve. Paul says in Phillipians 4:11-12, “not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” We get one step closer to mastering contentment each time we respond to a situation with the right attitude. It takes practice.
“Ok whatever,” you might say, “we have to learn contentment. So, how do we do that?” Well, there are four tactics found in 1 Timothy 6:6-9 that can help us in our pursuit.
Tactic 1 – Consideration of eternity on a daily basis.
Verse 7 says that “we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it.” There are many things that seem so unimportant when you consider them in light of eternity. When we fully understand that we cannot take any of this stuff with us when we die, all of a sudden possessions begin to lose their grip on us.
Tactic 2 – Develop an understanding of necessity.
Isn’t it funny how one minute you don’t even know something exists and the next minute you can’t live without it. “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (verse 8). We have to learn the difference between what is essential and what is icing on top.
Tactic 3 – Awareness of penalty.
The Penalty, which is Paul’s greatest concern, is slavery of the heart. “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (verse 9). If there is something I cannot live without, it owns me. A fly lands on flypaper and says “my flypaper.” We say “my possessions.”
Tactic 4 – Pursuit of maturity.
Our culture is dominated by the five senses: what we can feel, touch, see.. “If you add into this an atheistic interpretation of evolution that insinuates that we are here by chance and when we die we will fade into nothingness, it seems logical that people will buy into the lie that life is all about them. Life is short, so live it to the max. Accumulate all you can because whoever dies with the most toys wins” (~Matt Heard). Immaturity is not being able to see past tomorrow while maturity is delayed gratification on a grand scale.
“Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in, aim at earth and you get neither”
Source: Most of this post was derived from a sermon given by Matt Heard of Woodmen Valley Chapel in 2002.