Since Christian consumerism (an oxymoron really) is a deception, and deceptions are deceitful, how do you know if you are being deceived? If you are deceived you don’t know that, because we don’t know what we don’t know. What we consider normal Christianity in America, has a lot of selfish consumerism in it. It is not normal according to the Bible at all. How do you know if you have become just another Christian Consumer? Ask yourself these Ten challenges questions, better yet, ask on your knees and ask God to give his perspective.
1. Maybe you question the existence of God, or his love for you, every time life gets challenging. The truth is life can be tough, but he never leaves us and never forsakes us. He has promised that trouble will come in life and storms will happen, but if we are truly on the Rock, then no storm will crush our faith, only make it grow stronger, deeper, more mature!
2. You make plans for your life, and then communicate to the Lord, and demand he bless them. The truth is, the Lord has a plan for you. That is the best plan. Learn His plans, and then walk in His ways.
3. You have thrown in the towel on faith, because you can’t understand why something happened in life happened to you. Don’t forget, something pretty awful also happened to Jesus. One incident cannot define our lives nor should our faith hinge on it.
4. Sometimes we can be more interested in God blessing us, than we blessing God. The truth is, he owes us nothing. Jesus must be enough! Salvation is a greater blessing and gift than most Christian realized. If we did fully understand, I believe we would live and worship with a greater level of thankfulness and gratitude.
5. Your personal wealth and receiving of money from God, is part of your theology and understanding of God’s responsibilities to you. You believe the Christian TV lie that God owes richness, wealth, and prosperity to you. The false theology is really based on greed. This is the saddest thing in Christianity to me. Reduces the precious cross to money. God help us and may his mercy forgive us.
6. You leave your church family when something does not go the way you want, or a change is made, that you don’t like, or you were told no. You tell everyone “God released you” or “You didn’t feel the anointing anymore” or something “really spiritual like that. The truth is we may have trouble with submission, change, or we are really a consumer? So we pull our family youth and kids out and go somewhere else that we like better, fits our needs (no one usually leaves without poisoning a few on the way out unfortunately). God may want you at a church you don’t like, to be a servant and to be a blessing! People in a church you may not like, may be praying for people like you to stay, and help it be all God wants it to be. Your absence also brings an absence of the blessing of your presence and your family.
7. How much is sacrifice a part of your faith? Sacrificial serving? Sacrificial giving? Giving God time for prayer? Sacrificing food for fasting? Making sure your family is in worship, no matter what. There will always be things that conflict with corporate worship times. Every time church comes 2nd you make a statement to your family that worship is really not that important, kind of optional. I am not being realistic, but in 25 years of ministry, families with this pattern raise up families and adults that have no interest in church and make no time in their lives to be involved in their local church. This is a result of being a consumer of God, and not a sacrificial servant.
8. Do you see the good in the church and the Kingdom? Do you only see what is wrong? What can be improved? Do you help broken things get fixed?
9. Most consumers never encourage or compliment when things go well…I mean, things are expected to always go smooth? Right? So do we compliment and encourage those that serve and minister to us? Do we let them know they have made a difference, or when things go good we are silent? Have you ever written a note or bought a gift for your kids leaders? Youth group volunteers that commit and give weekly to play a part in our kids faith? Have you ever thanked an usher? Expressed gratitude to a sound man? Do you thank the person serving the coffee? Servants love serving and bless servers. Consumers just keep taking in.
10. Is Jesus the center of your faith or are you the center of your faith? Is every worship service centered on your feelings, your needs, your desires, or do you glorify and lift up the Lord? Sometimes consumers serve God for the benefits, and avoid the sacrifices, commitment, denial of self and desires.
The Ancient Scriptures Teach…
16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. 2 Timothy 2.16, 17 NIV
James 1.22 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Matthew 16:24 …’Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’
Matthew 6:21,24 …’For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and material posessions.’
Matthew 7:21 …’Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.’
Matthew 10:22 …’And your will be hated of all men for My name’s sake, but he that perseveres to the end will be saved.’